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Using things as art: A Graphic Menagerie of Enchanting Curiosity

Research output: Book/ReportBook

Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationToronto, London, New York
PublisherUniversity of Toronto Press
Number of pages25
ISBN (Print)1487570554
Publication statusPublished - 15 Oct 2019

Publication series

NameGrazer Philosophische Studien
ISSN (Print)0165-9227

King's Authors


Secured to a table in my living room is an antique apple peeler-A cast iron 19 th century mechanical contrivance that I gave my wife for her birthday some years ago. This thing is not art. At the very least, I do not believe it is art. Yet my wife and I do not use it as an apple peeler; we use it as art. Indeed, my living room is filled with things that we are using as art-some artifacts, some natural objects-but my living room is not filled with art. This is not, I think, all that unusual a phenomenon. Indeed, I believe this is a widespread phenomenon occurring at the blurry line between art and non-Art, especially in the home. However, exactly what it means to use a thing as art without thus believing it is art, and without it being (or thus becoming) art, is not a straightforward matter, especially given the many functions of art today, and their functional overlap with non-Art. In this essay, I investigate the notion of using a thing-specifically a non-Art thing, whether an artifact or otherwise-As art, and the importance of this notion both inside and outside of philosophy.

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