What Art Is:
The Esthetic Theory of Ayn Rand

by Louis Torres and Michelle Marder Kamhi

Book Reviews

Roger Kimball, "Can Art Be Defined?," in Art's Prospect: The Challenge of Tradition in an Age of Celebrity (Ivan R. Dee, 2003) Authors' response

This collection of essays by cultural critic and New Criterion editor Roger Kimball includes his review of What Art Is, reprinted, with minor stylistic revisions, from The Public Interest (see below).

The Art Book (September 2001) Authors' response

A quarterly published by Blackwell's, this journal of the Association of Art Historians in Great Britain is devoted to reviews of books on art and related matters.

Journal of Ayn Rand Studies (Spring 2001) Kamhi response / Torres response

This peer-reviewed, nonpartisan journal--which examines the philosophic thought, fiction, and life of Ayn Rand from a variety of interpretive and critical perspectives, from philosophy and psychology to economics and politics--featured a symposium on Rand's esthetics and its treatment in What Art Is. [See also the authors' preliminary response.]

The Public Interest (Spring 2001) Authors' response

Founded in 1965, and co-edited by Irving Kristol and Nathan Glazer, The Public Interest was one of America's most influential journals on cultural and public policy issues. Its reviews--by prominent intellectuals and scholars--were of what the editors considered "must-read" books. For more on the journal, which ceased publication in 2005, see its website. The Public Interest's review of What Art Is, by cultural critic Roger Kimball, is reprinted in his book Art's Prospect (see above).

Choice (April 2001)

Published by the Association of College and Research Libraries (a division of the American Library Association), Choice cites only "significant current books." The reviews are by academic scholars specializing in the subject, and are directed primarily to librarians and teaching faculty who select materials for academic libraries. In a recent survey of Choice subscribers, its reviews were called "the best short critical evaluations of new titles available anywhere."

Reason (March 2001) Authors' response

A libertarian magazine of opinion, Reason focuses on political, social, and cultural issues from a free-market perspective. Its motto is "free minds and free markets."

Midwest Book Review (December 2000)

Founded in 1980, Midwest Book Review is active in a variety of national reviewing projects, and serves as an acquisitions consultant for public libraries in southern Wisconsin. Its reviews are also posted on the websites of Internet booksellers such as Amazon.com, and on the "Philosophy Shelf" of its on-line newsletter, Internet Bookwatch.

Full Context (July/August 2000) Authors' Response

A small bimonthly journal published by The Objectivist Club of Michigan (devoted to Ayn Rand's philosophy), Full Context features, in addition to book reviews and discussion, detailed interviews with intellectuals, activists, and entrepreneurs influenced by Rand's ideas. An interview with Louis Torres appeared in October 1990, and with Michelle Marder Kamhi in July/August 2000.

Navigator (October 2000) Authors' Response

A journal of ideas and culture, Navigator is published by The Objectivist Center, an independent membership organization devoted to research and education on Ayn Rand's philosophy of Objectivism. Its discussion of What Art Is was in two parts: "The Role of Literature in Ayn Rand's Esthetics" by Kirsti Minsaas; and "The Visual Arts in What Art Is" by Joan Mitchell Blumenthal, both reprinted here by permission. To access these articles, you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader (free download).

Gary McGath (August 2000) Authors' Response

From the personal website of an Objectivist writer who has contributed numerous articles on the arts and culture to publications influenced by Rand's philosophy over more than two decades.