What is Art?

Use this forum to have philosophical discussions about aesthetics and art. What is art? What is beauty? What makes art good? You can also use this forum to discuss philosophy in the arts, namely to discuss the philosophical points in any particular movie, TV show, book or story.

Re: What is Art?

Post Number:#556  Postby Spraticus » October 10th, 2017, 5:22 pm

I see some value in some aspects of some of those; the idea that desire is the root of all our problems for example, but most of it is just superstitious pre-science, and as you say, it's off topic.

The topic is "What is Art?"

Sticking just to the visual arts I would say it is the activity of making artifacts in a visual format, with the intention of conveying feelings about the subject matter.
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Re: What is Art?



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Re: What is Art?

Post Number:#557  Postby Jan Sand » November 11th, 2017, 4:15 am

Both of my parents were artists and I have attempted to participate in the discipline for much of a long life. Much of the problems of discussions like this rest in taking a word like art, like science, like philosophy which was devised to communicate a human activity and then, endlessly, people offer their personal understanding of the meaning of the word. Dictionaries are compendiums of how the word is used and art is one of those words that is used by people to cover multitudes of different activities and products in many varied disciplines. So, as someone in the field, I can only offer a personal view.

There seems to me three basic important areas in the art field. The view of the artist ideally should be that of an explorer involved with the technical aspects of the manipulations of materials to communicate how patterns can communicate ideas and emotions and even philosophies of the various aspects of being alive. Very good art does this well to a large sector of people and this is very satisfying to an artist. A good deal of art can become a formula which extends a particular formality which, nevertheless, retains enough originality to remain novel and good but much can be mere imitation and of small value.

A second area is that of the viewer and viewers vary considerably so that when something differs considerably from previous efforts in the field it is often vigorously rejected by the public as meaningless and only after a time does it gain acceptance. Music, especially, suffers from this but all art and even science experiences these problems.

The third area of art is the commercial aspect and the value of a piece also can vary immensely over time and economics. It is not unusual for what any average person might consider totally outrageous becomes astoundingly valuable financially leaving many people totally puzzled as to how that value was attained.

I cannot claim that this interaction of various qualities of judgement is totally clear to me and I have my own areas which I explore which is involved with the nature of how human perception can abstract concrete patterns from those the massively random universe offers to our limited perception apparatus.
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Re: What is Art?

Post Number:#558  Postby Atreyu » November 13th, 2017, 6:32 pm

Spraticus wrote:I see some value in some aspects of some of those; the idea that desire is the root of all our problems for example, but most of it is just superstitious pre-science, and as you say, it's off topic.

The topic is "What is Art?"


Yes, but when attempting to define "art" the first thing I think of is these two basic categories of "subjective" and "objective" art, perhaps just because I'm aware of this concept and it seems to be important to the question at hand.

Sometimes, one cannot understand what something is if one is only acquainted with its imitation. And imo, most of what is ordinarily known about "art" is simply what is known about what I might call "imitative art". "Real" or "objective" art is not ordinarily known or even defined, and yet this kind of art is far more important and consequential than "subjective" art, i.e. that which people ordinarily call "art"....
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Re: What is Art?

Post Number:#559  Postby Spraticus » November 14th, 2017, 3:55 pm

You're repeating yourself. It was mystical waffle the first time you said it and it still is. It's a common problem with mystics that they see themselves as having privileged access to hidden knowledge but the reality is that this "knowledge" isn't hidden, it's just ignored because it isn't based on anything but internal fantasy.

-- Updated November 14th, 2017, 3:06 pm to add the following --

There seems to me three basic important areas in the art field. The view of the artist ideally should be that of an explorer involved with the technical aspects of the manipulations of materials to communicate how patterns can communicate ideas and emotions and even philosophies of the various aspects of being alive. Very good art does this well to a large sector of people and this is very satisfying to an artist. A good deal of art can become a formula which extends a particular formality which, nevertheless, retains enough originality to remain novel and good but much can be mere imitation and of small value.

A second area is that of the viewer and viewers vary considerably so that when something differs considerably from previous efforts in the field it is often vigorously rejected by the public as meaningless and only after a time does it gain acceptance. Music, especially, suffers from this but all art and even science experiences these problem.

I would generally agree with most of this. My only quibble is one I've raised previously; that in realty people are often not really understanding the artist's intentions. This applies to classical as well as modern art.

-- Updated November 14th, 2017, 3:06 pm to add the following --

There seems to me three basic important areas in the art field. The view of the artist ideally should be that of an explorer involved with the technical aspects of the manipulations of materials to communicate how patterns can communicate ideas and emotions and even philosophies of the various aspects of being alive. Very good art does this well to a large sector of people and this is very satisfying to an artist. A good deal of art can become a formula which extends a particular formality which, nevertheless, retains enough originality to remain novel and good but much can be mere imitation and of small value.

A second area is that of the viewer and viewers vary considerably so that when something differs considerably from previous efforts in the field it is often vigorously rejected by the public as meaningless and only after a time does it gain acceptance. Music, especially, suffers from this but all art and even science experiences these problem.

I would generally agree with most of this. My only quibble is one I've raised previously; that in realty people are often not really understanding the artist's intentions. This applies to classical as well as modern art.
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Re: What is Art?

Post Number:#560  Postby Atreyu » November 14th, 2017, 7:19 pm

Spraticus wrote:You're repeating yourself. It was mystical waffle the first time you said it and it still is. It's a common problem with mystics that they see themselves as having privileged access to hidden knowledge but the reality is that this "knowledge" isn't hidden, it's just ignored because it isn't based on anything but internal fantasy.


"Internal fantasies" are not knowledge. If you want to deny that there is, or even could be, any real knowledge in works of art, fine. But I know there can be, and such works of art have indeed existed throughout history.

And I do not consider it a "privilege" to have access to hidden knowledge. More like a "burden" than anything else. Or perhaps an "obligation".

And the knowledge is called "hidden" not because it actually is hidden. Nobody is trying to prevent anyone from accessing it. It's generally "hidden" simply because the vast majority of people are not prepared to digest any of it. It is "hidden" due to the very nature of both the knowledge itself and of mankind in general.
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Re: What is Art?

Post Number:#561  Postby Jan Sand » November 15th, 2017, 3:12 am

All forms of communication depend upon both the abilities of the communicator and the communicatee. As an artist I have many times started on a project with a specific concept and discovered, in the process of rendering it that the execution of exploring the materials actually demonstrated that the patterns of thought and the physical patterns I was producing in themselves spoke to me to change the original concept. This dynamic is what makes art so fundamental in creating a project. Thinking in patterns provides the patterns themselves a voice in the creation. An artist speaks to his work and the work speaks back. And this occurs also with the finished work and a viewer. An ancient Greek work of art has an entirely different message to an ancient Greek viewer than to a person today viewing the work. And this phenomenon applies to all forms of communication which is a coded message and the process of decoding varies with each viewer.
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Re: What is Art?

Post Number:#562  Postby Namelesss » November 16th, 2017, 9:30 pm

Scott wrote:What is Art?

Like 'music', 'art' is whatever you think it is, and more!
That is the Universal definition!
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Re: What is Art?

Post Number:#563  Postby Jan Sand » November 16th, 2017, 10:44 pm

Art cannot be a duck or a sneeze divorced from human direction. It is an intentional manipulation of perceptions with an agenda to communicate. There are many ways to manipulate perceptions and many disciplines within those intents, some so vague as to prompt negative responses.
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Re: What is Art?

Post Number:#564  Postby Philalethes » November 18th, 2017, 1:31 pm

Art is any medium through which the innermost recesses of the human mind are examined and is therefore pleasurable albeit in a harmonious and internally structured manner lacking in objective concreteness, is to be experienced silently, that is to say, without analysis so as to allow the inexplicable to explain itself.
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Re: What is Art?

Post Number:#565  Postby Namelesss » November 18th, 2017, 9:05 pm

Jan Sand wrote:Art cannot be a duck or a sneeze divorced from human direction. It is an intentional manipulation of perceptions with an agenda to communicate. There are many ways to manipulate perceptions and many disciplines within those intents, some so vague as to prompt negative responses.

The problem with the attempt to say what art is not (or music), is always to be proven wrong!
If anyone sees something as 'art', it is.
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Re: What is Art?

Post Number:#566  Postby Jan Sand » November 19th, 2017, 1:38 am

I agree that anything can be art but "anyone sees something as 'art'" means there has been human participation in designating it as art. That participation is crucial and selects an event or object as worthy of contemplation. Without that human designation the total universe becomes interchangeable with art and the term "art" no longer is meaningful.
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Re: What is Art?

Post Number:#567  Postby Namelesss » November 19th, 2017, 5:41 am

Jan Sand wrote:I agree that anything can be art but "anyone sees something as 'art'" means there has been human participation in designating it as art.

That 'can' be true, but that is a presumption of your own.
I can look at a rock against the ground and be awestruck at the artistic juxtapositions, textures, composition... 'natural' art! Where are all these 'qualities' that I describe? In the mind of the beholder. Another mind might not see the same Perspective, the same 'juxtapositions', etc...

That participation is crucial and selects an event or object as worthy of contemplation.


The only 'crucial participation' is perception!
Perspective is unique every moment.

Without that human designation the total universe becomes interchangeable with art and the term "art" no longer is meaningful.

If all is art that any Perspective finds as art, is art, discriminating something as 'art', to the exclusion of 'other', is meaningless!

Perhaps 'art' has become an obsolete term, but, then what would they rip us off with at 'art galleries'? *__-
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Re: What is Art?

Post Number:#568  Postby Jan Sand » November 19th, 2017, 5:53 am

Since I create art I don't get ripped off by galleries. No one is forced to buy art and if the price galleries demand does not agree with the customer's valuation there is no necessity to purchase.
As you yourself indicate your own perceptions of natural beauty which make it art must exist to make it art. Without your perceptions it remains ecology.
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Re: What is Art?

Post Number:#569  Postby Namelesss » November 19th, 2017, 8:04 pm

Jan Sand wrote:As you yourself indicate your own perceptions of natural beauty which make it art must exist to make it art. Without your perceptions it remains ecology.

And... we return to my original premise; "art exists in the eye of the beholder!" *__-
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Re: What is Art?

Post Number:#570  Postby Jan Sand » November 19th, 2017, 10:23 pm

Exactly.
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