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Gothic Romance

Art and concept: a philosophical study by Lucian Krukowski

By Lucian Krukowski

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The "limits of art," here, becomes an issue withinrather than acrosshistorical contexts. In chapter 5 I reframe this discussion of limits into one about ends, specifically, about whether and how the status of artwork may be lost. " I theorize that artworks enjoy certain (aesthetic) rights and that such rights may conflict with other (nonaesthetic) rights that pertain to entities that are nonworks. These conflicts, in various ways, affect both the ontological status of the work and its duration.

The concept I primarily ascribe to the European phase is "artistic progress" which I locate in the aesthetics of Hegel. I develop this concept through a linkage with such other concepts as abstract and nonobjective art, social and spiritual ideals. " The artists whose work I emphasize here are Piet Mondrian and Wassily Kandinsky. My discussion of the American avant-garde, in contrast, begins by tracing the concept of form from its roots in the Kantian aesthetics of beauty through its successive linkages with other concepts: genius, creativity, and self-expression.

In the latter case we find, as in romantic art, that painting's illusionistic accomplishments are superseded by the notational and temporal freedom of music which, in turn, gives way to poetry's direct appeal to the imagination. However, where Hegel identifies classical sculpture as not only the dominant form of its time but as the "most perfect" art, he establishes still another criterion of value, one by which the later romantic arts are found lacking. His standpoint shifts from art-in-culture to art-as-art, for the perfection of sculpture is found in the equivalence of its balance between sensuality and spirit.

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