Art Theory and Heidi Klum
How naive do you have to be to think that any art theory is entirely adequate to anything? Never mind that the theories of, say, Rosalind Krauss or Arthur Danto may well be adequate to nothing except the desire to exercise the theorist's power, such as it is. So, staying with the improbability that any theory is entirely adequate, let us consider the further possibility that no theory of art, no matter how old or neglected, is entirely inadequate. Take, for example, the neoplatonic theory that art succeeds when it offers an image of some transcendent something that combines absolute Truth with absolute Beauty. Granted, neoplatonism is less rampant in the art world than in the fashion world, where Heidi Klum is being promoted as "the Perfect One." Still, there is a tinge of neoplatonism to any absolutist judgment about any work of art. My point? A theory of art has no power to render any other theory wrong. Theories of art do not supersede one another. They accumulate, and it is only those looking for shortcuts to wisdom who glom onto a contemporary theory as if it were all that is needed. So sad! To think that Kraussian or Dantesque or Buchlovian theory puts you in touch with the meaning of art is like thinking that, to get in touch with ordinary life, one should wear oven mitts.