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.
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3uGH7D4MLj
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Re: What is Art?

Post by 3uGH7D4MLj » April 16th, 2018, 11:38 pm

Windrammer wrote:
April 14th, 2018, 11:57 pm
Jan Sand wrote:
December 12th, 2017, 12:00 am
To generalize, it's quite obvious that the highest aspiration of humanity today is money. To consider the value of a piece of art it is most indicated in its sale price,whatever its other qualities may be. Quite a few people find money of huge aesthetic value, above love, beauty, compassion, and even life itself. And that latter seems to be destroying the planet.
"Highest" does not mean "largest" or "most predominant", if that were the case the highest aspiration of humanity is sex. For the less cynical - emotional connection.

But "highest" in this sense ought to mean something closer to "transcendent". Art, if we're to call it creativity for creativity's sake, is an endeavor of just that - creation. The attempt to defy God and nature and create something entirely new. Which we will never truly be able to do, or we will have captured divinity for ourselves.
Quite a few people find money of huge aesthetic value
Frankly, I don't think that's in line with the definition of "aesthetic"
That last part, I agree with windrammer.

When I put that little tag on the end of my post about "highest aspirations," I didn't expect someone to come up with "money grubbing." But I think you're right, Jan Sand. It's not what I meant, but, yeah.

Anyway what about the rest of the post? That art is just art and there's no mystery or value judgement?
There's no hard problem in art, it's just a category of objects. Art is art.

I never did think much of the words create, creativity, sort of gives me the creeps. You're right, God creates.
fair to say

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Re: What is Art?

Post by Jan Sand » April 17th, 2018, 12:30 am

I cannot demean anything claimed as art since, as someone who might be classified as a professional artist, I have seen that more as a point of view rather than as an inherent quality of any object. I have seen visitors to a museum glance questionally at a ventilator plate on a wall displaying examples on a wall of the latest art. Art seems to become examination of anything in its relationship to ethical standards and any stroll along the average city street with an appreciative eye and a background in aesthetics can find multitudes of objects to judge appreciatively. Placing them in a museum for appreciation as art is not unusual but it can, much of the time, seem a waste of effort and is often a bore. This is not to indicate that these offerings have no aesthetic qualities but rather that museums for them becomes unnecessary. Beyond this, objects created by artists specifically designed and executed with great skill partaking of the inherent qualities of ordinary objects but capitalizing on and emphasizing normally ignored aspects can be startling and instructive and delightful and well worth observing. The price value of any art object is irrelevant as those are determined by market values which have little to do with intrinsic qualities.

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3uGH7D4MLj
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Re: What is Art?

Post by 3uGH7D4MLj » April 25th, 2018, 2:39 pm

Jan Sand wrote:
April 17th, 2018, 12:30 am
I cannot demean anything claimed as art since, as someone who might be classified as a professional artist, I have seen that more as a point of view rather than as an inherent quality of any object. I have seen visitors to a museum glance questionally at a ventilator plate on a wall displaying examples on a wall of the latest art.
No intention to demean anything except the tiresome "what is art" question.

When I say "Art is just art and there's no mystery or value judgement. There's no hard problem in art, it's simply a category of objects. Art is art."

I mean no disrespect. I only present a straightforward definition of art that allows a discussion of art to go forward without the needless definition problem.
fair to say

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Re: What is Art?

Post by Greta » April 25th, 2018, 6:28 pm

I'll side with Jan, here. In more experimental moments I've produced music that some people would claim is "not music", yet if a few semitones were shifted here and there at least some would change their minds.

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Re: What is Art?

Post by 3uGH7D4MLj » April 26th, 2018, 11:32 pm

We in the northern hemisphere are having spring, and it's the season to hear Stravinski's "Rite." It fits nicely into the category of "music that some people would claim is "not music."" Well, at least when it was premiered.

There are the people who say that this or that isn't proper music or art. They often don't know or care about art. Sometimes though... for instance Duchamp's Nude Descending a Staircase was derided as "An Explosion in a Shingle Factory" by a New York Times art critic.
fair to say

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Re: What is Art?

Post by Jan Sand » April 26th, 2018, 11:50 pm

The Duchamp painting was a depiction of someone descending a stairway over a period of time - in effect a depiction in four dimensions, not the usual three.

Basically this discussion is about the meaning of the word "art" and since it is used in many different ways, some which conflict with each other, there is bound to be a good deal of confusion. Dictionaries do not decide what a word means, they research as to how a word is used and that changes over time and culture and whomever decides how it should be used, Obviously the word is used differently depending upon several basic factors.

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Re: What is Art?

Post by 3uGH7D4MLj » April 28th, 2018, 11:54 am

Jan Sand wrote:
April 26th, 2018, 11:50 pm
Basically this discussion is about the meaning of the word "art" and since it is used in many different ways, some which conflict with each other, there is bound to be a good deal of confusion. Dictionaries do not decide what a word means, they research as to how a word is used and that changes over time and culture and whomever decides how it should be used, Obviously the word is used differently depending upon several basic factors.
Maybe that's why this thread is 40 pages? That people are using the word art in different ways?

Seems to me that commenters are talking about what artists do, what gets shown in art galleries and museums. Also music and theater, dance, whatever, but mostly the gallery stuff, paintings and sculpture, no?

I agree that a word can have many meanings, but I wonder if that's the issue here.
fair to say

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Re: What is Art?

Post by Jan Sand » April 28th, 2018, 2:21 pm

Although intrinsically, aside from its commercial aspects, art has many of the same interests as science in its fascination with the relationships of patterns of all kinds and how they can be manipulated, it differs distinctly from science in its involvement with culture and how that portrays emotions which can evoke emotional responses to understand personal and social relationships. No doubt there are emotional evocations that are deeply embedded in humans of all eras and and most cultures but there are myriads of emotional patterns tied so distinctly to times and places and cultures that the same object of art has quite different effects on people as time and culture varies, Although originality and novelty has high value in both science and art and cliche is disdained in general in art, at times it evolves into a style which makes it contemporary.

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Re: What is Art?

Post by 3uGH7D4MLj » May 1st, 2018, 1:02 pm

Parsing your message, I get:

Art is like science, and also not like science for various reasons.
Art has different functions/effects depending on the era and the location, culture.

ok.
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Number2018
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Re: What is Art?

Post by Number2018 » August 17th, 2018, 8:59 pm

It is impossible to define art, because this word signifies absolutely different expressive practices: are Michelangelo's David
and Duchamp's Fountain belong to the same "art"?

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Re: What is Art?

Post by Jan Sand » August 18th, 2018, 12:05 am

Art is a mode of communication.

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Re: What is Art?

Post by Hereandnow » August 18th, 2018, 1:31 am

Number2018
It is impossible to define art, because this word signifies absolutely different expressive practices: are Michelangelo's David
and Duchamp's Fountain belong to the same "art"?
Beg to differ: Like all concepts, even the trivial ones, art is a definition in progress. I think the trouble art is having is that as a category, it has become ambiguous, and it doesn't know how to deal with this yet. Call it a paradigm shift, ongoing and waiting for "normal"art to establish itself. The hard sciences go through this, so does art as a concept.
The question that is, if you ask me, what will bring closure to this is, when a person interprets an object AS art, what does she need to do perspectivally? That is, what is the artistic perspective all about? Go about this in a negative fashion: looking at an object as art is not the same as looking at it as science, like physics, but then, art certainly can bring a perspective of physics into its purview. we know this because anything can be so included. Art, it would seem, has no limit in terms of content. So what is it that is essential to the perspective of art such that anything can be transfigured into it?
This is what art is trying to figure out. I say it is the object delivered from it pragmatic value, from its use. All that remains is form. I'm a formalist: significant form is what defines art. Aesthetic rapture, a Clive Bell term, is harder to endorse.

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Re: What is Art?

Post by Jan Sand » August 18th, 2018, 1:55 am

Significant form is an interesting term. It can be structural, relative, emotional, and probably many other signifiers that have artistic or exploratory or scientific or emotional qualities. What makes it art is which areas it signifies.

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Re: What is Art?

Post by Hereandnow » August 18th, 2018, 11:07 am

I like the idea, too. But it gets weird when talking about expression as form, or emotions being elicited by certain forms as those that are distinctively artistic. And what about conceptual art? Concepts, one could argue (though I have argued elsewhere the opposite. Oh well) are inherently art laden, I would add. If this is so, then everything is art, for all things are, under observation, held in implicit judgment (of the thing being the thing it is, among other things).

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Re: What is Art?

Post by Jan Sand » August 18th, 2018, 11:33 am

All things are not under observation. Art is when someone points to something to convey an idea that fits into an art category, When an artist consciously creates something as art that makes it a communicable element. Andy Warhol made an ordinary soap box art when he indicated it should be worth considering for its physical characteristics but also as a product of our culture and what it might convey under that consideration. A sunset is not beautiful until someone perceives its delightful characteristics and how it might be a symbol of an ending of a day. To someone blind, a sunset cannot be beautiful. But, from the point of an observer in space, the sun doesn't set. One must be on the spinning planet to see a sunset. It is as much a product of the observer as it is of the sun and the spinning planet and that can make it considered as a kind of art. If it is observed by an Earth bound astronomer who views it scientifically it might be acceptable to not consider it as art.

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