At the end of the 1980’s Professor Alicja Kuczynska initiated the publication of a new journal, Art and Philosophy, which first saw print in 1989. Around twenty years after the first issue, Ewa Bogusz-Boltuc and Malgorzata Szyszkowska interviewed Professor Kuczynska about this initiative, to learn how and why Art and Philosophy was created.
Art and Philosophy – What is the relationship between Art and Philosophy and Polish Aesthetics, and what caused this initiative?
Prof. Alicja Kuczynska – At that time, there happened to be no individual Polish periodical dedicated to aesthetics. Aesthetics, established in 1960 by Wladyslaw Tatarkiewicz, who was also its chief editor, stopped being published in 1963. Aesthetics was the first relatively open, post-war, forum for the exchange of ideas, consequently separating artistic matters from ideology. Articles, which appeared in it, were written by such philosophers as Wladyslaw Tatarkiewicz, Roman Ingarden, Jan Bialostocki, Wladyslaw Strozewski, Mieczyslaw Wallis and others. The yearly periodical gained positive reviews at home and abroad, from, for example, Harold Osborne, who also published an article in the first issue.
Introduced in 1964 as a replacement for Aesthetics, the journal Studies of Aesthetics undertook an extended program, which was initiated by the new chief editor, Stefan Morawski. In the years 1964-1990, 23 issues of Studies were published. The works of Polish authors, the summaries of symposiums, and articles of authors from neighboring countries, were all printed.
Paradoxically the fall of Studies of Aesthetics coincided with a time of heightened interest in aesthetics, especially modern aesthetics, in the conditions of breakthroughs in art. The need for a discussion forum on the situation of the community, as well as on the role of art, and also opening a journal for younger generations, became obvious. Therefore, in the Department of Aesthetics the idea to create Art and Philosophy was born.
Art and Philosophy – What were the conditions under which the first issues of Art and Philosophy came into being, and what were the key topics on the editors’ minds at the time? What goals did the journal set before itself?
Prof. Alicja Kuczynska – The beginnings of the journal were difficult. The intellectual atmosphere was buzzing: the journal had a goal of relating to its good publishing heritage, and at the same time, from the beginning, it was geared towards independence and, above all, towards creating a new environment for young aestheticians. By default, the journal was open to new ideas of interpretations, but it wasn’t always possible to avoid some eclecticism of the subject matter.
The financing started from zero. The first issue of Art and Philosophy was sponsored by the research program of the Department of Modern Philosophy. The department chair, at the time, included the costs of publishing the first issues into his program. The journal’s long standing editor, Hanna Puszko-Mis can be credited with the accomplishment of opening up the journal to the works of young authors. Consecutive successors, Iwona Lorenc and, currently (from 2007), Malgorzata Szyszkowska, consequently followed the initial program. Finally, Art and Philosophy gained the financial backing of the Department of Philosophy and Sociology at the Warsaw University.
Art and Philosophy – How were articles selected?
Prof. Alicja Kuczynska – The journal developed a strategy of going beyond the traditional paradigms of relating art to philosophy. The primary role of the journal was to present and consolidate the community of young aestheticians, gathered around the country’s universities. In the journal a majority of texts came from young authors, and foreign language Aesthetics was first represented by translations of f.e. Heidegger, Husserl, Baudrillard, Bell.
Art and Philosophy – And how do you see the future of Art and Philosophy?
Prof. Alicja Kuczynska – Currently this role has been transformed and enlarged. In the present conditions of electronic development in news and communication, printed journals which do not have a high enough meritocratic standard will lose their justification to exist. Art and Philosophy perceives the need to give a greater place for artists, traditional and avant-garde. The board of editors would like to publish special single subject issues, increase their number and invite guest editors. One of the signs of change is an English language issue, dedicated to Anglo-American aesthetics, and another to Arnold Berleant.