Both Hegel and Danto anticipated the art that came after them, but understood it not as progress in a new direction, but as further symptoms of the end of art. Hegel was writing towards the end of the great outburst of creativity known as German Romanticism. He anticipated an increase in the conceptual content of art, a move beyond sensuous art into something radically different. This (incompletely) described many of the features of the great art movements that came after him, which moved away from depicting the world, or conceptual ideas, with complete adequacy, and instead reflected on the very limits of artistic expression itself. Cubism, for example, no longer perfected perspective, or wanted to, but instead interrogated it, and attempted to show us the very limits of the way an artwork might represent something. This can be seen especially in the ‘analytical’ phase of Cubism – for example, in Picasso’s Portrait of Ambroise Vollard (1910).
Shifting from being front and center to an observant spectator, I began to see beyond myself, picking up the art of people-watching. As if placing an invisibility cloak on, I would quietly sink into the blue armchair, discreetly watching peoples’ behavior and interactions with one another. I found myself creating whimsical backstories of circumstance for each passerby, intertwining chance encounters and meaningful exchanges. People-watching not only helped me to become more aware of those around me, was also as an opportunity to explore undiscovered parts of myself.