Conceptual art: an oxymoron?

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.
Post Reply
Burning ghost
Posts: 2096
Joined: February 27th, 2016, 3:10 am

Re: Conceptual art: an oxymoron?

Post by Burning ghost » January 30th, 2018, 1:05 am

Greta -

You misunderstood my post! it was "art" not a reply to the topic ... see my point?

note: This is a piece of conceptual art ... if you disagree then it is simply not to your taste.

Am I talking crap or making art?

note: This is conceptual art I am making here.

Imagine a cup empty. Is it completely not full or completely empty? What is the difference? What does "difference" mean? Is it the mean of means, the medium between?

note: That is actually a piece of art (albeit a bad example of poetry and hardly something I would rate highly.)

Everything above is conceptual art because I said so.
AKA badgerjelly

User avatar
Hereandnow
Posts: 1670
Joined: July 11th, 2012, 9:16 pm
Favorite Philosopher: the moon and the stars

Re: Conceptual art: an oxymoron?

Post by Hereandnow » January 30th, 2018, 10:52 am

No, no!! 3uGH7D4MLj:
Not So. I do enjoy them. I love to think about what art is. But this art is conceptual, so enjoying them is like reading Sartre. All I am saying is, that is not art at all, or, it is art reduced to a conversation, and while art is IN a conversation (Art as Experience by Dewey comes to mind), conversation is not art, or, more clearly, conversation is not what it is because it has form and form is intrinsically aesthetic. Art appreciation is not what we do when we talk, analyze, and so on.

If I want to think about what a chair is singularly, apart from a trio of chairs, and some implicit dynamic, if that is the point, then fine. I'll read Derrida.

User avatar
Hereandnow
Posts: 1670
Joined: July 11th, 2012, 9:16 pm
Favorite Philosopher: the moon and the stars

Re: Conceptual art: an oxymoron?

Post by Hereandnow » January 30th, 2018, 11:08 am

I would quickly add that conversation CAN be art when considered AS art. I am rather bound to this thesis as it is something of a cornerstone of my aesthetics. There could be trouble there for me on the one hand denying that conceptual art qua conceptual is art, and on the other admitting that anything can be art if considered AS art, this chair, for example. It gets interesting there.

User avatar
Greta
Site Admin
Posts: 6688
Joined: December 16th, 2013, 9:05 pm

Re: Conceptual art: an oxymoron?

Post by Greta » January 30th, 2018, 5:03 pm

Burning ghost wrote:
January 30th, 2018, 1:05 am
Greta -

You misunderstood my post! it was "art" not a reply to the topic ... see my point?

note: This is a piece of conceptual art ... if you disagree then it is simply not to your taste.
Nope. There is no artist presenting "the work" as art. Rather, we have a somewhat glib fella pretending to be presenting his post as conceptual art so as to make a point on a philosophy forum.

The missing ingredient is sincerity, which admittedly isn't always easy to ascertain with some conceptual art, eg. we might wonder whether a conceptual artist is taking the piss, so to speak, or if the act of taking the piss was the point of a piece? In your case, though, it was clear that you were in fact taking the piss rather than creating conceptual art.
Burning ghost wrote:Am I talking crap or making art?

note: This is conceptual art I am making here.
Ah, you see, C.R.A.P. can be thought of as the unofficial technical term for low quality art - Careless Rotten Artistic Product. Artists who routinely produce C.R.A.P. are known as W.A.N.K.E.R.S. (Worthless Affected Nitwit Klutzes and Egoistical Ratbags).

:D

Burning ghost
Posts: 2096
Joined: February 27th, 2016, 3:10 am

Re: Conceptual art: an oxymoron?

Post by Burning ghost » January 31st, 2018, 3:00 am

I've just figured something out!!

Not quite sure how to put this yet, need to mull it over. Basically I think I get what this "conceptual art" is about. It is a plea to the "religious" attitude of humanity. That may make no sense, but if you can try and translate just to see if I've hit on something worthy of further discussion.

Thanks
AKA badgerjelly

User avatar
3uGH7D4MLj
Posts: 916
Joined: January 4th, 2013, 3:39 pm

Re: Conceptual art: an oxymoron?

Post by 3uGH7D4MLj » January 31st, 2018, 3:00 pm

Hereandnow wrote:
January 30th, 2018, 10:52 am
No, no!! 3uGH7D4MLj:
Not So. I do enjoy them. I love to think about what art is. But this art is conceptual, so enjoying them is like reading Sartre. All I am saying is, that is not art at all, or, it is art reduced to a conversation, and while art is IN a conversation (Art as Experience by Dewey comes to mind), conversation is not art, or, more clearly, conversation is not what it is because it has form and form is intrinsically aesthetic. Art appreciation is not what we do when we talk, analyze, and so on.

If I want to think about what a chair is singularly, apart from a trio of chairs, and some implicit dynamic, if that is the point, then fine. I'll read Derrida.
I think what Kosuth is getting at is epistemology. Three ways of knowing about an everyday object. He says he isn't interested in the iterations themselves but in the difference, the space, between them. There are three ways of perceiving this everyday object. I think there is quite a bit to chew on, empiricism, representation, language, for gods sake. And there is no place where this little installation, "One and Three Chairs," could have an effect better than an art gallery, Kosuth was a trained artist, so he exhibited it.

I don't think you can say, well, it's "conceptual," so I may as well be reading.

"The forms of art are inexhaustible" –– Clive Bell
"If art could be encompassed by language, we wouldn't need art" -- John Dewey
fair to say

User avatar
Hereandnow
Posts: 1670
Joined: July 11th, 2012, 9:16 pm
Favorite Philosopher: the moon and the stars

Re: Conceptual art: an oxymoron?

Post by Hereandnow » January 31st, 2018, 9:26 pm

3uGH7D4MLj:
I think what Kosuth is getting at is epistemology. Three ways of knowing about an everyday object. He says he isn't interested in the iterations themselves but in the difference, the space, between them. There are three ways of perceiving this everyday object. I think there is quite a bit to chew on, empiricism, representation, language, for gods sake. And there is no place where this little installation, "One and Three Chairs," could have an effect better than an art gallery, Kosuth was a trained artist, so he exhibited it.

I don't think you can say, well, it's "conceptual," so I may as well be reading.

"The forms of art are inexhaustible" –– Clive Bell
"If art could be encompassed by language, we wouldn't need art" -- John Dewey
Well defended.

But how does this work to distinguish the art of conceptual art from other things that can be described in the same way? I think I can come across a shoe in my path on the way to school and take a moment to consider the space between the shoe and the stone beside it, the difference, the space, between them? Or the time it took to arrive to see the shoe; or, the epistemology of the shoe: the knowing it is there and how my perceptual and cognitive systems present this knowledge claim; and so on. These approaches of examining the shoe, are we really ready to say these are aesthetic? When Einstein conceived of space time, was his theory of relativity a work of art? Or the geologist 50 million years hence studying how the shoe became embedded in the rock strata, is this aesthetic geology?

It's not that I don't get it. Everything and anything has been submitted as art to the art world, and has gained passage. But are we supposed to give no notice of the conceptual problems this poses for art as art? If an analysis of a chair in the absence of other chairs, for the absence of a sitting resident, for the well calibrated measurement of space between it and the wall, and so forth; if this is an occasion for an experience in art, then you will have to explain how it is that everything and anything is NOT such an occasion.

Forms of art may well be inexhaustible, but, for Clive Bell, they better have significant form the elicits aesthetic rapture. I don't think my smelly sock has this.

Dewey was a pragmatist, and he thought art was a consummatory experience embodied in a work that had been wrought out of the physical medium just for the aesthetic joy of it. He is and interesting one, though, for art as experience finds the aesthetic inside, literally, the experience of pragmatic success. This does put the aesthetic in the ordinary as long as the ordinary, the making of a shoe, or even the proper hitting of a baseball, is done well. I don't think so. My experience of Debussy has nothing to do with his toil creating the music. Rather, my experience of aesthtic rapture in music is utterly beyond analysis.

User avatar
3uGH7D4MLj
Posts: 916
Joined: January 4th, 2013, 3:39 pm

Re: Conceptual art: an oxymoron?

Post by 3uGH7D4MLj » February 1st, 2018, 12:53 am

Hereandnow wrote:
January 31st, 2018, 9:26 pm
But how does this work to distinguish the art of conceptual art from other things that can be described in the same way? I think I can come across a shoe in my path on the way to school and take a moment to consider the space between the shoe and the stone beside it, the difference, the space, between them? Or the time it took to arrive to see the shoe; or, the epistemology of the shoe: the knowing it is there and how my perceptual and cognitive systems present this knowledge claim; and so on. These approaches of examining the shoe, are we really ready to say these are aesthetic? When Einstein conceived of space time, was his theory of relativity a work of art? Or the geologist 50 million years hence studying how the shoe became embedded in the rock strata, is this aesthetic geology?
There is such a thing as art. Presented by artists, displayed in galleries and museums, we all know what it is.

I'm a bit surprised by your argument.
fair to say

Spraticus
Posts: 129
Joined: January 29th, 2014, 6:43 pm

Re: Conceptual art: an oxymoron?

Post by Spraticus » February 1st, 2018, 4:16 pm

I was at a gallery in Valencia today; there was a quote from one of the artists to the effect that, "If I could expain it in words the painting would be superfluous."

User avatar
Hereandnow
Posts: 1670
Joined: July 11th, 2012, 9:16 pm
Favorite Philosopher: the moon and the stars

Re: Conceptual art: an oxymoron?

Post by Hereandnow » February 1st, 2018, 5:33 pm

3uGH7D4MLj:
There is such a thing as art. Presented by artists, displayed in galleries and museums, we all know what it is.

I'm a bit surprised by your argument.
I'm a little surprised by yours. I thought it was clear that the issue I am taking rejects the authority of the museum. That's what philosophy does, questions basic assumptions. It is an argument that is grounded in something very simple: discussion is not art! Thinking qua thinking is not an experience of art. If you believe this statement is true, then you have to explain how conceptual art that is all discussion, in the same way that other things out of the context entirely of talking about art, discussions about politics, e.g., is art at all? Is talk about "an inquiry into the nature of art" itself a word of art just because the topic is art? So when I say art is significant form the elicits aesthetic rapture (Bell) I am in the saying so making art itself?
I you an answer this for me, I''ll stop pressing the point.

There is such a thing as art? But I never said there wasn't. But I don't let institutions stand just because they are institutions. They have to prove themselves.

User avatar
3uGH7D4MLj
Posts: 916
Joined: January 4th, 2013, 3:39 pm

Re: Conceptual art: an oxymoron?

Post by 3uGH7D4MLj » February 1st, 2018, 7:45 pm

Hereandnow wrote:
February 1st, 2018, 5:33 pm
3uGH7D4MLj:
There is such a thing as art. Presented by artists, displayed in galleries and museums, we all know what it is.

I'm a bit surprised by your argument.
I'm a little surprised by yours. I thought it was clear that the issue I am taking rejects the authority of the museum. That's what philosophy does, questions basic assumptions. It is an argument that is grounded in something very simple: discussion is not art! Thinking qua thinking is not an experience of art. If you believe this statement is true, then you have to explain how conceptual art that is all discussion, in the same way that other things out of the context entirely of talking about art, discussions about politics, e.g., is art at all? Is talk about "an inquiry into the nature of art" itself a word of art just because the topic is art? So when I say art is significant form the elicits aesthetic rapture (Bell) I am in the saying so making art itself?
I you an answer this for me, I''ll stop pressing the point.

There is such a thing as art? But I never said there wasn't. But I don't let institutions stand just because they are institutions. They have to prove themselves.
A misunderstanding. I thought we were talking about art, Conceptual art: an oxymoron, and you seemed to be veering off into other territory, "I think I can come across a shoe in my path on the way to school and take a moment to consider the space between the shoe and the stone beside it, the difference, the space, between them? Or the time it took to arrive to see the shoe; or, the epistemology of the shoe: the knowing it is there and how my perceptual and cognitive systems present this knowledge claim; and so on."

The stuff you run across while walking? This is when I thought to remind you that we are talking about art, not, shoes and pebbles on the ground, and the space between, etc. There is such a thing as art, and we're considering these things in an art framework. I wasn't calling on the authority of the museum, just the ordinary definition of art, you know, pictures and sculpture, installations, etc. Random objects on the ground are not usually considered art.

But anyway, if you do run across a shoe while walking, and a two-dimensional representation of a shoe, and a dictionary definition of a shoe, get out your phone and take a picture. Pretty extraordinary.

Did you suppose I meant that Kosuth is interested in the distance between these things, in millimeters?
fair to say

User avatar
3uGH7D4MLj
Posts: 916
Joined: January 4th, 2013, 3:39 pm

Re: Conceptual art: an oxymoron?

Post by 3uGH7D4MLj » February 1st, 2018, 7:53 pm

Spraticus wrote:
February 1st, 2018, 4:16 pm
I was at a gallery in Valencia today; there was a quote from one of the artists to the effect that, "If I could explain it in words the painting would be superfluous."
Going to galleries in Valencia. I'm envious.

Artists are often pressed to make an artist's statement. And art cannot be encompassed by language. None of our experiences can be encompassed by language. I like what he said.
fair to say

User avatar
Hereandnow
Posts: 1670
Joined: July 11th, 2012, 9:16 pm
Favorite Philosopher: the moon and the stars

Re: Conceptual art: an oxymoron?

Post by Hereandnow » February 1st, 2018, 10:32 pm

3uGH7D4MLj
A misunderstanding. I thought we were talking about art, Conceptual art: an oxymoron, and you seemed to be veering off into other territory, "I think I can come across a shoe in my path on the way to school and take a moment to consider the space between the shoe and the stone beside it, the difference, the space, between them? Or the time it took to arrive to see the shoe; or, the epistemology of the shoe: the knowing it is there and how my perceptual and cognitive systems present this knowledge claim; and so on."

The stuff you run across while walking? This is when I thought to remind you that we are talking about art, not, shoes and pebbles on the ground, and the space between, etc. There is such a thing as art, and we're considering these things in an art framework. I wasn't calling on the authority of the museum, just the ordinary definition of art, you know, pictures and sculpture, installations, etc. Random objects on the ground are not usually considered art.

But anyway, if you do run across a shoe while walking, and a two-dimensional representation of a shoe, and a dictionary definition of a shoe, get out your phone and take a picture. Pretty extraordinary.

Did you suppose I meant that Kosuth is interested in the distance between these things, in millimeters?
Right. You said "I think what Kosuth is getting at is epistemology. Three ways of knowing about an everyday object." I think you're right. Here are his words: The art I call conceptual is such because it is based on an inquiry into the nature of art. Thus, it is...a thinking out of all the implications, of all aspects of the concept 'art.'" One and Three Chairs denies the hierarchical distinction between an object and a representation."

Now the question I am raising is whether this discussion about art qua discussion is art. I mean, it would be something like, "observe this chair. Now in the calling it a chair, have I by my word implied a hierarchy of the visual over the spoken, and......." I say, look at this conversation that the work is not simply about, but IS. The work is this conversation. And since, of course, it is not about chairs but about objects in general and their respective hierarchies then this particular conceptual work of art invites similar discussion about anything, like a shoe on the sidewalk. And putting the chair in the exhibition hall serves only remind the observer that one must acknowledge the objects contained therein as art. But then, this BEING art is exactly what is at issue, so that doesn't help. Thus, my reason for putting the shoe into the inquiry, or a smelly sock, for that matter.

Then the matter is not settled, for if talk about the chair and its implied hierarchy among the representation and the printed word IS the art work, then how is this different from any, let's say, analytical conversation? It being about art: does this matter? I think it is presumptuous to claim that this analysis is art. It begs the question, How can analysis of art be art? And how does the fact that it is simply about art, even if this is granted, qualify this as art? Danto discusses art in long drawn out theses. Is he an artist, therefore?

User avatar
Hereandnow
Posts: 1670
Joined: July 11th, 2012, 9:16 pm
Favorite Philosopher: the moon and the stars

Re: Conceptual art: an oxymoron?

Post by Hereandnow » February 1st, 2018, 10:41 pm

I should quickly add: the claim that the point is not the iteration is disingenuous. I would say no one observing the exhibition without the proper theoretical preparation could understand it. The understanding is not the existential engagement. If it were, it would not be conceptual. In fact, calling it conceptual and saying it is not the iteration is itself oxymoronic.

User avatar
Greta
Site Admin
Posts: 6688
Joined: December 16th, 2013, 9:05 pm

Re: Conceptual art: an oxymoron?

Post by Greta » February 2nd, 2018, 12:47 am

To speak about "what is art" without considering intent is to miss the crux. However, sometimes the chaotic can be "a great work of art" in the colloquial sense, but not technically unless an artist changes or contextualises it. Also consider how engaging with non-art effectively turns it into art in a subjective sense, eg. scenery. Practically, it simply depends on where, or if, people want to draw that line. For some, every element of life is art and for others, none.
I say, look at this conversation that the work is not simply about, but IS. The work is this conversation.
This conversation could be turned into a work of art with some imaginative alterations or contextualising, but in itself it's not art unless you are one to view life through a romantic imaginative lens.

Post Reply