Intentionalism and the Arts


"Algorithmic art, computer art, Intentism, and Excessivism are among the important movements of the 21st century."

Art and Museum Autumn 2017 Edition.

Further recommendations from Intentist academics:

 Paisley Livingstone, Chair Professor of Philosophy, Lingnan University, Hong Kong and author of 'Art and Intention.

In my view Intentism is a constructive new movement that embraces the creative efforts of artists working in a range of media and art forms.

Intentism redirects our attention from the discourse of critics and theorists to the artists whose thoughts and actions are the ultimate source of whatever is genuinely valuable in the arts.

William Irwin, Professor of Philosophy, Pennsylvania and author of 'Intentionalist Interpretation' and 'The Death and Resurrection of the Author.'

Intentionalism is not just an academic issue. Rather, it has far reaching implications for art, law, and everyday life.

We cannot let the nonsense of postmodernism become the standard understanding of the role authors and artists play in determining the meaning of their work. Too much is at stake to remain silent. Participating in the Intentism Conference is an important first step.

Colin Lyas, retired professor of Philosophy Lancaster University and author of 'Aesthetics.'

First, greetings to the Intentists. I am on your side and have been since I first came to these matters in 1961. Those who are against reference to artists and their intentions seem to me to dehumanise art, and that is of a piece with a more general dehumanisation of culture that I find in many thinkers (usually under the claim that author=authority=authoritarian=tyranny etc). The recognition of the humanity of another, as aperson, is a buttress against any attempt to treat that person as a thing, or a sub-human, to be dispensed with wothout moral consquences. (I note that Hitler and many of his followers thought that of the Jews as sub-human and outside the respect that acknowledging another as human demands from us). Moreover, to see humanity in the intention of the work is to acknowledge the staus of that work as an end and not (see Kant) as a thing to be treated as a means to an end.

I also add that I think that to ignore the fact that the work is intimately related to the person who produced it is to cut oneself off from its proper appreciation. A work of art is a human gesture and its maker can be seen (perhaps with difficulty at times) IN the gesture. To appreciate the work is to appreciate the quality of the gesture.

My best wishes for the success of your conference and the deliberations of its members.


Intentist public demonstrations at Tate Britain and Tate Modern


                         Outside Tate Britain, London. 



                         Preparing for Tate Modern Demonstration 


                      Demonstrating outside Tate Modern, London. 


                      Being forcibly escorted off the premises of Tate Modern.