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Arthur C. Danto

Art Critic

Arthur C. Danto was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan, in 1924, and grew up in Detroit. After spending two years in the Army, Danto studied art and history at Wayne University (now Wayne State University) and then at Columbia University.

From 1949 to 1950, Danto studied in Paris on a Fulbright scholarship, and in 1951 returned to teach at Columbia, where he is currently Johnsonian Professor of Philosophy.

Since 1984, he has been art critic for The Nation, and in addition to his many books on philosophical subjects, he has published several collections of art criticism, including Encounters and Reflections: Art in the Historical Present (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1990), which won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism; Beyond the Brillo Box: The Visual Arts in Post-Historical Perspective (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1992); Playing With the Edge: The Photographic Achievement of Robert Mapplethorpe (University of California, 1995); and, most recently, The Madonna of the Future: Essays in a Pluralistic Art World (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2000). He lives in New York City.


  • Fine Art April 1, 2004

    Staring at the Sea

    Toward the end of January, I received an invitation to a press opening for "Manet and the Sea," at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

    Arthur C. Danto

  • Fine Art January 15, 2004

    Bad Boy, Good Manners

    Few of the good things that reward the rising--or risen--young artist have not fallen to John Currin in recent days.

    Arthur C. Danto

  • Fine Art December 11, 2003

    The Abstract Impressionist

    I have always marveled at the way in which Abstract Expressionism was able to transform a disparate group of painters, none of whom had shown any particular promise of artistic greatness, into fi

    Arthur C. Danto

  • Biography November 20, 2003

    Art Therapy

    While filming in Western Australia in May 1999, the critic Robert Hughes survived--barely--a head-on collision with another car.

    Arthur C. Danto

  • November 13, 2003

    Visions of the Sublime

    One of the great benefits conferred by Modernism on our appreciation of traditional painting is that there is little inclination any longer to ascribe optical abnormalities to artists whose rep

    Arthur C. Danto

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  • Fine Art August 28, 2003

    Regarding the Pain of Others

    In Plato's Republic, Socrates illustrates his theory of the parts of the soul with the story of Leontius, who saw some corpses rotting outside the walls of Athens and was torn between re

    Arthur C. Danto

  • Fine Art July 31, 2003

    Paint It Black

    If the idea of monochrome painting occurred to anyone before the twentieth century, it would have been understood as a picture of a monochrome reality, and probably taken as a joke.

    Arthur C. Danto

  • Fine Art May 29, 2003

    Southern Man

    In 1900 Maurice Denis painted a large canvas titled Hommage à Cézanne, which shows the esteemed master next to one of his paintings and surrounded by a crowd of admiring yo

    Arthur C. Danto

  • Fine Art May 22, 2003

    Sex and the City

    From the mid to the late 1920s, the German painter Christian Schad produced a group of paintings like little else in modern art.

    Arthur C. Danto

  • Film April 17, 2003

    The Anatomy Lesson

    Matthew Barney's Cremaster cycle

    Arthur C. Danto