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Bound by CreativityHow Contemporary Art Is Created and Judged$
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Hannah Wohl

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9780226784557

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2022

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226784724.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 26 June 2022

Introduction: Aesthetic Judgment in the Contemporary Art World

Introduction: Aesthetic Judgment in the Contemporary Art World

(p.1) Chapter 1 Introduction: Aesthetic Judgment in the Contemporary Art World
Bound by Creativity

Hannah Wohl

University of Chicago Press

The introduction argues that artists and others in the art world make aesthetic judgments by assessing creative visions—bundles of recognizable and enduring consistencies within bodies of work. It shows how approaches in the humanities and social sciences have conceptualized different ways in which social context and aesthetic judgment shape one another. It claims that these approaches can be extended by focusing on how individuals orient their aesthetic judgments toward oeuvres or bodies of work, rather than discrete works. This necessitates studying artists’ judgments of their own work in the creative process, examining how these judgments change over time, and exploring how the way in which others view these bodies of work shape artists’ aesthetic judgments. It theorizes this approach through Alfred Gell’s concept of bodies of work as “distributed objects.” It historically traces several key artistic and organizational transformations that progressively oriented aesthetic judgments around perceptions of creative visions within the Western art world. It situates the position of New York City in the contemporary art world and describes the interview, ethnographic, and archival data used in the study. It presents a chapter-by-chapter overview of the book.

Keywords:   aesthetic judgment, aesthetic philosophy, Alfred Gell, oeuvre, creative vision, body of work, New York City, ethnography, sociology of culture, style

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