more from Arthur C. Danto

Single Idea 20441

[catalogued under 21. Aesthetics / B. Nature of Art / 6. Art as Institution]

Full Idea

What in the end makes the difference between a Brillo box and a work of art consisting of a Brillo box is a certain theory of art. It is the theory that takes it up into the world of art, and keeps it from collapsing into the real object which it is.


The Brillo boxes were an artwork by Andy Warhol

Gist of Idea

An ordinary object can be a work of art, but only if some theory of art supports it


Arthur C. Danto (The Artworld [1964], p.581), quoted by Sondra Bacharach - Arthur C. Danto

Book Reference

'Key Thinkers in Aesthetics', ed/tr. Giovannelli,Alessandro [Continuum 2012], p.191

A Reaction

It is hard to describe Duchamp's original claim that the urinal was an artwork as a 'theory'. It is a mere rebellious assertion.