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Ideas About Art

ISBN: 978-1-4051-7883-9
278 pages
May 2011, Wiley-Blackwell
Ideas About Art (1405178833) cover image


Ideas About Art is an intelligent, accessible introductory text for students interested in learning how to think about aesthetics. It uses stories drawn from the experiences of individuals involved in the arts as a means of exposing readers to the philosophies, theories, and arguments that shape and drive visual art. 
  • An accessible, story-driven introduction to aesthetic theory and philosophy
  • Prompts readers to develop independent ideas about aesthetics; this is a guide on how to think, not what to think
  • Includes discussions of non-western, contemporary, and discipline-specific theories
  • Examines a range of art-based dilemmas across a wide variety of disciplines - from art and design and law to visual and museum studies
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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations.



1 Public Opinion/Public Art.

I Don’t Know Anything About Art, But I Know What I Like!

2 Non-Western Ideas About What Art Is.

Is Art Situational? Cultural? Biological? Universal?

3 Western Ideas About What Art Is.

4 Beauty.

Does Art Have to be Beautiful?

5 Expression and Aesthetic Experience.

6 Art and Ethics.

Morals and Religion.

7 Political Art, Censorship, and Pornography.

When Art Is Too Powerful, Cover It Up.

8 Art and Economics.

9 Feminist Art, Aesthetics, and Art Criticism.

Where Were the Women in My Art History Books?

10 Postmodernist Art and Attitudes.

11 Photography and New Media.

12 (Re)Discovering Design.

13 Art and Aesthetic Education.

14 Artists, Art Critics, Art Historians, Curators, Museums, and Viewers.

Making Art Ideas Your Own.


Illustration Credits.


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Author Information

Kathleen Desmond is Professor of Art History and Byler Distinguished Faculty at the University of Central Missouri where she teaches aesthetics, art criticism and art history and writes about contemporary art and artists.
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“This book will engage the serious reader of art theory with accessible language and interesting imagery and personal.”  (SchoolArts, 1 May 2014)

“This book provides many refreshingly-new ideas about art from many people and areas of the world, as well as open-ended, non-dogmatic discussions on many topics.”  (Biz India, 10 December 2012)

"This text offers art-interested students and general readers a sampling of ideas on a wide range of topics, in an accessible, non-intimidating manner." (Book News, 1 August 2011)

"This book will engage the serious reader of art theory with accessible language and interesting imagery and personal stories."
(School Arts, 1 May 2014)



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