Screen Shot 2014-09-07 at 16.01.26Rob van Gerwen, Ph.D., is lecturer in philosophy at Utrecht University. He also lectures at University College Utrecht, The Royal Academy for the Arts in The Hague, and The High School of the Arts in Utrecht. He owns a company, Consilium Philosophicum. He wrote numerous articles and books on aesthetics: among others a survey of modern aesthetic theories (in Dutch); a dissertation on Art and Experience; Richard Wollheim on the Art of Painting with Cambridge University Press, and in Dutch Watching art in museums. He is currently working on a book on Art as a Moral Practice.

You can download his writings from his website: 

He also maintains a weblog and is on Twitter.


Artistic Experiments and our Issues with Them: Implication Art and the Definition of Art

Wednesday, 22 October 2014
16:00-18:00 at Senate House, Room 102

Abstract: Nowadays, people are regularly horrified by contemporary art. Some think that all that artists aim to do is shock us. Deprecatingly, they call such art ‘Shock Art’. I discuss several examples, and show that all involve  some form of experimenting. To evaluate such experiments, we must first address the question if they are art to begin with. Unfortunately, for that we are not helped much by prevailing definitions like Dickie’s Institutional definition or Gaut’s cluster concept, as these are far too inclusive. Levinson’s historical definition fares much better, I argue, but has little to say about art’s future. Yet, the kind of experimenting contemporary artists engage in is often about that future: artists explore and open up art’s future. To make sense of their experiments as art, as well as to channel people’s indignation about them by providing aesthetic norms, I propose an emendation of Levinson’s historical definition. This emendation also allows us to grasp that these and other contemporary artistic experiments comprise a genuinely novel art form, which I name implication art.