good art and bad 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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Greta
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Re: good art and bad art?

Post by Greta » October 10th, 2018, 3:21 pm

Hereandnow wrote:
October 10th, 2018, 9:21 am
Steve3007
but perhaps their honesty about the natural human fascination with the disturbing tends to make them more psychologically stable than average.
Or perhaps they harbor a secret life they will not reveal to the public. Appearances can be deceiving. For many of those we pass on the street, the thin veneer of civilization is a struggle to maintain, though one would never know it in conversation; of course, they dare not show it. Virginia Woolf and other presented the idea that the real human drama is within, where passions and needs and wrath and aggression are managed. And on the outside it is just a show, an abstraction of what we really are.
I have to admit that my impressions are the same as Steve's. Most "metal men" I've met have been pleasingly mellow, which I attributed to the use of metal as catharsis for the demons that, as you and David Lynch note, so often lie beneath our civilised veneers.

Really, most of us are pretty nice, obviously not perfect, but okay and doing our best. All I see are little apes forced into shorts and shorts skirts, shoved off to learn about the world with other little apes and their skinny legs, knobbly knees and the last of their milk teeth falling out. From there, genetics and environment continue to interact, dynamically resulting in the growing hominids believing that they are making decisions for themselves rather than mostly just dealing with exigencies.

We take an awful lot for granted because we must. For most of our working lives society demands too much of us for us to stop and smell the roses. Art can remind us to stop and notice actual reality. It can also add another distraction, and that too has its place.

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Re: good art and bad art?

Post by Hereandnow » October 10th, 2018, 4:22 pm

Greta:
All I see are little apes forced into shorts and shorts skirts, shoved off to learn about the world with other little apes and their skinny legs, knobbly knees and the last of their milk teeth falling out. From there, genetics and environment continue to interact, dynamically resulting in the growing hominids believing that they are making decisions for themselves rather than mostly just dealing with exigencies.
Ha! Yes, as Douglas Adams said, people are mostly harmless, as am I. As long as one stay's among the middle class, these guys mostly show up. But even in these mild personal worlds, there are worries, anxieties, neuroses, and rage, terrible envy, and so on. I think it gets pretty intense for a lot pf people. You make it sound tame, but then: 44,965 suicides in the Us in 2016, and these are the ones who actually did it. 47 million Americans depend on food banks, the internet tells me. And where there is poverty there is struggle and hardship and endless arguments and domestic violence. And then there is third world poverty, which is off the map.

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Re: good art and bad art?

Post by Greta » October 10th, 2018, 6:59 pm

Hereandnow wrote:
October 10th, 2018, 4:22 pm
Greta:
All I see are little apes forced into shorts and shorts skirts, shoved off to learn about the world with other little apes and their skinny legs, knobbly knees and the last of their milk teeth falling out. From there, genetics and environment continue to interact, dynamically resulting in the growing hominids believing that they are making decisions for themselves rather than mostly just dealing with exigencies.
Ha! Yes, as Douglas Adams said, people are mostly harmless, as am I. As long as one stay's among the middle class, these guys mostly show up. But even in these mild personal worlds, there are worries, anxieties, neuroses, and rage, terrible envy, and so on. I think it gets pretty intense for a lot pf people. You make it sound tame, but then: 44,965 suicides in the Us in 2016, and these are the ones who actually did it. 47 million Americans depend on food banks, the internet tells me. And where there is poverty there is struggle and hardship and endless arguments and domestic violence. And then there is third world poverty, which is off the map.
A while ago I tried to take stock of all the suffering in the world - all that is, has been and will be. Not just humans but other species living wild too. All of it. The overall suffering and losses are as beyond human comprehension as the scale of the Earth and Sun.

The obvious thought is that life and existence are mostly wretched. Yet it's also obvious that somehow all this wretchedness has brought us from mindless microbes to civilisation and space exploration. I like to think that all this is merely a biological phase - and painful youthful stage - before life evolves into more peaceful and less fevered entities. Given the potentials of galaxies and star formation, this appears to be a young universe so what we see today may be a prelude to "the main game", just as grubs precede the adult lives of moths and beetles.

If this is not the case, then existence is really a pretty sad business for anyone who cares about others, which would make psychopathy the highest form of mind, being the only one to avoid worrying about all that suffering. Given that obvious absurdity, I figure that all of the biospherical suffering must relate to growing pains.

Oops! This is about art. Good and bad art. I lean towards John Lennon's attitude here: whatever gets you through the night is alright.

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Re: good art and bad art?

Post by Steve3007 » October 11th, 2018, 5:19 am

Greta wrote:I have to admit that my impressions are the same as Steve's. Most "metal men" I've met have been pleasingly mellow, which I attributed to the use of metal as catharsis for the demons that, as you and David Lynch note, so often lie beneath our civilised veneers.
Yes, I suspect that one of the major causes of lack of inner mellowness (for want of a better phrase) is dissonance. By which I mean a discrepancy between our inner instincts/feelings and the person we like to project to the outside world. Too great a discrepancy between the two can lead to self-loathing and excessive cynicism. Or it can lead to over-compensation in the form of extreme moralising towards others. This, for example, is what leads me to think that the enforced celibacy of priests is such a bad idea.

It also relates to the other topic about the Kavanaugh confirmation. It's a pity that both Kavanaugh and Ford, for the sake of the hearing, are forced to talk in black-and-white terms. Kavanaugh, for example, has to claim that he didn't drink as a youth. It's a pity he can't just say "As a youth I drank too much and occasionally did some stupid things like showing my ass to people in pub beer gardens." If he did that, but hadn't actually sexually assaulted anyone, then to me, on that basis at least, he'd just be a well-adjusted human being who, like most of us, did some stuff as a teenager that now makes him cringe.

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Re: good art and bad art?

Post by ThomasHobbes » October 11th, 2018, 5:55 am

A real artist has dirt under their nails and paint on their shirt.

A modern artist such as Damien Hurst sits and a desk and orders people to do art.
He gets a stupid idea, and then the real work happens.

When they tell you that you are confusing art with craft, tell them they are talking ********.

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Re: good art and bad art?

Post by ThomasHobbes » October 11th, 2018, 5:56 am

That is " B O L L O C K S" BTW

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Re: good art and bad art?

Post by Steve3007 » October 11th, 2018, 6:09 am

A modern artist such as Damien Hurst sits and a desk and orders people to do art.
He gets a stupid idea, and then the real work happens.
But I'm told that he does have a healthy sense of the ridiculousness of his position. I know someone who installs expensive fish tanks for rich people for a living. He once did some work for Hurst, because Hurst did all that business with sharks in tanks and stuff. When it turned out that the tank-work Hurst wanted him to do was impractical, Hurst apparently just laughed, shrugged and said something like "yes, it is all pretty stupid isn't it?"

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Re: good art and bad art?

Post by Steve3007 » October 11th, 2018, 7:41 am

Greta wrote:...If this is not the case, then existence is really a pretty sad business for anyone who cares about others, which would make psychopathy the highest form of mind, being the only one to avoid worrying about all that suffering. Given that obvious absurdity, I figure that all of the biospherical suffering must relate to growing pains.
I don't think it would make psychopathy the highest form of mind. I think it might make acute recognition of the tragedy of the human condition - the bittersweetness of life - the highest form of mind. i.e. the subject of a lot of art and literature.

...life is but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage...

...for the world's more full of weeping than you can understand...

and such and such.

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Re: good art and bad art?

Post by Steve3007 » October 11th, 2018, 7:46 am

If to be a psychopath means to have no appreciation whatever of the near-infinite joy divided by the near-infinite suffering of life, then to be a psychopath is not to be alive.

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Re: good art and bad art?

Post by Hereandnow » October 11th, 2018, 10:53 am

Psychopaths are uninteresting, but to push existential boundaries to their limits and invite the kind of craziness this can bring about is very interesting, maybe it is where true enlightenment. I am convinced that what holds this world together as a world is the integrity of one's thoughts in everyday living such that trees are trees and people are just people and behind the apprehension of a person there is nothing more than what one's assimilating and classifying concepts allow. This is dogma. It's letting your parents and friends of long ago who modeled language and events and their interpretations tell what the world is. Learning the ropes of a language and culture is not any different from learning a religion. Only through inquiry can one set this aside and see things as they are, as Husserl put it.
Art, one could argue, is the best when it undoes basic assumptions in life. This is why the ugly, the disturbing, and all of the themes and presentations of modern art can be deemed among the greatest art of all!

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Re: good art and bad art?

Post by Greta » October 11th, 2018, 4:21 pm

Steve3007 wrote:
October 11th, 2018, 7:41 am
Greta wrote:...If this is not the case, then existence is really a pretty sad business for anyone who cares about others, which would make psychopathy the highest form of mind, being the only one to avoid worrying about all that suffering. Given that obvious absurdity, I figure that all of the biospherical suffering must relate to growing pains.
I don't think it would make psychopathy the highest form of mind. I think it might make acute recognition of the tragedy of the human condition - the bittersweetness of life - the highest form of mind. i.e. the subject of a lot of art and literature.

...life is but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage...

...for the world's more full of weeping than you can understand...

and such and such.
You are speaking theoretically. In reality psychopaths have inherited the world from moral humans. They rule it, almost certainly being in charge of most nations and major companies, and not just at the very top but also much of the leadership team will be psychopathically inclined.

The question is why morally upright people undervalue their morality and thus unconsciously believe psychopaths to be superior beings. We might deny this but we keep choosing them for leadership positions. I see this as coming down to the human dream of control, the ideal of maintaining cool constant control while under duress. To not care so much that it inhibits our effectiveness.

You see this wish for mild psychopathy in movie and literature all the time, where so many of the heroes are basically psychopaths. They kill with ease, often with a sense of sporting enjoyment, and without hesitation. They mourn their dead for about ten seconds, if at all, and then simply get on with it. They are immune from PTSD, recovering from all manner of horrors almost immediately, and they speak with confidence and in all situations, and so on. They are free of fear, certainly free of crippling fear.

There is another type of entity that will perhaps be capable of these feats of calmness in the next century, and without the toxic baggage. Looking at the shape of things, it would seem that humans ultimately aspire to be high quality machines. A lot of music today is not only machinelike, but ostentatiously so. Geek chic etc.

If we remove our "goggles of judgement" and don our "David Attenborough lenses" then we observe that psychopaths are just predators and parasites. We live in a competitive concrete jungle and the apex predators naturally found their niches. People looking up to their psychopath leaders are largely akin to smaller African species fearing and respecting lions.

Oops, digressed again ... yet the psychopathic administrator wilfully declines to delete her own extraneous content, openly contravening the forum policies she was entrusted to enact. Being good is harder than it looks :)

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Re: good art and bad art?

Post by Greta » October 11th, 2018, 5:59 pm

Hereandnow wrote:
October 11th, 2018, 10:53 am
It's letting your parents and friends of long ago who modeled language and events and their interpretations tell what the world is. Learning the ropes of a language and culture is not any different from learning a religion. Only through inquiry can one set this aside and see things as they are, as Husserl put it.
Art, one could argue, is the best when it undoes basic assumptions in life. This is why the ugly, the disturbing, and all of the themes and presentations of modern art can be deemed among the greatest art of all!
I would say that the vast majority of who we are is just a reflection of our ancestors, culture, species and we'll probably find our characteristics are typical of the planet and part of the galaxy we live in. If any of us were raised by wolves, without the influence of human culture, we would not even remotely like the people we are today. Quite possibly not even physically recognisable, perhaps only by smell. Individuality is the visible tip of the iceberg, and that's just a collection of relational traits.

Art that challenges is currently out of fashion. Life is currently challenging enough so people are seeking art as an escape and salve. In the good times people focus more on growth-related themes - because they can.

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Re: good art and bad art?

Post by HelioCentric » October 11th, 2018, 6:43 pm

LuckyR wrote:
October 4th, 2018, 2:39 am
HelioCentric wrote:
October 3rd, 2018, 7:28 pm
I don't believe art is a "purely personal" matter, nor do I believe the canard that "art is all subjective"; the same applies to the claim that "art is wholly objective." Inter-subjectivity may be a more accurate word for what occurs when several people experience a work of art, e.g. when an audience watches a Michael Bay film, the movie itself does not change depending on the people watching it, but depending on who each individual in the audience is, all sorts of receptions happen (more or less) independently from each other. A college student in their early twenties will not have the same reaction to Transformers that a seventy-nine year old senior citizen will have. However, just because different people bring different experiences to the same thing, that doesn't mean the aforementioned "thing" (the work of art in question) changes, or can't be held to some kind of objective standard.

What that "standard" is depends on the work of art, and many contexts must be brought to bear in order to come to some conclusion, really. Standards, yes, and those must be hashed out case by case. Rules, not so much, but they can work as a model. There isn't a catch-all answer, here, since any rule you propose in the arts might be easily broken in some radical, innovative way by an artist. So how do you divide good art from bad art? By experiencing the art, making your analyses, and putting them forth in public to be argued for/against, dismissed, archived, etc.
Your second paragraph does a pretty good job of countering your first.
That might be true! How, specifically, though?

I only meant that standards exist, but by and large they depend on the work of art - generally speaking. This is not "pure" subjectivity, or "pure" objectivity, but a healthy mix.

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Re: good art and bad art?

Post by ThomasHobbes » October 12th, 2018, 2:26 am

From beetles to Beatles; **** happens then you die.
Suffering is the fabric of the system of life; unavoidable.

Still - I ran out of petrol in the wet and dark last evening. Stopped in a narrow medieval street the man behind that I was blocking, rather than get angry that I was in his way offered to drive me to the petrol station, where a grumpy over worked Asian attendant sold me a can of petrol.

Luckily I did not get wet there being a hiatus in the rain.
The man that gave me a lift did not have to. Maybe there is hope?

On the other had three thugs in a 4X4 violently took a dog from a man in a layby on Falmer road , threatening to beat him up. Both the dog and the man were horrified and scared.

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Re: good art and bad art?

Post by cavacava » October 12th, 2018, 12:25 pm

"If artistic tasting is a purely personal matter, how do we divide art into bad art and good art?"


I think art, in general is a discipline, a historical movement of discovery and innovation in the sphere of aesthetics with advances, declines and dead ends. At the same time within this sphere there are people with different senses of taste who are drawn to one artist over another. Some artists seem to be visionary, I also think some tasters (personal & public) are just as visionary (Danto on seeing his first Warhol).

The duality of good/bad falls apart in art, at least for me. There are shades, variants, based on many factors such as culture & language with effects such as kitsch or camp. Many people like The Painter of Light, other's find his works, trite Kitsch. Many of the works of Norman Rockwell are also considered Kitsch and yet I love his masterly ability to present blatant sentimentality. So while it could be argued that Kitsch does nothing to move art along, I think it can raise itself beyond its own limits. The film Casablanca, according to Umberto Eco, is an orgy of cliche, but somehow it pushes past its own limitations into a remarkable work of art.

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