The End of Art


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  • Title: The End of Art: A Comparative Analysis of French Postmodern Art Theorists
  • Author(s): Marie-Thérèse Killiam
  • Publisher: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Collection: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Series: The Arts in Society
  • Keywords: Art criticism, France-History-20th century, Art Philosophy, Postmodern Art Theorists
  • Year: 2011
  • ISBN (pbk): 978-1-86335-894-1
  • ISBN (pdf): 978-1-86335-895-8
  • DOI:
  • Citation: Killiam, Marie-Thérèse. 2011. The End of Art: A Comparative Analysis of French Postmodern Art Theorists. Champaign, IL: Common Ground Research Networks. doi:10.18848/978-1-86335-895-8/CGP.
  • Extent: 89 pages


The book studies the demystification of art in the 20th century by a variety of contemporary French authors, from sociologists to philosophers, who commented on the meaning and function of art. Most of these writers who are famous in their own disciplines for their innovative ideas, share an interest in art criticism, which channels their particular philosophies and esthetic interests. Postmodern theorists like Duve and Bourdieu see art as social posturing and a manifestation of cultural fetishism in this age of the “n’importe quoi.” Mathematician philosopher Michel Serres and psychoanalyst semiotician Kristeva share an interest in similar Renaissance paintings. All postmodern writers who choose to comment on art turn to masters of past time, who illustrate best their personal esthetics. This choice also reveals their indifference, if not aversion, for contemporary art, in which most see and deplore the death of art, culture, and history today. Such reluctance at looking at the contemporary esthetic expressions of the human condition also explains their own similar stylistic expression, which is frequently morose in character, and often apocalyptic in tone and content.