Art and cognition


What is the purpose of art? An comprehensive answer to this question would involve more than just an account of the institutional reality of contemporary art. It would address the historical process of self-definition through which art got where it is now, tracing the various moments of its self- imposed split from craft: as propaganda, decoration, or entertainment, and examining the gradual reinforcement then sudden collapse of the barriers between mediums: the dialectic of concrete figure and abstract form in painting and sculpture, the subsequent rise of performance and installation, and the eventual emergence of the exhibition as its own medium under the banner of ‘relational aesthetics’. It would also explore the tumultuous relationship with literature, music, drama, cinema, and other institutionalised practices that covet the title of arts.