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Intention, Interpretation, and Contemporary Visual Art

Maes, Hans R.V. (2010) Intention, Interpretation, and Contemporary Visual Art. British Journal of Aesthetics, 50 (2). pp. 121-138. ISSN 0007-0904. (doi:10.1093/aesthj/ayp051) (KAR id:31439)


The role of the artist’s intention in the interpretation of art has been the topic of a lively and ongoing discussion in analytic aesthetics. First, I sketch the current state of this debate, focussing especially on two competing views: actual and hypothetical intentionalism. Secondly, I discuss the search for a suitable test case, i.e. a work of art that is interpreted differently by actual and hypothetical intentionalists, with only one of these interpretations being plausible. Many works from many different art forms have been considered in this respect, but none of these test cases has proved convincing. Thirdly, I introduce two new test cases taken from contemporary visual art. I explain why these examples are better suited as test cases and how they lend support to the actual intentionalist position.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1093/aesthj/ayp051
Uncontrolled keywords: intention; interpretation; art; contemporary art
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BH Aesthetics
N Visual Arts > NX Arts in general
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of Arts
Depositing User: Hans Maes
Date Deposited: 09 Oct 2012 13:13 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Nov 2021 10:09 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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