In The Aesthetic Field, Arnold Berleant argues that traditional answers to the question What is art? are partial at best, providing only what he calls surrogate theories of art. In order to answer this question, Berleant insists, we need to understand art in a different way, as a complex field an aesthetic field that takes account of all the many factors that form the context of art and are indissolubly bound together in the experience of art.
The Aesthetic Field is as innovative as the arts of our time. It was one of the first books to recognize the importance for aesthetics of the performative aspect of the arts, not only in music, theater, and dance, but also as a key factor in all aesthetic experience. Its fresh approach has gained increasing relevance as aesthetic experience and theory have expanded in new and provocative directions as audience has collaborated with artist and performer in interactive art, and as feminism, postmodernism and other recent movements have shown the powerful influence of interpretation and culture as integral forces in shaping our experience and understanding of art.
This slender book is a model of conciseness and clarity in treating a subject of wide scope and conflicting opinions....Within a small space, the author touches on many aspects of the empirical, relativistic, naturalistic world-view which he defends and develops in aesthetics. At the same time, he avoids oversimplification by showing where each main concept tends to lead. His references to particular works of art are numerous and well chosen, including many contemporary examples. Thomas Munro, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research
The authors conception of aesthetic experience is not only unique in the history of aesthetic theory but also sheds ample light on the essential meaning and structure of the idea of aesthetic experience.... Berleant's vast knowledge of art, its thrust and role in human life, and his exceptional aesthetic sensitive imagination illuminate his account of the participatory model of aesthetic experience. Michael H. Mitias, Professor of Philosophy, Millsaps College
Arnold Berleant is Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at the C.W. Post Campus of Long Island University. He has also taught at Sarah Lawrence College, The New School for Social Research, Hofstra University, and San Diego State College, and lectured widely in the U.S. and abroad. He has been president of the International Association for Aesthetics, secretary-treasurer of the American Society for Aesthetics, and, since 1993, president of the International Advisory Committee of the International Institute for Applied Philosophy. The author of three other books on aesthetics Art and Engagement, The Aesthetics of Environment, and Living in the Landscape: toward an aesthetics of environment he is also a trained musician, and his compositions have been performed in the U.S. and abroad.
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