The term “meta-art” is an analogue to meta-mathematics. Meta-art is a set of every and all known and possible sentences about art. For the purposes of this article, any concrete set of connected sentences about art is considered a theory.
In what follows I will consider a number of fundamental constraints preventing the construction of a single, general, unified theory of art. Determing that such a theory is impossible, I will consider a number of incomplete special theories, which can serve as models of various aspects of art. I will call “Analytical Conceptualism” the discipline concerned with the systemic construction of models of art. I will discuss various such concrete models, along with gnoseological problems associated with general modeling.
At the end of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth century, art went through an explosive development. Traditional drawing, painting, and sculpture were joined by new forms: collage, photography, cinema, ready-made objects, texts, performance … In 1913 Marcel Duchamp asked his fundamental question: “Can one make works that are not works of art?” We call this question “fundamental” because it marked the change from an intuitive notion of art based on history and aesthetics to the pointed and unrestricted questioning of the foundations of art. It signified the point in art’s development when enough discomforting art facts and concepts had accumulated to show that the old paradigm was breaking up and a new paradigm was forming on fundamentally new principles.
Around the same time a number of other disciplines also blossomed. The need to investigate the foundations of such disciplines as mathematics and logic was felt very strongly by such remarkable scientists as Bertrand Russel and David Hilbert, and led to the creation of meta-mathematics, now better known as formal logic.
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