Aesthetics for Birds

Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art for Everyone

AFB’s Top 5 Posts of 2019


Thanks to our readers for another great year at Aesthetics for Birds! Here were our most-viewed posts this year. Scroll through to make sure you haven’t missed something big! (You can also check out our Top 5 of 2017 and Top 5 of 2018.)

Note: Our actual Top 5 by the numbers included a few from previous years (including last year’s #1, 2017’s #5, and one surprise appearance). So below you’ll see the most popular five posts that first appeared in 2019.


#5: What is ‘Camp’? Five Scholars Discuss Sontag, the Met Gala, and Camp’s Queer Origins

In May, we hosted a roundtable discussion on the theme of the annual exhibition and opening fête put on by the Met*: Camp. Scholars from philosophy, English, and disability, LGBTQ, and gender studies gave their thoughts on what ‘camp’ means and what it meant for the Met to adopt that as their theme. Spoiler: It’s great and also troubling.

*technically, the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, but what a mouthful!

#4: The Ethics of Artisanship: Or, No, You May Not Put Milk in Your Coffee

Matt Strohl travels to Salt Lake City. There, he finds a transcendent coffee shop. And he damn well better not put milk in that coffee.

#3: Sterling Holywhitemountain on Blood Quantum, “Native Art”, and Cultural Appropriation

In this engrossing interview, philosopher Matt Strohl interviews Sterling Holywhitemountain, a Blackfeet writer, about a huge range of topics relevant to indigenous politics and art. Holywhitemountain gives us a few history lessons, offers his take on the whole idea of blood quantum and the categorization of some art as “Native Art”, and explains what he really thinks about cultural appropriation. I promise you that his takes are not what you’d expect, because the situation is much more complicated and nuanced than you realize.

#2: Five Philosophers Discuss “Joker”

Joker might well have been the most controversial Hollywood film of 2019. People worried that it valorized the Lonely White Man and defended his violence and aggression. Others worried that it would spawn copycat crimes. Others just reveled in Joaquin Phoenix’s Oscar-bait performance. Here, five philosophers discussed whether and to what extent such reactions were justified.

#1: Best of the Decade Series

Okay, this is a little bit of a cheat, but I didn’t want the top posts to be dominated by different entries from our popular December series. In this series, we looked at expert decade-best picks in a variety of different categories: moviesgameswritingTVmusic, and art. We got academics and practitioners involved, and they gave us lists that were refreshingly different from the mainstream. We also had a seventh list where the AFB staff each picked their Top 10 best of everything from the decade, making for an eclectic grab bag of things ranging from food and comics to fashion and cars.

This is a taste of what we gave you in 2019, but you can also explore posts via the category tabs at the top of the page or just scroll back through our archives. And thanks again to you, our readers. We wouldn’t be here without you, and we are excited for a new decade with you. We’ve already got lots of plans for bringing you more aesthetics and philosophy of art this year!

Image credit: cuatrok77


Leave a Reply

Required fields are marked *.