Trouble With Art

Improved Essays
Since much of what we today know as art was not originally intended to be so, the term has become difficult for historians to distinguish. Recently, there has been a shift in focus on what art is rather than what it does. The question arises, are we capable of thinking beyond our own perceptions of the world in order to examine and recognize art? In her article “The Trouble with (the Term) Art,” Carolyn Dean examines and argues that there is an apparent struggle of determining an allowable definition of art itself. Within the essay, Dean’s follows through on her argument and supports it. She recognizes the issue with trying to combine all art into one respect. Many art historians have resented this and have attempted to separate art into …show more content…
32). This expansion intensifies the issue surrounding the “elephant in our disciplinary living room”, the “fact that there is no globally acceptable definition of art” (p. 26). She is saying that we must seek to come up with an acceptable way to recognize art because the world art canon is expanding to include more and more. Dean does however mention the work of Michel Foucault who talks about Western development towards this goal. Foucault states that Western categories of art are encompassing more, which is a step in the right direction towards being able to distinguish between what is and is not included in the term “art”. However, by attempting to contain non-Western art within Western categories, Western art has potentially set a restriction on the extent of non-Western art. This is an unfortunate side effect to an attempted solution to defining …show more content…
Therefore, she does not appear to have any biases that would unfairly prejudice her research as she is accustomed to analyzing and studying many forms of art across the world and across time. She has also seen firsthand the struggle to identify the elusive term. She recalls showing her class videos of “well-known archeologists” exclaiming, “This is art!” as they point out a Mayan flint (p. 26). In doing this, Dean states, people reveal how they value objects and only see it from their point of view. They are recognizing objects as art in their culture that might not have been recognized as art in their respective culture. For example, the flint might have just been a tool to the ancient Mayan people, but the archeologist from Dean’s video Westernizes and recreates the flint by recognizing it as

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