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.

Flyboy in the Buttermilk Flyboy in the Buttermilk

Basquiat in Brooklyn.

Apr 21, 2005 / Books & the Arts / Arthur C. Danto

American Graffiti American Graffiti

In the works that made him famous, Jasper Johns realized an ancient dream by painting things that overcame the distinction between reality and representation--numerals, for examp...

Mar 3, 2005 / Books & the Arts / Arthur C. Danto

When Seeing Was Believing When Seeing Was Believing

In Hegel's formidable system of aesthetics, fine art fulfills its highest calling when "it has placed itself in the same sphere as religion and philosophy." Philosophy, religion ...

Feb 17, 2005 / Books & the Arts / Arthur C. Danto

The Rebirth of the Modern The Rebirth of the Modern

The letterhead of Columbia University, where I taught for four decades, reads in full "Columbia University in the City of New York," not because there is much likelihood that any...

Jan 13, 2005 / Books & the Arts / Arthur C. Danto

An Artist Beyond Category An Artist Beyond Category

Also in this issue, Branford Marsalis talks about Romare Bearden with Adam Shatz.

Nov 18, 2004 / Books & the Arts / Arthur C. Danto

Darkness Visible Darkness Visible

The remarkably gifted artist Francesca Woodman abruptly ended her brief life and career on January 19, 1981, leaping to her death from a window in her New York studio.

Oct 28, 2004 / Books & the Arts / Arthur C. Danto

A Tribe Called Quest A Tribe Called Quest

Walking through the retrospective exhibition of Lee Bontecou, on view at MoMA-Queens, is uncannily like visiting an out-of-the-way museum of natural history, as if her entire wor...

Sep 9, 2004 / Books & the Arts / Arthur C. Danto

Body and Soul Body and Soul

In the 1960s, the New York Jewish Museum became the unlikely leading venue for contemporary avant-garde art in America.

Jul 1, 2004 / Books & the Arts / Arthur C. Danto

Artists Without Borders Artists Without Borders

Three years ago I saw a work by the late Swiss-German artist Dieter Roth that so captivated me that I am determined to write a book just to be able to reproduce it on the jacke...

May 13, 2004 / Books & the Arts / Arthur C. Danto

The Kids Are Alright The Kids Are Alright

Several of the recent Whitney Biennials have aspired to something more than a display of "the latest in American Art," to cite the phrase used to advertise the current sh...

Apr 29, 2004 / Books & the Arts / Arthur C. Danto