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Art and design

by Sassafras Sun Jun 14th, 2009 at 08:36:09 AM EST

Rdf's recent diaries Who profits from art?, The slow work movement and Adventures with Slow Work set me off on a particular train of thinking.

Rdf suggests, for instance, that an artist of a work that is "unique, such as a painting or sculpture" should receive part of the profits made on resale of their work.  It's an interesting issue that I've no right to hijack, so please discuss that in his diary!  However, thanks to Sven for this link to the obituary of furniture designer Sam Maloof, a maker of unique and beautiful objects:

How justified is the apparent distinction we make between art and design? If a painter or sculptor (or their descendants) deserves an interest in the future value of his/her work, does Sam Maloof? If something is functional, does it cease to be art?


So, I started looking at the not-exactly-art in my own home:

At one end of the spectrum, we have this jug.  It's the work of the ceramic artist Deborah Halpern, best known (to me) for her public art in Melbourne.

It's signed, and I bought it from an art gallery. A more abstract sculpture was available, but I liked this. Does the fact it's a jug make a difference as to whether or not it's art?

A handpainted jug where the value of the object lies in the name of the designer, Clarice Cliff, not the near-anonymous painters of her studio.

I passed over many pieces of Clarice Cliff in jumble sales as a child. At the time, few people liked it, but sought-after pieces now fetch incredibly high prices at auction.  Sadly, mine is not one of them  ;)  Is Clarice Cliff an artist? Were the studio painters? Is this jug a piece of art?

Something further along the line to being wholly mass-produced. A 1950's jug, (Crown Devon Stockholm) decorated partly by transfer, and partly by hand painting. But it's a highly designed object, a distinct step beyond putting a  picture on an existing template. And it pours pretty well, too.

Now, well to the other end of the spectrum: TG Green Cornishware.  Mass produced, by a distinctive lathing process that leaves the blue glaze proud on the surface of the object, it's still made today, and goes through a spike in popularity every time blue-and-white is in kitchen fashion.  Original 1920's pieces are collected and expensive. Second hand versions from the 1970's (like mine) cost less than new.

So, in your view, where does design end and art begin?

Display:
I don't see a distinction. People collect mass produced items like pottery (say Wedgewood) and the price goes up just the same.

I think my distinction is between items made in vast quantities and those made in small amounts by individuals or modest workshops.

I'm not suggesting that Wedgewood get more profit when some of their older pieces become more valuable. It's a different initial transaction.

Just because an item is functional doesn't mean it can't have aesthetic qualities. Look at Navajo blankets and pots. They are now appreciated more for their aesthetic looks than when they were originally made. And this is exactly the type of item where I think that profit from subsequent sale should be rebated to the creators (or the tribe).

By the way chairs have become a popular art form in the woodworking community. It's sort of like variations on a theme, with woodworkers showing their design creativity as much as their craftsmanship. Some of them can't even be sat on. I remember seeing one with a big spike sticking up through the seat.

The US magazine "Fine Woodworking" has samples of creative work in every issue.

Policies not Politics
---- Daily Landscape

by rdf (robert.feinman@gmail.com) on Sun Jun 14th, 2009 at 06:21:47 PM EST
Art -> form.

Design -> form and function.

'Handicrafts' -> neither. :)

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sun Jun 14th, 2009 at 06:25:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
O RLY?

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sun Jun 14th, 2009 at 09:24:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
William Morris was a dude. But the A&C movement is long dead to most of the world.

If you go to a 'handicrafts faire' in the UK it will be full of amateurish watercolours of wild life, wooden jigsaws and mushrooms, brightly coloured waistcoats, and chutney.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Jun 15th, 2009 at 05:39:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What about, though, pieces individually decorated for a large manufacturer?

I'm thinking about something like Poole Delphis, which were all individually decorated by identifiable artists.

by Sassafras on Mon Jun 15th, 2009 at 12:00:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
where does design end and art begin?

I remind myself that art is "short" for artificial. All that is artificial expresses the hand of man, homo faber.

The selection here fits a category customarily called (by curators and other experts) "decorative art." I suppose, thinking back to lectures, the modifier dimunizes the utility of a familiar object --the jug that's unfilled, the still rocker, vases containing no flowers, quilts hung on walls, jewel-studded egg-shaped cavities, gargantuan shoes, and so on-- in order to, well, savor its beauty at leisure.

It seems to me the need to segregate forms of art emerged from Westworld exploration of the world along with avid collection of cultural "products" alienate from it. The museum, the zoo, the curio cabinet of "collectibles" are tombs of the natural man and natural world to which we were once in thrall.

Design is no more or less than a plan, as above as in every other industry, to express an idea, to realize the thing imagined. Composition is a attitude of toward the arrangement of objects in two- or three-diminsial space. Artists are desingers. All designers are artists.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Sun Jun 14th, 2009 at 09:21:30 PM EST
Er... Last time I looked, Plato as Kant made a difference between "Goodness, Beauty, Nature", Hegel would follow with his Kunstschöne vs Naturschöne (Mind vs Nature)...

English isn't easy on the word "design" as it applies for a "peculiar invention" (i.e. the design of the universe) as a fashion or style (i.e. Italian design).

Most of those crafts (and I count architecture among them) are on the "goodness" side, while art would be on the "Beauty" side. Nature being "per se", in a different league.

Designing for beauty (beforehand) usually produces "art" (it can be far from beautiful in a given culture), while designing for goodness (again beforehand), can result in some forms of beauty, later, or as a by-product. It wasn't the original intention.

There should be an emotion with art. There can be an emotion with "craft".

Roméo and Juliette, necking on a bench at sunset can find a builtscape "beautiful"... Because their own emotional state oozes to their perception. While at the same instant, a bystander, worrying about his income taxes, will perceive the Nature (sunset) and discard the builtscape as a necessary evil... :-)

"What can I do, What can I write, Against the fall of Night". A.E. Housman

by margouillat (hemidactylus(dot)frenatus(at)wanadoo(dot)fr) on Mon Jun 15th, 2009 at 03:09:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
margouillat:
There should be an emotion with art.

Art seems to be about creating evocative experiences. Art is really just the experience - the medium and the object are vehicles by which the experience is delivered.

Design seems to be a combination of practicality - there is an object, and it offers a practical benefit which other similar objects also offer - but with added aesthetic enhancement which is considered pleasing and elegant rather than evocative.

You could argue that the experience of elegance is enough to make design art, but artistic experiences seem more driven by narrative and reflexive exploration. Art will be about something, and will be trying to make a moral point about how the world is, how it could be, or how it ought to be. Even very abstract does this, even if it's only by defining relationships and personal characteristics of people called 'viewers' vs. people called 'artists.'

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Jun 15th, 2009 at 05:56:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I agree with this. Art is essentially cerebral. You are not intended to touch it - it's supposed to touch you.

When an artefact has a use in the physical world, other than the cerebral element, it becomes Applied art.

Design can be functional or decorative (or both), and uses similar aesthetic principles to art ("critical reflection on art, culture and nature.") but for a different purpose. Design is intended to be reproducible.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Mon Jun 15th, 2009 at 06:55:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The essential reproducibility of Design makes it science rather than art.

But, of course, as with all things human, there are no strict dividing lines between different media or disciplines.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Mon Jun 15th, 2009 at 07:00:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
the arts of design, and the designs of art...

i like these conversations, cuz i open the comment box and don't know what i'm going to say, but have thought long and hard about these word/symbols, so trust my humble reflections may have value.

as someone who spends a significant part of my day practicing the arts of playing musical instruments and recording them, i feel i'm an (mostly unpaid) artist, and when i investigate my deepest motives for why i do it, there are two that come immediately to mind.

first, we are surrounded by raw materials, and when we make a simple fire, there's a better way to do it, and it's very artistic feeling to make a good fire, and revel in its hypnotic beauty.

art is like the divine kissing the banal.

i can plant my seeds willy nilly, or i can sow them in patterns that please me... just two simple things we've been doing for millennia.

the second is that real, true, blasts of emotion that good art can release. i remember listening at 16 to some homespun folksinger at the troubadour in earl's ct. in about '67, and crying my eyes out at the wistful beauty of her words and songs.

i walked home feeling rinsed out, cleansed, on fire with something that soothed and excited me simultaneously, moved beyond description, that something so apparently simple could wreak such mood, could reduce my state of mind to such a willing and natural surrender.

it occurred to me that if i could receive such emotions, perhaps it meant also that one day i could be capable of generating them, and this idea caught me at that moment and has never loosened its hold since.

i had a dream where i was in a big circle, holding hands with other singers and songwriters, and i remember feeling so happy when i woke up. this didn't need money, it didn't need a college degree, all it needed was dedication and love.

so there's a sense of keeping the ball rolling, passing the baton, giving back what was given me that feels rootily satisfying.

i have encountered so many people who wished they'd done what i did, and could have, and regretted it.

that also has a way of helping one appreciate one's choices!

under the semantic umbrella of art comes design.

like sven said, the edges blur here. one needs the other. if i play a well designed guitar, my job of translating emotion into and through it is made much easier and more pleasurable.

real art is impossible to reproduce, as it is original, the more inimitable, the more artistic. we could digress into self-actualisation and authenticity, but let's stay on topic.

what i want is life to become art, and that is a lifetime's work, much harder than writing a song, or an album even.

i'd like to find every moment aesthetically satisfying, and it's a humbling task, while remaining a mirage that recedes in ratio to my approach sometimes, as too much aestheticism becomes effete, and true art must appear artless.

design is banal unless it is artistic, though some attempts are so bad one would have preferred they left that impulse unmet! if it's bad enough it may be even commercial, but either way it will end up as camp one day, lol!

i don't like the (illusionary) separation between artists and non-artists, it's an artificial schism. lots of times i'll bring a guitar to a party, but leave it in the car, because i wanted to remain one with the group, and far everyone one includes with art, there's often someone who misuses the experience and ends up feeling blue.

people want art to be pretty and make them feel good, and that has its season too, but i like art that pushes me to face difficult issues, and takes risks. of course one man's edge is another's centre, so often discussions about art, like religion, are a waste of time that could be better used making more art, instead of nattering about it.

i can't deny, nor would want to, that most art today isn't, and that real art is hiding in plain sight just round the corner from where you'd expect to find it. it could be a skyscape, it could be a cat's impossible torqued leap through space, it could be the glint of the sun on the morning dew, but if we don't slow down and savour those things, we become less than human, imo.

how to harness and celebrate the ego in a positive way, rather than lock it up in a dungeon, that's what i like art for.

your mileage will definitely vary...

/ramble

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Mon Jun 15th, 2009 at 08:39:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The depth and persistance of Westworld veneration of Plato, architect of republic, hierarchy of labors sine qua non, never ceases to amaze me.

A sense of the ironical in your remarks is quite faint.

English is "easy on the word 'design'". The noun means plan. The verb means to plan. Meanwhile  "invention" denotes novelty, a new plan. The conceit with which certain persons --platonic philosophers if you will-- attribute fashionable designs wholly to nations should need no introduction.

To illustrate irony: Are you acquainted with the word teleology?

Isn't it Aristotle whose classical literature divined the "good" to whom you appeal? Pull some quotes (I won't) so that we can properly analyze the servile objects pictured above and the propriety of any pleasure they may evoke by their very existence.

It [beauty] wasn't the original intention.

That is a profound question, leading from one's apprehension of design and intimidation under hierarchical assignments of authority.

I must go now but will say this now: Beauty is awesome, in many respects incomprehensible. This is especially true when a design is undetectable to the untrained gaze.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Mon Jun 15th, 2009 at 08:35:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
MarketTrustee:
Beauty is awesome, in many respects incomprehensible. This is especially true when a design is undetectable to the untrained gaze.

now that's a quote to live by!

it takes letting go of time to sink deep.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Mon Jun 15th, 2009 at 08:45:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
OK guys, allow me a break for two days... I knew I shouldn't start something I didn't have the mean to finish in time :-)

Some quick answers...  I wouldn't rally to Plato just like that but you are right that there isn't much irony (apart maybe the dust of time :-) ). I'm much more radical then one could think ! (w e did have some debates on community and collectivity :-) )

 Between verb and noun... Sure! But many debates today are held by people who's english is just like mine, learned through experience rather then at school... It has limits... Just as my english is limited on such subjects, whereas in french I would choose the proper word for the proper sense... (Sigh)

I agree with the notion of the "untrained gaze" and the cerebral part of art, as in fact, contemporary art feeds on the message, not the media.

I'll take a snip at Melo's musical experience... As a  listener, he came back touched and transformed to the point he wanted to give back to others what he then felt.
Yet to be a musician capable of transmitting such a level of emotion, you need to train in a technical way, to optimize your instrument, maybe even to pay for it... And even then, when you play, you aren't sure that it works each time (reproducibility as remarked Sven).
So there is art along that line of events (spiritual emotion, rapture, transportation (?)), but only at some key instants, while most of the time it's more about acquiring a craft, a knowledge... (Phew)

I must now leave for something that looks like an intimate spiritual journey, whether I believe in an afterlife or not, it's more, for me, a peculiar alchemy about memory through rituals... :-)

"What can I do, What can I write, Against the fall of Night". A.E. Housman

by margouillat (hemidactylus(dot)frenatus(at)wanadoo(dot)fr) on Mon Jun 15th, 2009 at 09:26:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
my nick looks weird to me with a capital M!
margouillat:

I'll take a snip at Melo's musical experience... As a  listener, he came back touched and transformed to the point he wanted to give back to others what he then felt.
Yet to be a musician capable of transmitting such a level of emotion, you need to train in a technical way, to optimize your instrument, maybe even to pay for it... And even then, when you play, you aren't sure that it works each time (reproducibility as remarked Sven).

well, perhaps i misunderstand your mean of 'snip', but i am in agreement with everything in that statement.

perhaps i would substitute 'listen and learn from people whose mastery you admire and resonate with' for 'train in a technical way'.

playing an instrument is basically telling a story. you don't need a degree in linguistics to tell a good yarn, in fact it may get in the way.

sure technique is cool, but too often substitutes for taste.

there was a poster here for a while, techno was his nick, and i learned a lot from him.

he mentioned that traing horses was a technology, whereas i had thought it a skill. i guess the distinction is pretty fine.

knowing how to shape a chord, or harmonise a line of melody can be learned from others, but that's imitation, and eventually if you want to build your own voice you have to leave those behind.

those seeking your roots will be able to trace them in what you do, and how you do it, but if that job's too easy, you haven't really individualised your art.

for some that's much less important, to be part of a great choir for example takes great skill, but individuation is not the prime motive, though even then it can happen.

i see art as human destiny, it adds the missing 'special' in life, and as a way of respecting the importance of emotion, especially in a world so divorced from its own heart right now.

but arranging flowers, or tidying a room is inherently just as artistic as writing a sonata, it depends on your state of being as you address the tasks.

i must re-emphasise the 'stepping out of time's river' factor. to prioritise making the world more beautiful, when it's already overloaded with beauty already to those with eyes to see, sometimes seems like gilding the lily, veneering a true grain, and this aspect lends a certain cosmic futility to the whole operation, but the payoff comes when your art connects, and someone's life is subtly altered.

for all i know that girl singing at the troubadour was thinking about how she forgot to hang up the wash while she was singing, but the sound did its work of penetrating and melting the armour i didn't even know i was wearing!

the tibetans believe in certain 'seed syllables' and i think that's what's going on, these sounds act like keys to unlock one's own perception.

great discussion, thanks for starting it, sassafrass.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Mon Jun 15th, 2009 at 10:07:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Lorsque le mot juste est difficile à trouver, écris en français, il se trouvera toujours quelqu'un pour tenter de trouver le mot juste en traduction... ;)

Pour les rituels qui t'attendent, bon voyage.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jun 15th, 2009 at 10:07:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ca m'est un petit peu opaque, ce que tu veux dire.

quand-meme le rapport entre rituel et l'art, cela vaudrait un 'diary'.

quand est-ce qu'elle devient un rituel, une habitude?

existe-t-il un vrai difference, ou ca depend de la concentration?

excusez mon francais plutot atroce!

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Mon Jun 15th, 2009 at 10:50:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'd have problems with the idea of an untrained gaze, what do you mean by it? Surely nearly all gazes in the modern world are culturally trained in some way or other? or are you talking a more specific meaning of untrained?

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Jun 15th, 2009 at 10:54:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Bourdieu put a lot of time and attention into deconstructing the politics of art. His idea is that art - and especially art appreciation - are caste markers.

The middle classes study art avidly in order to improve themselves. The dominating classes collect art as a monument to their own significance, without necessarily being interested in it or appreciating it with a 'trained gaze'. Their native tastes are crude, simplistic and even vulgar, and when it comes to appreciating value, they're surprisingly easily led.

One of the London art fairs offers the services of personal shoppers who can guide the nervous but well-heeled acolyte towards one or more purchases will be suitable as a demonstration of their elevated status.

At another art fair I was told that certain famous collectors demanded huge discounts from up and coming artists, because their decision to buy a work sanctified and anointed the artist with a value they wouldn't otherwise have had.

There are also completely unfounded rumours and suspicions that certain auction houses may knowingly misrepresent the history and origin of certain pieces, to persuade buyers to part with their money. If that happened to be true - and I'm sure it isn't - a hypothetical old master might be worth tens of millions, where a hypothetical fake or poor imitation would be worth next to nothing.

There's no doubting that there's an aesthetic instinct, as there is a transcendent one. Humans put a lot of effort into decorating objects, enhancing their personal living spaces, and sharing their more rarefied experiences.

But there's also an art market which trades in these things as if they were common commodities, which can be marketed and boosted like other commodities, irrespective of any other value.

Depending on the market, it's not always easy to tell the difference between cultural value, market value, and inherent impact.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Jun 15th, 2009 at 12:27:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Surely nearly all gazes in the modern world are culturally trained in some way or other?

Yes, obedience to propriety is one objective of training. My meaning engrosses this (intellectual) dimension of pedagogy --"socialization" if you prefer of both artist and patron-- and, more important, training in techniques of manufacture, that is how to manipulate materials in order to achieve a desired symbolic effect from the material(s) ... not to mention the versimlitude of affect elicited by these artifacts in the "beholder."

In other words, the "untrained gaze" is uninformed.

Mystification of a thing --"art" apposed to "decorative art" for example-- arises, largely, from ignorance of the processes of making it ("Wow, that's awesome!") and the wildly erroneous assumption, the creator is unwilling or unable to control --has no "design upon"-- the media in hand (e.g. Pollack, DADA, any ethnographic fetish).

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Mon Jun 15th, 2009 at 01:26:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The conceit with which certain persons --platonic philosophers if you will-- attribute fashionable designs wholly to nations should need no introduction.

It's not a quote but, I admit, my reflection on commentary by Edward Said in Culture and Imperialism. I took some time to recall a source ...

Colonization of the mind proceeds from patria potestas. A randomly selected excerpt pertinent to judgements of beauty ascribed by design or not to "art" and withheld from "handicraft"...

Thanks to the work of Gauri Viswanathan, the system of British education in India, whose ideology derives from Macaulay and Bentinck, is seen to permeate with ideas about unequal races and cultures that were transmitted in the classroom; they were part of the curriculum and a pedagogy whose purpose, according to Charles Trevelyan, an apologist, was

in a Platonic sense, to awaken the colonial subjects to a memory of their innate character, corrupted as it had become ... through the feudalistic character of Oriental society. In this universalizing narrative [modernity], rescripted from a scenario furnished earlier by missionaries, the British government was refashioned as the ideal republic to which Indians must naturally aspire as a spontaneous expression of self, a state in which the British rulers won a figurative place as Platonic Guardians

...which is art's inferior, being a primitive and homely yet no less articulate "expression of self."

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Mon Jun 15th, 2009 at 12:23:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Just because there are different words this does not mean that there are clearly distinguished kinds of thing.

"The individual words in a language name objects - sentences are a combination of such names. Every word has a meaning, it stands for something." Augustine

Wittgenstein had accepted Augustine's way but later realized that context is needed to truly understand a word. Wittgenstein said that we restrict words if we try to define them out of their context. He said: "philosophical problems arise when language goes on holiday". Essentially, Wittgenstein is saying that taking language out of context renders it often useless and at the very least, hard to understand fully. He recognized that words have many different uses in different contexts.

http://en.wikiversity.org/wiki/Wittgenstein_-_Language_Games

The context for the development of the use of the word "art" was - in Europe - the attempt by painters and sculptors to raise their status at the time of the Renaissance. Before then they had been generally  regarded as craftsmen (few women). They and their proponents, such as Vasari, wanted to raise their status and thus the monetary value of their work. They began signing their work, educating themselves and including references to classical culture, developing their own themes rather than working to specified requirements of those commissioning them such as Church authorities, etc.  They became not anonymous craftsmen, but individualistic Artists with an emphasis on personal style and self-expression - i.e. the now widely accepted notion of the Artist which was further developed and exaggerated by the Romantics. It is now so widely accepted that it seems as if it were a fact of nature, or true by definition, rather than a recent cultural developement with economic roots.


Raised Status of Painters and Sculptors

Up until the Renaissance, painters and sculptors had been considered merely as skilled workers, not unlike talented interior decorators. However, in keeping with its aim of producing thoughtful, classical art, the Italian Renaissance raised the professions of painting and sculpture to a new level. In the process, prime importance was placed on 'disegno' - an Italian word whose literal meaning is 'drawing' but whose sense incorporates the 'whole design' of a work of art - rather than 'colorito', the technique of applying coloured paints/pigments. Disegno constituted the intellectual component of painting and sculpture, which now became the profession of thinking-artists not decorators.

http://www.visual-arts-cork.com/renaissance-art.htm

It happened a bit later in Holland, but was the same sort of development:

Rembrandt's Self-Portrait in Painter's Costume is one of the abnormally numerous depictions of the artist by himself. Even though the sheer amount of Rembrandt's self-portraits is exceptional, it is also symptomatic of a period when the individuality of the artist was a newly recognized value. Many 17th-century Netherlandish painters went out of their way to apply their trademark on their work. Unsurprisingly, the habit to sign one's work spread at that time.

http://premodeconhist.wordpress.com/

A marxist approach complements Wittgenstein's advice :-)

Also there has been a lot of work on aesthetics - after Kant, Hegel, etc. - there's no need for us to reinvent the wheel - my old aesthetics lecturer would be shaking her head. I'm not saying philosophers now agree or that we must agree with authorties on the subject, but maybe we should be aware of what some of the main ones have said, which  would  avoid some of already refuted generalisations made here.

Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.

by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Mon Jun 15th, 2009 at 12:09:37 PM EST
Well done.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Mon Jun 15th, 2009 at 12:31:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Thanks.

Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.
by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Mon Jun 15th, 2009 at 12:36:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
yup, great comment, ted. i really resonated with the part about italy and the renaissance.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 06:47:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]

Some aesthetic approaches:

Even as late as 1912 it was normal in the West to assume that all art aims at beauty, and thus that anything that wasn't trying to be beautiful couldn't count as art. The cubists, dadaists, Stravinsky, and many later art movements struggled against this conception that beauty was central to the definition of art, with such success that, according to Danto, "Beauty had disappeared not only from the advanced art of the 1960's but from the advanced philosophy of art of that decade as well."[12] Perhaps some notion like "expression" (in Croce's theories) or "counter-environment" (in McLuhan's theory) can replace the previous role of beauty. Brian Massumi brought back "beauty" into consideration together with "expression".[15] Another concept, as important to the philosophy of art as "beauty," is that of the "sublime," elaborated upon in the twentieth century by the postmodern philosopher Jean-Francois Lyotard.

Perhaps (as in Kennick's theory) no definition of art is possible anymore. Perhaps art should be thought of as a cluster of related concepts in a Wittgensteinian fashion (as in Weitz or Beuys). Another approach is to say that "art" is basically a sociological category, that whatever art schools and museums and artists define as art is considered art regardless of formal definitions. This "institutional definition of art" (see also Institutional Critique) has been championed by George Dickie. Most people did not consider the depiction of a Brillo Box or a store-bought urinal to be art until Andy Warhol and Marcel Duchamp (respectively) placed them in the context of art (i.e., the art gallery), which then provided the association of these objects with the associations that define art.

Proceduralists often suggest that it is the process by which a work of art is created or viewed that makes it art, not any inherent feature of an object, or how well received it is by the institutions of the art world after its introduction to society at large. Whereas if exactly the same set of words was written by a journalist, intending them as shorthand notes to help him write a longer article later, these would not be a poem. Leo Tolstoy, on the other hand, claims that what makes something art or not is how it is experienced by its audience, not by the intention of its creator. Functionalists like Monroe Beardsley argue that whether or not a piece counts as art depends on what function it plays in a particular context ...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aesthetics#What_is_.22art.3F.22

But I  still prefer the marxist approach - as they say in "All the president's men" - "follow the money" :-)

Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.

by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Mon Jun 15th, 2009 at 12:41:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ted Welch:
Perhaps (as in Kennick's theory) no definition of art is possible anymore.

great! it'll be god next, lol...

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 06:46:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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