Can art be autonomous?

The new issue of Perspective, published by the Institut national d’histoire de l’art (Paris), features a debate on the subject, conducted by Claudine Cohen, Brigitte Derlon, Elina Gertsman, Monique Jeudy-Ballini, and Itay Sapir, and led by Thomas Golsenne. Scholars of prehistoric, medieval, early modern, and contemporary art discuss several questions: should we consider art’s autonomy to be if not completely illusory, then at least relatively so? When have we started understanding and referring to images and objects as works of art? What are the critiques of this nomination? What are the advantages and disadvantages of speaking about “art” or “a work of art” in different fields of art history? Is art-making always political? What about art criticism?

Read the debate here.