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Art Oriented Philosophy

How to examine in both directions the relationship between art and philosophy? What does philosophy have to say about art?What does philosophy have to say to art?

AOP seeks to provide new insight on the relationship between art and philosophy since the 1950s. This study investigates artists' relationships with philosophy, from the artschool to the studio. This book is intended for students, artists, philosophers, and (more generally) all the art enthusiasts who wish to have a clear vision of what the relationships between art and philosophy are and what they will become as significant changes occur within contemporary art. With an introduction by Tom Huhn and Jamie Keesling which aims to clarify the evolution of the relationship between art and philosophy within art schools, and an essay by Wilfried Laforge, the book includes interviews with many of the leading artists of today, such as Julian Charriere, Camille Henrot, Pamela Rosenkrantz, Ian Cheng, Timur Si-Qin, Jon Rafman, and many more.
Since the founding of Black Mountain College and the Bauhaus, art schools have played an important role in the relationship of contemporary art and philosophy. Within visual arts departments and art schools, we now observe a need, even an urgency, to define what research in art means, as well as to specify to what extent the artist is a researcher. Indeed, the practice and teaching of philosophy can help an artist to define their research. Let us return to the fundamental premises of this relationship, which differ significantly from those held by the Classics or Romantics concerning certain philosophical climates. Although it was not systematic, the implementation of philosophy by artists starting in the 1950s is certainly an essential feature of what is still referred to as "contemporary art". This recourse to philosophy even became a necessity for some artists : Joseph Kosuth and Bruce Nauman leaned on Wittgenstein’s langage games, and Robert Morris meditated on Merleau Ponty’s Eye and Mind. Robert Ryman chose the path of pragmatism, which has had an extensive influence on American culture, whereas Allan Kaprow literally transposed John Dewey's concepts to think about the experience of the ordinary. In Europe, Beuys sought to revive a Romantic dimension of creation, drawing inspiration from Novalis's philosophy.
We consequently have to address these questions from a genealogical perspective. Indeed, the use of philosophy constitutes, for many contemporary artists, a procedure to legitimize emerging practices that challenge the traditional ontology of the work of art. However, it would be unfair to reduce the use that contemporary artists make of philosophy to this modality especially since it is particularly important for us to see how philosophy can provide artists with the tools to articulate figurative thinking. If, nowadays, the thoughts to which artists give form are rarely encapsulated or encoded in a medium, they operate, by essence, like secants in the universe of language. In other words, they are never reduced to pictured text, although they are intended to evoke speech. This investigation therefore requires that we examine in both directions the relationship between art and philosophy. How can we conceive this relationship while avoiding a “philosophical disenfranchisement of art”, to use Arthur Danto’s famous expression? How can philosophy grasp the question of art without locking it into a definition or a value system? What does philosophy have to say about art? More importantly: What does philosophy have to say to art? And, conversely, what can philosophy learn from art? How can it listen to artistic creation? What do philosophers learn from works that resonate with the concepts they create or manipulate? Or should we consider the possibility that art has such a speculative function that philosophers can merely give a conceptual or discursive articulation to the thoughts that the artworks embody? How can we clear philosophy of the accusation of establishing itself as an encompassing and reductive discourse? 
Philosophy makes it possible to problematize artistic activity, to work on the concepts at work in practice, to project it onto a horizon that is not confined to aesthetics. Philosophy, then, would no longer be just a source of inspiration: it would become an instrument, a method for clarifying an argument and the modalities of exercising a specific practice.