What Art Is:
The Esthetic Theory of Ayn Rand
by Louis Torres and Michelle Marder Kamhi
Table of Contents
- Traditional Meanings of the Term "Art"
- What the Ordinary Person Thinks
- The Cartoonists
- The Journalists
- The Ubiquitous Question: "But Is It Art?"
- The Experts Speak
- The Art Historians
- The Critics
- Need for a Valid Theory and Definition of Art
- The Default of Philosophy
- Ayn Rand's Theory of Art
- The Status of Rand Studies
- Overview of the Present Study
PART I - AYN RAND'S PHILOSOPHY OF ART
Chapter 1: "The Psycho-Epistemology of Art"
- The Purpose of Art
- Metaphysical Value-Judgments
- Rand's Definition of Art
- The Cognitive Function of Art
- The Creative Process
- Art, Religion, and Philosophy
- Art and Ethics
- Romanticism and Naturalism
- "Efficacy of Consciousness"
Chapter 2: "Philosophy and Sense of Life"
- Emotional Abstraction
- Philosophy and Sense of Life
- Sense of Life and Character
- Sense of Life in Love and Art
Chapter 3: "Art and Sense of Life"
- Emotion and "Expression" in Art
- "Communication" in Art
- The Significance of Artistic Selectivity
- The Response to Art
- Subject and Meaning in Art
- Style and "Efficacy of Consciousness"
- Esthetic Judgment
Chapter 4: "Art and Cognition"
- Painting and Sculpture
- The Performing Arts
- The Role of the Director
- The Art of Film
- The Arts and Cognition
- "Modern Art"
Chapter 5: Music and Cognition
- Music and Emotion
- Music and Sense of Life
- Rand's Mistaken Hypothesis
- The Importance of Melody
- The Composer's Viewpoint
- Music as a "Re-Creation of Reality"
- The Symphony Orchestra
- Avant-Garde "Music"
Chapter 6: The Definition of Art
- Anti-Essentialism in Contemporary Philosophy
- The "Institutional" Definition of Art
- The "Appeal to Authority"
- The Rules of Definition
- Rand's Definition of Art
Chapter 7: Scientific Support for Rand's Theory
- Human Evolution and Prehistoric Art
- The Fundamentality of Mimesis
- Anthropological Perspectives
- The Integrative Nature of Perception
- The Psychology and Physiology of Emotion
- Neurological Case Studies
- The Modular Mind and the Diversity of the Arts
- Clinical Psychology--Madness and Modernism
PART II - EXTENSION AND APPLICATION OF RAND'S THEORY
Chapter 8: The Myth of "Abstract Art"
- Pioneers: Kandinsky, Malevich, and Mondrian
- Mind Divorced from Matter: The"Primacy of Consciousness"
- Collective Aspirations: The "Universal" vs. the "Individual"
- Absolute Subjectivism
- "Decoration" vs. Art
- Utopian Aspirations
- A Flawed View of Human Perception and Cognition
- "Intuition" in Place of Reason and Objectivity
- Counterfeit Elitism and "The Emperor's New Clothes"
- Freedom, Spontaneity, and "Cognitive Slippage"
- Theoretical Revisionism
- Meyer Schapiro
- Clement Greenberg
- Abstract Expressionism
- Mark Rothko
- Jackson Pollock
- Barnett Newman
- Abstract Sculpture
- Polling the People
- Art in the Home
- Killing the Messenger
Chapter 9: Photography: An Invented "Art"
- Rand's Argument
- What Photography Is
- Historical Considerations
- Contemporary Critical Views
- Postmodern Photography
Chapter 10: Architecture: "Art" or "Design"?
- Rand's Theoretical Position
- Batteux's Classification
- D'Alembert's Error
- The Nature of Architecture
- Utilitarian Function
- Architecture and Values
- Architecture and Abstract Sculpture
- Architecture as Design
Chapter 11: Decorative Art and Craft
- Rand's View
- Historical Influences
- American Indian Artifacts
- Quilts and Feminist Art History
- The Arts and Artifacts of Africa
- Contemporary Crafts as "Art"
Chapter 12: Avant-Garde Music and Dance
- Avant-Garde Trends in Music
- John Cage
- Avant-Garde Dance: Merce Cunningham
- Dance: The "Silent Partner of Music"
- Cunningham's Progeny
- If It Moves, It Must Be Dance
- Constrained Movement as Dance
- "Discussing the Undiscussable"
- Ice Dancing
Chapter 13: The Literary Arts and Film
- James Joyce
- Samuel Beckett
- John Ashbery
- The Art of Film
- Harrow Alley
Chapter 14: Postmodernism in the "Visual Arts"
- The Long Shadow of Duchamp
- Pop Art
- Conceptual Art
- Assemblage Art and Installation Art
- Performance Art
- Video Art
- Postmodernism and Photography
- The Future: Art and Technology
Chapter 15: Public Implications
- Government Subsidy of the Arts
- Corporate Support
- Art and the Law
- Teaching the Arts to Children
- Discipline-Based Art Education
- Nineteen Eighty-Four: A Cautionary Tale
- The "Core-Knowledge" Program
- "The Educated Child"
- A Radical Alternative
Appendix A - New Forms of Art
- A glossary of purported new art forms invented in the twentieth century.
Appendix B - Artworld Buzz Words
- A sampler of the meaningless jargon of the arts establishment, employed in
discussions of work that is not, in fact, art.
Appendix C - The New York Times--"The Arts"
- Headlines and quotations from reviews, reflecting promiscuous use of the