How to Define Art

Alfred Jan

July 15, 2018

From ancient times to the present, one of the main philosophical issues concerning visual art is how to define it. Art-making is a quintessential humanistic activity, but can it be defined, and if so, how? In this presentation, Alfred Jan will offer some traditional versions and several contemporary attempts for the audience to consider: how to define visual art as a category rather than as a term of praise or approval.

Alfred Jan has an MA in Philosophy specializing in Aesthetics. As a critic, he published 500 reviews and articles in 20 different art magazines from 1982 to 1995. In the mid-1980s, he curated an exhibition called “Sculpture As Used in Performance” at the San Francisco State University Art Gallery. He has appeared on many panel discussions about art in Bay Area art departments and art schools, and taught “Introduction to Aesthetics” at DeAnza College in 1995. One of his reviews was analyzed in the textbook titled “Criticizing Art: Understanding the Contemporary” by Terry Barrett.

After the Forum, please join us for a lunch at 12:30pm. The lunch is complimentary for first-time visitors and students.

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