Homo Aestheticus: Where Art Comes from and Why

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9780029078853: Homo Aestheticus: Where Art Comes from and Why

The controversy about the public funding of the arts in the USA has sparked off afresh the debate about the nature and function of art. This book argues that art is an essential human activity, but that this has been obscured in modern society.

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Review:

"Dissanayake argues that art was central to human evolutionary adaptation and that the aesthetic faculty is a basic psychological component of every human being. In her view, art is intimately linked to the origins of religious practices and to ceremonies of birth, death, transition, and transcendence. Drawing on her years in Sri Lanka, Nigeria, and Papua New Guinea, she gives examples of painting, song, dance, and drama as behaviors that enable participants to grasp and reinforce what is important to their cognitive world." -Publishers Weekly "A wide-ranging essay on the place of art in human evolution and in the future, at once learned and spirited."-Howard Gardner, Harvard University "Ellen Dissanayake's book is the most forceful rejoinder I've read so far to the trivializing pessimism of postmodernist art theory."-Kenneth Baker, San Francisco Chronicle "Affirm[s] the idea that art is for life's sake, for the fulfillment of fundamental human needs, and for human survival... She gives us a coherent rationale for funding broadly based arts programs." Art Therapy "Homo Aestheticus offers a wealth of original and critical thinking. It will inform and irritate specialist, student, and lay reader alike."-American Anthropologist "Homo Aestheticus calls for a counterrevolution in our thinking about art. It is timely, provocative, and immensely valuable."-Philosophy and Literature

Review:

Ellen Dissanayake's book is the most forceful rejoinder I've read so far to the trivializing pessimism of postmodernist art theory.--Kenneth Baker "San Francisco Chronicle "

Ellen Dissanayake's book is the most forceful rejoinder I?ve read so far to the trivializing pessimism of postmodernist art theory.

--Kenneth Baker "San Francisco Chronicle "

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Dissanayake, Ellen
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