PRINT October 1999




To the Editor:

In his review of the new Clement Greenberg collection [“Peachy Cobbler,” Summer ’99], Thierry de Duve misstated George Dickie’s Institutional Theory of Art. According to Dickie, an object qualifies as art if two conditions are met: (1) it is an artifact (human-made), and (2) it is held up as candidate for appreciation by a member of the institution called the “artworld.” This was offered as an alternative to those attempts, ultimately unsuccessful, to define art using exhibited qualities only. De Duve’s statement, “Of course, the institutionalization of the art world was only just taking off in the early ’70s,” is not strictly correct, because as long as art galleries, art museums, art collectors, art critics, and artists constituted an art economy, the institution itself was alive and functioning way before the ’70s. But why was this perceived as a “danger”

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