A rallying call for all those who have been disquieted or disgusted by the excesses of artistic modernism. This is a collection of ten provocative essays on the arts, by writers of varied orientations who share a skepticism about the exaggerated role of modernism and the successive avant-gardes in shaping what is accepted as valid contemporary art. The essays cover painting and other visual arts, literature, music, and general observations about all the arts. It is not an exercise in hand-wringing about the current state of the arts, but looks for different directions in which the arts may now fruitfully evolve. Despite the diverse philosophies of the contributors, these essays together constitute a formidable case against the unhealthy impact of avant-gardism on our lives and aesthetic culture. The essays include the following, among others: a study of anti-modernist painter Odd Nerdrum, who sees modernist art as totalitarian; a critique of the avant-gardist neglect of mimesis as a key to art; an evaluation of “the end of art”; a critique of modern art in light of “the aesthetic harm principle”; an examination of Popper's objections to progressivism in music; the presentation of a new paradigm for literature.
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