An Online Review of the Arts
Aristos was published by The Aristos Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
Copyright © 1982–2023
Note: Copyright for the entire content of this website was formerly held by The Aristos Foundation. Authors of by-lined articles retained the right to reprint or republish their work as they see fit, however, with attribution to original publication in Aristos. Going forward, anyone else wishing to reprint a by-lined article should contact the relevant author(s). [Write to Louis Torres at email@example.com and Michelle Kamhi through the contact form on her website.] The remainder of this website is in the public domain, but the courtesy of attribution would be appreciated.
ALSO OF INTEREST
What Art Is: The Esthetic Theory of Ayn Rand,
by L.T. & M.M.K. (Open Court, 2000).
Chapter Summaries, Reviews/Responses. . .
The Definition of Art (Ch. 6)
What Art Is Online (2000-2003)
Supplement to What Art Is—articles and excerpts
Bucking the Artworld Tide: Reflections on Art, Pseudo Art, Art Education & Theory (2020), by M.M.K. - a collection of more than three decades of her essays and talks.
Who Says That's Art? A Commonsense View of the Visual Arts (2014), by M.M.K.
Includes essays by Aristos co-editors:
* "The Interminable Monopoly of the Avant-Garde" - Louis Torres
* "Mimesis versus the Avant-Garde: Art and Cognition" [based on "Art and Cognition"] - Michelle Marder Kamhi
Since its founding by Louis Torres as a print journal in 1982, Aristos has earned the praise and engagement of discerning readers and reviewers. A co-author of the authoritative reference work Magazines for Libraries repeatedly recommended it, dubbing it a "scholarly but gutsy little periodical" with "a unique point of view" [see About Aristos] that "vigorously challenges modernist scholars and critics." He further observed that despite its modest six-page-newsletter format, its feature articles carried "more weight than those found in more substantial periodicals."
Especially significant, the eminent cultural historian Jacques Barzun (1907–2012) wrote (see Letters From) that Aristos gave him "much pleasure and instruction." He commended, in particular, the co-editors' four-issue series "Ayn Rand's Philosophy of Art: A Critical Introduction," which became the basis for their book What Art Is: The Esthetic Theory of Ayn Rand (2000). He also applauded "The Child as Poet: An Insidious and Injurious Myth," notwithstanding one point of disagreement. [For the full text of his letter, and a brief response by Torres, see "Readers' Forum," Aristos, December 1988.]
When the co-editors shifted to online publication, their work continued to attract noteworthy attention. "Where's the Art in Today's Art Education?" (published in What Art Is Online) was the first of four articles reprinted in the Arts Education Policy Review.
"Art and Cognition: Mimesis vs. the Avant Garde," featured in the inaugural issue of Aristos when it was reborn online (January 2003), was cited by ArtsJournal and provoked an irate response from an artist objecting to Aristos's critique of "abstract art." A protracted debate followed in the Letters section of AJ, providing an in-depth argument against the established view of abstract work as a meaningful bastion of individual expression. (To see the entire debate, link back from the last letter.)
In a very different vein, John Silber, President Emeritus of Boston University, sent his "compliments on the fairness and insightfulness" of the review of his book Architecture of the Absurd. So, too, the late Denis Dutton—founding editor of the popular Arts & Letters Daily web portal—acknowledged (following contentious debate regarding the definition of art in his book The Art Instinct) that the position taken in Aristos "carries the argument forward and will give people much to consider." And "The Hijacking of Art Education" prompted the Wall Street Journal to solicit a short article on the subject for their pages.
Regrettably, however, no further issues of Aristos will be forthcoming. Owing to health problems and other concerns, all but one trustee (Louis Torres, Chairman) of The Aristos Foundation, the journal's publisher, have submitted their intention to resign by the end of this year, and the effort to replace them has proved unsuccessful. It will therefore be necessary to dissolve the Foundation and cease publication of the journal.
To facilitate ongoing public access to the existing body of work, the aristos.org website (to which PDF copies of all issues of the print edition of Aristos have been added—see Table of Contents) will remain on-line through 2026. In addition, a permanent on-line archive is being created through the Internet Archive's Archive-It service. When the aristos.org site is retired, the archive will preserve the legacy of Aristos in perpetuity.
We thank all who have read and appreciated Aristos, and trust that they will continue to enjoy material of value in the archive, despite inevitable broken links. Our particular thanks to those who have generously supported the work of Aristos with their financial donations over the years. We hope that readers will continue to follow the work of co-editors Louis Torres and Michelle Marder Kamhi on their respective websites at aristos-redux.com and mmkamhi.com.
— Board of Trustees, The Aristos Foundation