So, you are an artist... What is the difference?

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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Re: So, you are an artist... What is the difference?

Post by Aristocles » May 30th, 2016, 8:04 pm

3uGH7D4MLj wrote:
Aristocles wrote:Art is everything.
Science is everything.
Art must equal science.

This argument is what I am still seeing.
You've given in to hyperbole but kept the impression of endearingly innocent farce.

3uGH7D4MLj wrote:In my language a word can have different meanings, so if you want to assign an alternate meaning for art, I like "the highest aspirations of humankind," that's fine. But for everyday ordinary use, you can't beat "art is art."
3u: The argument I detailed in your quote above, that you declared a hyperbole, was mostly my impression of your position on art. With your descriptions in post #61 & #68 Jklint appears justifiably critical of your view suggesting it defaults to each its own. When you suggest the work of bees was seen as best of show by many, but art is the highest human aspiration, then there appears to be a need for further explanation. I am more critical of your view because of your unwillingness to associate value to art, then claim it is the highest human aspiration. Then when you state art is art, but everything being art is an endearing farce, I see poetry in your responses like that inspired by your garden, a poetry aspect you were weary with me entrapping you with previously.

You have suggested you do not want to derail this topic with silliness, yet admit you are prodding me regarding the same. I am most confused as you suggest art is your life's passion. I feel I have been sensitive to your position, albeit I struggle to see you take your position or this thread with a similar courtesy.

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Re: So, you are an artist... What is the difference?

Post by Burning ghost » May 31st, 2016, 3:16 am

Arist -

I am with you on art being on the same pole as science (if that is what you mean?).

Have you read Picture of Dorian Grey - Oscar Wilde? Not sure if I mentioned this earlier ... The opening is a short passage about what art is. It is pure genius.

Btw I also view philosophy and religion and polar opposites. One is more inclined to believe and the other to question. They require each other.
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Re: So, you are an artist... What is the difference?

Post by John Bruce Leonard » May 31st, 2016, 3:30 am

3uGH7D4MLj wrote:My face value, LCD definition solves a communication problem. One person wants to talk about art, another says, "you call that art?" or, "that's not art." That's just tiresome. My definition does not interfere with our inquiry here. In fact if we would agree to accept my simple definition we may save time.
It most certainly solves a problem, and no mean one at that, 3u. Yet I ask myself if it does not lead to other, perhaps graver, troubles.

I believe that your definition of art as art must result in the following: art is anything called “art” by anyone whatsoever. While Greta wished to give the power of determining art as art to the artists, you would give it to whomever would speak of “art” in any context and at any time whatsoever. I believe by your very logic we must also surely avoid speaking of “good art” or “bad art,” particularly as this would imply a unifying purpose behind art, by which the category of artistic things might be delimited, and certain claimants to the status of “art” rejected. If I tell you that a lump of muck is art, or the work of a serial killer or genocidal dictator, or the void of space, you are forced to accept my inclusion of these things in the category of “art,” and the most that you might say is that you do not like the “art” in question. You may, of course, also say why you do not like the "art" in question, but that “why” is rooted exclusively in your irrefrangible personality, rather than in any understanding of the nature of art, and your motives can be contested neither by reason nor by dialectic. Our discussion of art then reduces itself to the following terms: unaccountable protestations of appreciation or depreciation on the part of one person, followed by unrelated and equally unaccountable protestations of appreciation or depreciation on the part of another, all of which might be summed up as, “I like this,” followed by, “Well, I don't.”

Though I might well be mistaken about this, I therefore suspect that your simple solution of one definite communication problem perforce leads to the impoverishment, not to say paralysis, of the better part of meaningful communication regarding art.

Be this as it may, let us accept your definition provisionally, if you like, to see where it leads us. Now, in consequence of your definition of art, I think you must admit Aristocles' claim without further ado – that there may be a scientific art and an artistic science. You must admit this for the mere reason that Aristocles has called science “art.” Indeed, Aristocles' claim is much less outlandish than many others that are made of contemporary “art.” Above, and some time back, you said you did not see the point of Aristocles' claim; but I am not sure what “point” there need be, if art is art, and there are no rules to guide or to bind it.

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Re: So, you are an artist... What is the difference?

Post by Aristocles » May 31st, 2016, 4:44 am

Hereandnow wrote: But looking to science is itself a kind of parsing you want to avoid. Do what Dewey did and take the matter to the most fundamental level, which is experience. the essence of art is bound to that of science because science is essentially aesthetic; that is, a successful anticipation of an experimental set of conditions that issues from a problem solving event carries with it a consummation, a completeness such that the conclusion or solution is "wrought out" of the process. But the reason science carries this aesthetic is because it is a kind of experience, which is foundational for all , a particularly effective one that has a beginning, a middle and a completion. Consummation. or completion: this is the essence of all art.

You might call this a pragmatic form and call this an extension of formalism: all scientific method possesses the form of a well reasoned argument. Reason, Nietzsche held, is just an manifestation of our artistic nature (and does not have any privileged status beyond this. Well reasoned arguments are like well constructed bridges?).

Anyway, Dewey's complaint was like yours: We've taken art out of our lives an put it in museums and theaters. But we need to bring it back, the creative process, that is, into our general experiences. Without this, life will be sterile and without consummatory aesthetic, like working on an assembly line, which is what he likely had mind.
I have seen the seeming agreement that experience is a starting point of reference. In trying to answer JBL's reflection regarding science reducing to discovery, invention, etc. (then asking how it may relate to art), I tried to answer with what I see as a simplified view of conventional science and art, maybe more simple than discovery/invention. In so doing, my claim was science appears to be rationalization about something, and art appears to be an emotion about something. I continued with the same critique I have of the alleged naturalistic fallacy: my claim is separating reason from emotion is more academic than realistic (perhaps the effort is helpful to a point), and we lose something significant in the bigger picture when we inadvertently cut-off such a reality in the very will of our behavior.

Footnotes: I do agree and appreciate your comments BG. I have not heard of the book (you mentioned others previously), but I have now already skimmed details on wikipedia, and I am relieved to have that mild acquaintance thus far.

Without trying to get too far ahead of this thread, I do see Steve does well to artistically address the more scientific seeming aspect in a seeming sister thread on the philosophical science side (physical from non-physical distinctions) in "On the Psychological Need for Unification in Physics," the other angle we have addressed less here.

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Re: So, you are an artist... What is the difference?

Post by Burning ghost » May 31st, 2016, 5:09 am

I highly recommend googling the preface! It is brilliant.

His conclusion was that "All art is quite useless."
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Re: So, you are an artist... What is the difference?

Post by Aristocles » May 31st, 2016, 6:02 am

Burning ghost wrote:I highly recommend googling the preface! It is brilliant.

His conclusion was that "All art is quite useless."
Yes, it was interesting. I am thinking he may have furthered the dimension of creativity in being somewhat deliberately contradictory.

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Re: So, you are an artist... What is the difference?

Post by 3uGH7D4MLj » May 31st, 2016, 9:43 am

Aristocles wrote:
3uGH7D4MLj wrote: (Nested quote removed.)

You've given in to hyperbole but kept the impression of endearingly innocent farce.

3uGH7D4MLj wrote:In my language a word can have different meanings, so if you want to assign an alternate meaning for art, I like "the highest aspirations of humankind," that's fine. But for everyday ordinary use, you can't beat "art is art."
3u: The argument I detailed in your quote above, that you declared a hyperbole, was mostly my impression of your position on art. With your descriptions in post #61 & #68 Jklint appears justifiably critical of your view suggesting it defaults to each its own. When you suggest the work of bees was seen as best of show by many, but art is the highest human aspiration, then there appears to be a need for further explanation. I am more critical of your view because of your unwillingness to associate value to art, then claim it is the highest human aspiration. Then when you state art is art, but everything being art is an endearing farce, I see poetry in your responses like that inspired by your garden, a poetry aspect you were weary with me entrapping you with previously.

You have suggested you do not want to derail this topic with silliness, yet admit you are prodding me regarding the same. I am most confused as you suggest art is your life's passion. I feel I have been sensitive to your position, albeit I struggle to see you take your position or this thread with a similar courtesy.
First, this topic lives and dies on the strength of your poetry, don't think we don't appreciate it.

Whenever you say something is "everything," that's hyperbole, isn't it? and your everything = everything, art = science... farcical? quixotic? coyly unabashedly incongruous? I was only calling out your devices.

Meanwhile I didn't realize that you were talking about my stance. I do prefer the clarity of the simple definition of art, painting, sculpture, wall hangings, made by artists, sold by galleries and dealers, performance, musical pieces or performances, plays, operas, etc., art. This is what we mean when we say art -- a simple category of objects.

I set this in opposition to all the highflown and grandiose ideas about what art has to be to be called art: filtered through generations, or ennobling to humankind, elevating, beautiful, difficult, all that.

A word can have two meanings, many meanings. You can usually tell how a word is meant by how it is used. My personal second meaning for the word art is something like "the highest aspirations of humanity."

In the end a word means what the speaker intends it to mean, if there is a question one can say "what do you mean when you say art here?" The speaker is flattered that someone is paying attention and grateful for the chance to make the point clearer.
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Re: So, you are an artist... What is the difference?

Post by Aristocles » May 31st, 2016, 10:03 am

3u: Do you agree your definition of art being the highest aspiration of humanity makes some things more or less objects of art than other objects?

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Re: So, you are an artist... What is the difference?

Post by 3uGH7D4MLj » May 31st, 2016, 10:12 am

John Bruce Leonard wrote:
3uGH7D4MLj wrote:My face value, LCD definition solves a communication problem. One person wants to talk about art, another says, "you call that art?" or, "that's not art." That's just tiresome. My definition does not interfere with our inquiry here. In fact if we would agree to accept my simple definition we may save time.
It most certainly solves a problem, and no mean one at that, 3u. Yet I ask myself if it does not lead to other, perhaps graver, troubles.

I believe that your definition of art as art must result in the following: art is anything called “art” by anyone whatsoever. While Greta wished to give the power of determining art as art to the artists, you would give it to whomever would speak of “art” in any context and at any time whatsoever. I believe by your very logic we must also surely avoid speaking of “good art” or “bad art,” particularly as this would imply a unifying purpose behind art, by which the category of artistic things might be delimited, and certain claimants to the status of “art” rejected. If I tell you that a lump of muck is art, or the work of a serial killer or genocidal dictator, or the void of space, you are forced to accept my inclusion of these things in the category of “art,” and the most that you might say is that you do not like the “art” in question. You may, of course, also say why you do not like the "art" in question, but that “why” is rooted exclusively in your irrefrangible personality, rather than in any understanding of the nature of art, and your motives can be contested neither by reason nor by dialectic. Our discussion of art then reduces itself to the following terms: unaccountable protestations of appreciation or depreciation on the part of one person, followed by unrelated and equally unaccountable protestations of appreciation or depreciation on the part of another, all of which might be summed up as, “I like this,” followed by, “Well, I don't.”

Though I might well be mistaken about this, I therefore suspect that your simple solution of one definite communication problem perforce leads to the impoverishment, not to say paralysis, of the better part of meaningful communication regarding art.

Be this as it may, let us accept your definition provisionally, if you like, to see where it leads us. Now, in consequence of your definition of art, I think you must admit Aristocles' claim without further ado – that there may be a scientific art and an artistic science. You must admit this for the mere reason that Aristocles has called science “art.” Indeed, Aristocles' claim is much less outlandish than many others that are made of contemporary “art.” Above, and some time back, you said you did not see the point of Aristocles' claim; but I am not sure what “point” there need be, if art is art, and there are no rules to guide or to bind it.
Hi JBL, I hope my use of the word is cleared up by my reply to Aristocles. Good art, bad art, certainly. Art you like, art you don't like, certainly, but it's all art.

Think of the word clothing. Made by clothiers, sold in clothing stores, good, bad, indifferent, expensive, cheap, but it's all clothing. Whyever is this so hard?

I have no problem with artistic anything, or scientific anything. It is the art = science statement that is so intriguingly haywire. That's interesting, and the goodness motivation cause of this unification is very interesting to me.

-- Updated May 31st, 2016, 9:21 am to add the following --
Aristocles wrote:3u: Do you agree your definition of art being the highest aspiration of humanity makes some things more or less objects of art than other objects?
I added an alternate definition, just so I wouldn't seem so dogmatic, and confused everyone. No. It's a different use of the word. Art is art, but whatever. I'm probably in the minority here with my little definition. Simple and clear as it is, it seems to be difficult so I won't say another word.

-- Updated May 31st, 2016, 10:00 am to add the following --
John Bruce Leonard wrote:If I tell you that a lump of muck is art, or the work of a serial killer or genocidal dictator, or the void of space, you are forced to accept my inclusion of these things in the category of “art,” and the most that you might say is that you do not like the “art” in question.
I don't know why you would say that.

Saying something is art doesn't make it art. Saying that the void of space is art is just a wrong statement. The void of space satisfies none of the usual expectations of art. Not an object, not made by an artist, not displayed on a pedestal or on the wall, not sold in a gallery, not performed in a concert hall or club, why would anyone ever say that the void of space is art? A six-year old would correct you.

I don't think there is a great danger of people defining random things as art, or mastodons for that matter.
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Re: So, you are an artist... What is the difference?

Post by Burning ghost » May 31st, 2016, 12:52 pm

Artists create art by drawing our attention to something emotionally. An artist need not actually create an object only the situation toward the object.

Art is not bound by limitations anymore than science. I cannot say to someone you cannot do science/art about such and such because I dont like it ... well I can, but that wont stop them.

The method of science and the method of art do certainly have some set parameters and there are people who can be good or bad at science and/or art.

Compare the method not those judging the results or those partaking in the method. Then you see common features and distinctions.
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Re: So, you are an artist... What is the difference?

Post by YIOSTHEOY » May 31st, 2016, 3:36 pm

Aristocles wrote:3u: Do you agree your definition of art being the highest aspiration of humanity makes some things more or less objects of art than other objects?
I myself think healing the sick is the highest.

Feeding the hungry and housing the homeless would be second.

Restoring the peace would probably be third. It would be a long list of things if you were making them cardinal ... 1st, 2nd, 3rd etc.

Art is fine, but you need connoisseurs of the art before anyone can or will buy it. Maybe a commission from a public government for a public building, like in ancient Athens, or in modern Washington DC.

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Re: So, you are an artist... What is the difference?

Post by John Bruce Leonard » June 2nd, 2016, 3:44 am

3uGH7D4MLj wrote:Hi JBL, I hope my use of the word is cleared up by my reply to Aristocles. Good art, bad art, certainly. Art you like, art you don't like, certainly, but it's all art. 
Indeed it did, thank you 3u. I would be most curious to know what your standards are for differentiating good art from bad art.
3uGH7D4MLj wrote:Think of the word clothing. Made by clothiers, sold in clothing stores, good, bad, indifferent, expensive, cheap, but it's all clothing. Whyever is this so hard?
Your definition is not at all hard, 3u; on the contrary, it is of enticing simplicity. I recognize its charms, but I resist them, because I think that art is in a state of dissolution precisely due precisely to the sentiment that “with art, no rules is the rule.” If we are to take that statement seriously, I do not know how we can suppose any limits to “art” whatsoever. I think that you yourself recognize certain rules, if only very generic ones, in the following:
3uGH7D4MLj wrote:Saying something is art doesn't make it art. Saying that the void of space is art is just a wrong statement. The void of space satisfies none of the usual expectations of art. Not an object, not made by an artist, not displayed on a pedestal or on the wall, not sold in a gallery, not performed in a concert hall or club, why would anyone ever say that the void of space is art? A six-year old would correct you. 
My question is, can we count even on these very general rules? You seem to believe that there are natural boundaries in art, as in clothing, which will prohibit any sound-minded observer from making categorical mistakes. If, for example, I point to a chair and call it clothing, you will know immediately that I am either delusional or jesting or foolish. The same should hold for art, so why bother passing long hours in futile debate over a mere definition, for which we will sooner later find an exception anyway? In other words, you are proposing, if I am not mistaken, that we cannot define art, but that we know it when we see it.

The problem, 3u, is that what a child might tell me today about art, is radically different than what a child might have told me, say, one-hundred years ago, when any child would certainly have corrected me if I had attempted to call a diamond-studded platinum skull a work of art, or a canvas covered in nothing but a grid. Our idea of what falls under the category “art” has undergone a shocking enlargement in the past hundred years, no doubt in large part to the transgressive nature of modern art, which you have encapsulated so perfectly with your comment that the only rule in art, is that there are no rules. But then, we cannot draw firm limits to what art will be in one hundred years, and it might well be that what today would never be considered art (say, mastadons or murder or empty space), might be considered art by future generations.

You say:
3uGH7D4MLj wrote:I don't think there is a great danger of people defining random things as art, or mastodons for that matter.
I would claim on the contrary that there is precisely this danger, of randomness in art. I think investigation into the justification given for the building of certain modern buildings (consider for example the Beijing National Stadium) will support me in this. Tell me what is not random about a blank canvas? Or one smeared with feces? Or a “musical concert” of four minutes thirty three seconds in which no instrument is allowed to play? Or a shark in an aquarium filled with formaldehyde? You yourself have seen an exhibit of the “art” produced by bees. We have come to a point, 3u, in which we cannot simply let the matter rest at the common sense of six-year-olds, and unless we are willing to say with all due abandonment that anything goes in art, we must begin to attempt to understand if there are any natural limits to the artistic.

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Re: So, you are an artist... What is the difference?

Post by Aristocles » June 2nd, 2016, 4:44 am

As I see it, we should have some collaborative idea of art without taking away it's somewhat individual appeal. We may want a simple definition that does not take away from the complexity. We may agree an absolute sort of definition is not the aim of this thread. We may want to agree to something tentatively, to encourage more philosophical poster view's...

If you use "feeling" for "art" in 3u's definitions, can you make a definition that more consistently responds to JBL's critique?

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Re: So, you are an artist... What is the difference?

Post by 3uGH7D4MLj » June 2nd, 2016, 9:15 am

John Bruce Leonard wrote:
3uGH7D4MLj wrote:Hi JBL, I hope my use of the word is cleared up by my reply to Aristocles. Good art, bad art, certainly. Art you like, art you don't like, certainly, but it's all art. 
Indeed it did, thank you 3u. I would be most curious to know what your standards are for differentiating good art from bad art.
It's what you would expect, I consider bad art to be art which is pandering, easily accessible for commercial reasons, tourist trap art, derivative art which follows too closely another artist's work. It's a subjective judgment, these artists may improve or change or they have different work which I would consider "good". (I'm talking about objects which fulfill the usual expectations of art, in a gallery or museum, made by artists, etc.)

-- Updated June 2nd, 2016, 8:23 am to add the following --
John Bruce Leonard wrote:
3uGH7D4MLj wrote:Think of the word clothing. Made by clothiers, sold in clothing stores, good, bad, indifferent, expensive, cheap, but it's all clothing. Whyever is this so hard?
Your definition is not at all hard, 3u; on the contrary, it is of enticing simplicity. I recognize its charms, but I resist them, because I think that art is in a state of dissolution precisely due precisely to the sentiment that “with art, no rules is the rule.” If we are to take that statement seriously, I do not know how we can suppose any limits to “art” whatsoever. I think that you yourself recognize certain rules, if only very generic ones, in the following:
3uGH7D4MLj wrote:Saying something is art doesn't make it art. Saying that the void of space is art is just a wrong statement. The void of space satisfies none of the usual expectations of art. Not an object, not made by an artist, not displayed on a pedestal or on the wall, not sold in a gallery, not performed in a concert hall or club, why would anyone ever say that the void of space is art? A six-year old would correct you. 
My question is, can we count even on these very general rules? You seem to believe that there are natural boundaries in art, as in clothing, which will prohibit any sound-minded observer from making categorical mistakes. If, for example, I point to a chair and call it clothing, you will know immediately that I am either delusional or jesting or foolish. The same should hold for art, so why bother passing long hours in futile debate over a mere definition, for which we will sooner later find an exception anyway? In other words, you are proposing, if I am not mistaken, that we cannot define art, but that we know it when we see it.
Yes, the generic cues to what is art. That's plenty.

I like your analysis except that I think the generic cues do define art. Art is a general term, the usual definition is well known, and it suffices.
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Re: So, you are an artist... What is the difference?

Post by John Bruce Leonard » June 2nd, 2016, 9:27 am

Aristocles wrote:As I see it, we should have some collaborative idea of art without taking away it's somewhat individual appeal. We may want a simple definition that does not take away from the complexity. We may agree an absolute sort of definition is not the aim of this thread. We may want to agree to something tentatively, to encourage more philosophical poster view's...

If you use "feeling" for "art" in 3u's definitions, can you make a definition that more consistently responds to JBL's critique?
I retract my critique, Aristocles; I fear it is in danger of diverting our focus away from your original intentions with this thread. Let us accept 3u's definition of art, which after all possesses certain clear advantages, and proceed on that basis.

Where shall we go from here?

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