Monday, March 12, 2007

A Few Posts of Serious Interest

Robert Philen has two recent posts on his blog that are both insightful and articulate in their own right and also directly relate to my earlier post "What Is Progressive Art?" The posts are called "Free Jazz and the End of the History of Jazz" and "The End of the History of Music," and they take a neo-Hegelian approach which applies the teleological theories of visual art critic Clement Greenberg and visual art critic and philosopher Arthur C. Danto to a theory of the history of western art music as the stripping away of what is not essential and unique to it (Greenberg) and as the search for the zero degree of difference between music and noise or sheer sound (Danto). I highly recommend both posts.

I also recommend an earlier post by Robert Philen, "Charlie Parker and Shostakovich: Art, the Artist, and Culture," which deals eloquently with the relation of art to its historical and social context and specifically to the artist's biography, arguing (as I have often done) both against the reduction of the artwork to its context and against the attempt to use that context to explain the artwork.

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