Art versus nonart : art out of mind


    • Avital, Tsion
    • Harries, John G.


Art versus nonart : art out of mind

Tsion Avital ; translated by John G. Harries

(Contemporary artists and their critics)

Cambridge University Press, 2010, c2003

1st pbk. ed

  • : pbk

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This translation originally published: 2003

Translated from the Hebrew

"Paperback re-issue" -- Back cover

Includes bibliographical references (p. 420-426) and index



In Art versus Nonart, Tsion Avital poses the question: 'Is modern art art at all?' He argues that much, if not all, of the nonrepresentational art produced in the twentieth century was not art, but rather the debris of the visual tradition it replaced. Modern art has thrived on the total confusion between art and pseudo-art and the inability of many to distinguish between them. As Avital demonstrates, modern art has served as a critical intermediate stage between art of the past and the future. This book, first published in 2003, proposes a distinct way to define art, anchoring the nature of art in the nature of the mind, solving a major problem of art and aesthetics for which no solution has yet been provided. The definition of art proposed in this book paves the way for a fresh and promising paradigm for future art.


  • Preface
  • Introduction: the twentieth century: the era of nonart
  • Part I. Disillusionment: 1. Art in a paradigmatic crisis
  • 2. Modern art and the logic of pretense
  • 3. Is there abstraction in abstract art?
  • 4. Aesthetics in the service of the new barbarism
  • Part II. Mind and Art: 5. Mindprints: the structural shadows of mind-reality?
  • 6. The breakdown of hierarchy in twentieth-century art and its implications for present and future art
  • 7. Is figurative representation arbitrary? A reexamination of the Conventionalist view of art and its implications for nonfigurative art
  • 8. Symmetry: the connectivity principle of art
  • Epilog: ashes to ashes and beyond
  • Appendix
  • Notes
  • References
  • Index.

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