Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art for Everyone


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This is entry #41 in our 100 Philosophers, 100 Artworks, 100 Words Series.

Philosopher: Amy M. Schmitter, University of Alberta

Artwork: Gli (Wall)El Anatsui, 2010. Sculpture/Hanging/Assemblage. Aluminum and copper wire (scavenged bottle caps, tops and labels), variable dimensions. Installed at the Brooklyn Museum, for “Gravity and Grace: Monumental Works by El Anatsui,” 2013.

Words: Beauty is not the only aesthetic quality. But it’s certainly one. This is very beautiful. Its beauty seems to me to spring from its rich materiality: the materials (bottle caps, wire, labels) are transformed, yet remain fully present. I chose Glibecause more than many of El Anatsui’s hangings, it shapes and is shaped by the space it inhabits. But Anatsui refuses to dictate the arrangement of his works, so every exhibition is new. I find that a gracious and generous attitude. His works give me immense pleasure, satisfying, but without added calories, and something to be shared.


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