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Open Access Publications from the University of California

"Anything Goes": The Work of Art and the Historical Future

  • Author(s): Danto, Arthur;
  • Altieri, Charles;
  • Wagner, Anne M;
  • Cascardi, Anthony J
  • et al.

We have reached the end of the history of art, says Arthur Danto. Contemporary arts exist laterally in such a myriad of forms and theories that one can no longer give art's progression a narrative format. Danto's essay, and the discussions that follow it, explores the ramifications of this position. While modernism sought after what art itself is, what it is in its essence, and thus opened up diverse forms of exploration, this alone cannot explain how we got to the state of art as it is now, that of "anything goes." Danto informs us that this "end" of art should not leave us depressed or alarmed, but rather exhilarated, as a "liberation of art beyond history" opens up new possibilities of creation already being implemented in the diverse applications of contemporary artists.

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