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This paper investigates Danto’s claims that the narrative of art is over. In this state, which Danto sees as ideal, art is free from any master narrative, and its direction cannot be predicted. The claim that art ought to remain in its current state—pluralistic, free and with no further historical development—is problematic. Danto is correct that late 20th c. art could not be explained through a single narrative, and the myriad forms art takes demonstrate its pluralism. But Danto’s claim that freedom is the outcome of inexplicability, and progress is measured by amenability to narrative, does not follow. Based on Gombrich’s theory of pictorial representation, I provide an alternative explanation of Danto’s claim that art no longer manifests the narrative of the era of art, arguing that the shift in art’s preferred form of presentation, though no longer supporting narrative explanation, is developing as a language of disclosure.

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This page is a summary of: Danto's Narrative Philosophy of History and the End of Art, Philosophy in the Contemporary World, January 2015, Philosophy Documentation Center, DOI: 10.5840/pcw20152215.
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