Aesthetics for Birds

Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art for Everyone

AFB’s Top 50 Terms of Art



Two and a half months ago, I started the Terms of Art series. Every weekday (minus a one-week intermission), I posted a key term from aesthetics and philosophy of art, which sometimes leaned more philosophical and other times more toward the art world and art criticism.

To select the Top 50, I used a mix of crowd-sourcing (thanks to everyone who helped with this!) and personal reflection. I thought about central concepts my students have wanted to know about or been confused about. I thought about terms I remember not understanding when I first started reading art criticism and artists’ statements. I also included terms that I have continued to be confused about in other areas of aesthetics and philosophy of art. So in many ways, this series has been as much for me as for any of you. (Also it’s a quarantine project, so really it has been a LOT for me. So much the better if you all got something out of it!)

You can browse through them all here. But a quick reference, I’m including below a list of what I guess are my Top 50 Terms of Art.

Week 1: Big picture terms

Week 2: More big picture terms

Week 3: Getting a bit more technical

Week 4: Important -isms

Week 5: Art world terms

Week 6: Particular aesthetic concepts

Week 7: Artists and authors

Week 8: A grab bag (or, some slogans and then stuff about representing and copying)

Week 9: Another grab bag

Week 10: A final grab bag containing some of the trickiest terms


Image credit: “ornament” by a loves dc

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