The Fate of the Arts   /   Summer 2004   /    Articles

The End of Art As Its Future

Krzysztof Ziarek

The end of art has been discussed almost to death in aesthetic and cultural debates. It is best known in its Hegelian formulation, which holds that art no longer functions as the necessary manifestation of truth and, therefore, cedes its place of importance to philosophy—and, one might add, to philosophy’s most rational and logical modern development: science. The avant-garde’s anti-aesthetic and anti-art stance, evident most clearly in the works of Dada, and in particular in the works of Duchamp, constitutes probably the most poignant twentieth-century attempt both to respond to Hegel and to end art as we have known it. Likewise, the two most important critics of aes- thetics in the last century, Adorno and Heidegger, recall Hegel’s famous thesis about the end of art in order to counter it and reclaim a different critical significance for artworks.

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