Denis Dutton, the founder of Arts & Letters Daily, one of the first aggregators of arts news, reviews, essays and cultural criticism, has died at 66.
Dutton was also a philosophy professor in New Zealand, where he died. Arts&Letters Daily is on the highbrow side, and wasn’t going to win any digital design awards. But it’s a great round-up of what’s on the minds of deep thinkers from around the world. As The New Yorker‘s Blake Eskin notes in this obit,
To be featured on Arts & Letters Daily meant your work would be read and discussed, whether you were Christopher Hitchens or a struggling neophyte, whether your piece appeared in The New Yorker or an obscure site with six regular readers.
Just about any arts and culture Web site owes at least a small debt to Dutton, knowingly or not. But he did much more than run a site. Here’s his TED Talk on the idea that beauty is not just in the eye of the beholder; evolution has hardwired us to seek and recognize it. It’s a companion to his book, The Art Instinct.