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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3uGH7D4MLj
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Re: So, you are an artist... What is the difference?

Post by 3uGH7D4MLj » June 2nd, 2016, 9:29 am

John Bruce Leonard wrote: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.
Yes, art was quite different a hundred years ago, and will be different a hundred years from now. Why is this a problem?

-- Updated June 2nd, 2016, 8:49 am to add the following --
John Bruce Leonard wrote:
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.
Are there natural limits? I hope not.

Just because of a few well publicized (shocking) outliers lke the stuffed shark, don't think that the world is going to hell in a handbasket. There are millions of artists working full heartedly making art the best they can. Don't fence them in.

Some kind of limiting definition would be harmful to the art enterprise. I'm more than ever convinced of this after our discussion. And for the purposes of our conversation here, we do not need to formulate some kind of thoroughgoing and tedious definition before we can go further.

If you find no poetry in John Cage's 4'33", that's fine, but many people do. Are you going to bar that piece from the canon of Western Art?
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Re: So, you are an artist... What is the difference?

Post by Aristocles » June 3rd, 2016, 7:59 am

This was good transition into science. If we agree art has changed dramatically overtime, should be unbound in its nature, then how does art then differ from science? I quoted Hereandnow again from this thread as he finds beauty and creativity in science. He also states art should come out of the museum's, etc., places for which art is now typically "fenced."

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

Post by Mark1955 » June 3rd, 2016, 2:47 pm

Boring old me, if in doubt read the dictionary. Art “the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination”. I think the key word here is creative; of course that makes design engineers artists but I’ll look at a picture of the Humber bridge in preference to a tin of human s**t any day.
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Re: So, you are an artist... What is the difference?

Post by John Bruce Leonard » June 4th, 2016, 4:40 am

"Creativity" has been ascribed several times to both art and to science. Thus it would seem that we are generally disposed to grant this feature in common to both of these human pursuits. Perhaps we might ask what we mean when we speak of creativity?

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

Post by Aristocles » June 4th, 2016, 6:07 am

Creativity appears to be the expansion of our capacities. Creativity seems to pull at our senses through the imagination of discovery and invention. We may be quicker to say it is art when it quantifies an expression appearing uniquely qualitative, when we take something seemingly subjective and pull emotion from another. We may be quicker to say it is science when a qualitative aspect appears uniquely quantified, when we declare something more seemingly objective, something appearing from outside of one's subjectivity.

We may say it is creative whenever the natural world (assuming humans are included in the natural world) is revealed in a way one never realized, so this is entrenched with various levels: levels of context, age, species, time, sense, capacity, dimension, space, language, etc.

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

Post by 3uGH7D4MLj » June 4th, 2016, 10:13 am

Aristocles wrote:Creativity appears to be the expansion of our capacities. Creativity seems to pull at our senses through the imagination of discovery and invention. We may be quicker to say it is art when it quantifies an expression appearing uniquely qualitative, when we take something seemingly subjective and pull emotion from another. We may be quicker to say it is science when a qualitative aspect appears uniquely quantified, when we declare something more seemingly objective, something appearing from outside of one's subjectivity.
Thinking about science and art, there is the example of the impressionists and neo-impressionists. The impressionists can be said to have approached seeing nature in a new way, a scientific way. They painted outside, viewing light first hand falling upon their subjects and painted in what they thought was a pure way, trying to paint the light instead of the objects in the scene. I think their approach was a positive step in the development of western art although lacking any pretense of scientific rigor or repeatability or the actual implementation of a new phenomenon.

Then Seurat and others studied the color theories being formulated at the time by scientists and tried to apply them to their work. This resulted in chromo-luminarism and divisionism, ways of handling colors that tried to create a mixing of color in the eye rather than on the canvas. This resulted in some interesting paintings, but it can be safely said that the neo-impressionist's theories were even further afield than the impressionists. In short, their exciting theories were wrong.

The take-away for me is that although it made for good reading and speculating at the time, trying to make art according to scientific theories was a washout at the beginning of modernism.

-- Updated June 4th, 2016, 9:24 am to add the following --

A lot was gained by the impressionists, freedom in the use of color, freedom from the photographic exactness of the academy paintings, radically new compositions, a feeling for the emotional impact of the brushstroke. Can any of this can be considered scientific?
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Re: So, you are an artist... What is the difference?

Post by Aristocles » June 4th, 2016, 10:42 am

3uGH7D4MLj wrote:

....

Then Seurat and others studied the color theories being formulated at the time by scientists and tried to apply them to their work. This resulted in chromo-luminarism and divisionism, ways of handling colors that tried to create a mixing of color in the eye rather than on the canvas. This resulted in some interesting paintings, but it can be safely said that the neo-impressionist's theories were even further afield than the impressionists. In short, their exciting theories were wrong.

The take-away for me is that although it made for good reading and speculating at the time, trying to make art according to scientific theories was a washout at the beginning of modernism.
I am not only arguing in favor of the method of your artistic science criticism, but I am suggesting you are too, 3u!

If I push your claims further, I would guess, at this point, the scientific application you describe takes away from the emotional authenticity of nature you may desire. Simply because science or art is done poorly in isolation does not indicate such a conglomerate cannot too be done poorly (I previously mentioned politics/war as an example of poor art/science). I would claim good art appears best done with good science and such a symbiotic relationship (I previously mentioned good parenting, education of Peace Corps; Ormond mentioned living/dying) may approach something of heavenly proportions, something you were quick to caution earlier. But, such advanced claims may be still premature at this point.

Likewise, 3u, you suggested in passing that good science brings one recognition, as does good art. YIOTHEO went strait to a ranking of the highest aspirations of humanity. These measures I would claim good techne must take us, eventually, unless of course our good measure suggests such an aspiration itself would not aim at the good. It does not appear to be an easy task, but I do appreciate your assistance.

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

Post by Mark1955 » June 4th, 2016, 11:11 am

John Bruce Leonard wrote:"Creativity" has been ascribed several times to both art and to science. Thus it would seem that we are generally disposed to grant this feature in common to both of these human pursuits. Perhaps we might ask what we mean when we speak of creativity?
Oh bother that dictionary but Science is described as the process of studying to attempt to learn. I'd dispute this is a creative act. When a scientist wants to create something he becomes an engineer, geneticist studies genetics, genetic engineer creates new genetic organisms. Or am I being too simplistic?
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Re: So, you are an artist... What is the difference?

Post by Aristocles » June 4th, 2016, 11:29 am

Mark1955 wrote:
John Bruce Leonard wrote:"Creativity" has been ascribed several times to both art and to science. Thus it would seem that we are generally disposed to grant this feature in common to both of these human pursuits. Perhaps we might ask what we mean when we speak of creativity?
Oh bother that dictionary but Science is described as the process of studying to attempt to learn. I'd dispute this is a creative act. When a scientist wants to create something he becomes an engineer, geneticist studies genetics, genetic engineer creates new genetic organisms. Or am I being too simplistic?
Are we learning without creative imagination? Does the engineer have to appreciate the art of equality in mathematics, the design of its engineering specialty - proportion/symmetry, mechanics at various levels - from electrons to skyscrapers, materials, etc.? The geneticist would need to have some artistic appreciation of life, smallness and consequent large qualities, reproduction, balance, intellectual ramifications, etc, no? Is the image of the detailed symmetric rigor of the double helix not fascinating? Add its sensitivity to pH, temperature, pressure, etc., does such study not require a degree of creativity?

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

Post by Mark1955 » June 4th, 2016, 12:21 pm

Aristocles wrote: The geneticist would need to have some artistic appreciation of life, smallness and consequent large qualities, reproduction, balance, intellectual ramifications, etc, no? Is the image of the detailed symmetric rigor of the double helix not fascinating? Add its sensitivity to pH, temperature, pressure, etc., does such study not require a degree of creativity?
You've not worked with many genetic engineers then? The ones I've worked with treat it like the nuts and bolts of mechanical engineering, I want to bolt that bit of DNA into the that other bit of DNA so it won’t fall out.

I think the ‘appreciation of art’ is another subject entirely. Simplistically if art is creativity then if I create I’m an artist. Simplistically for you to appreciate I’ve been creative you only need to recognise that I have created something; but I don’t think that’s what most people mean when they talk about the appreciation of art, I think there’s a subtext.
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Re: So, you are an artist... What is the difference?

Post by 3uGH7D4MLj » June 4th, 2016, 12:30 pm

Aristocles wrote:If I push your claims further, I would guess, at this point, the scientific application you describe takes away from the emotional authenticity of nature you may desire. Simply because science or art is done poorly in isolation does not indicate such a conglomerate cannot too be done poorly (I previously mentioned politics/war as an example of poor art/science). I would claim good art appears best done with good science and such a symbiotic relationship (I previously mentioned good parenting, education of Peace Corps; Ormond mentioned living/dying) may approach something of heavenly proportions, something you were quick to caution earlier. But, such advanced claims may be still premature at this point.
Well no, the science didn't take away from "emotional authenticity," I have no "desire" for that.

I'm just trying to think of art and science. Can't come up with much. There were the impressionists, yes, wrongheaded.

Now there is a leap from easel painting in your discussion. "politics/war as an example of poor art/science" mmm? could politics/war ever be defined as art?

If you are going to do that then the discussion floods its banks. Next you will be defining random stuff like parenting, education, peace corps, living/dying as art. A little too broad I think, JBL was right. Is this what you mean by art = anything?

-- Updated June 4th, 2016, 12:10 pm to add the following --

We need a six year old here!
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Re: So, you are an artist... What is the difference?

Post by Aristocles » June 4th, 2016, 11:18 pm

I may be among the few that sees most scientist artists are disconnected from their own careers. So, to suggest there is no creative imagination in genetic engineering is simply suggesting the disparate corporate agenda has rather disconnected subjects from their craft, not that the study is itself a mind-lessening assembly line of automatons. I would imagine it is not only my eyes that do not have the visual acuity to actually see an actual strand of DNA. To suggest science is merely the polling of the commoner, perhaps the late-night talk show street survey, is to lessen the craft far beyond the precious creativity of most any 6th grader.

When art has no desire for authentic emotion, then a grave disconnect again is apparent, one for which education and most any higher pleasure of life appears numb. If parenting is of neither an art or a science, then the great distance maintained from the youth should be much appreciated, & the open-mindedness of most any 6th grader would be more compelling. When living and dying is of no consequence, helping of those less fortunate, then the circular dead ends are becoming even more readily apparent. Should all philosophy too be turned with a deaf ear if the majority appears to prefer deafness, the philosopher has no credibility unless the job description of one's paycheck clearly describes the corporate funded bias as "philosopher?"

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

Post by Mark1955 » June 5th, 2016, 4:27 am

3uGH7D4MLj wrote: could politics/war ever be defined as art?
I would argue it has to be art as it is creative, even if of death and destruction, poverty etc.
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Re: So, you are an artist... What is the difference?

Post by John Bruce Leonard » June 5th, 2016, 7:34 am

Judging by the past five posts, it would seem that there is some divergence in our ideas of what constitutes creativity or a creative act. It might be worth pausing on this issue a bit longer to see if we can articulate these differences. In particular, shall we make any distinction between the making of art in the first place, the imagination involved in scientific discovery in the second, and the innovation productive of new technology in the third?

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

Post by 3uGH7D4MLj » June 5th, 2016, 2:19 pm

Mark1955 wrote:
3uGH7D4MLj wrote: could politics/war ever be defined as art?
I would argue it has to be art as it is creative, even if of death and destruction, poverty etc.
If politics/war is art, and also parenting, education, peace corps, living/dying, why not science?

It seems that the topic has been decided.
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