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.

What is Art?

Post Number:#1  Postby Scott » October 10th, 2009, 9:26 pm

I have seen several topics that ask if a certain genre of music, type of TV show, type of film, etc. is art. For instance, it wouldn't be unusual to hear someone say, Britney Spears is not an artist; she's just an untalented singer.

But that raises question, what is art? What makes one song artistic and another not so artistic? What makes one movie a work of art and another one just a recording? At what point does a sculpture become a piece of art rather than just a piece of rock? At what point does a painting become art as opposed to paint meaninglessly spilled on paper?

Basically, I would define art as expression through attractive symbolism. To use an example from above, the sculpture becomes art as opposed to just a piece of rock at the point when it expresses meaning from its creator.

What do you think? Can you provide a definition of art that is clearer, more elaborate or more accurate?
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Post Number:#2  Postby heliocentrism » October 10th, 2009, 10:06 pm

I believe art is any beautiful in the eye of the beholder. Although technically to be art, it has to be man made. Although I believe Socrates said:
By means of beauty all beautiful things become beautiful. For this appears to me the safest answer to give both to myself and others; and adhering to this, I think that I shall never fall, but that it is a safe answer both for me and any one else to give — that by means of beauty beautiful things become beautiful.
All men by nature desire knowledge
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Post Number:#3  Postby ape » October 11th, 2009, 12:06 am

Scott wrote:Basically, I would define art as expression through attractive symbolism. To use an example from above, the sculpture becomes art as opposed to just a piece of rock at the point when it expresses meaning from its creator.

'When it expresses meaning from its creator' is xlnt!

I wd just add:

When it expresses meaning from its creator or from any observer.

And that meaning has to be loved and so mean Love, which means that Love is the basis of all art since Love gives its meaning to everything.
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Post Number:#4  Postby Belinda » October 11th, 2009, 7:22 am

Yes, I agree. Expressing meaning is the key. Meaning may be either beauty or truth.
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Post Number:#5  Postby Nick_A » October 11th, 2009, 2:01 pm

I would define art as a process that occurs when a quality of emotion not experienced in our normal life is intentionally communicated to another through the medium of a work of art.

Such a work of art for the emotions is like an instruction book is to the intellect. The trouble is that where we now respect an objective quality of intellectual knowledge as in mathematics, we don't acknowledge an objective quality of emotional knowledge. It is no wonder that we cannot respect art for what it is and distinct from the decorative expression normal for societal life that we normally call art.

Scott wrote:

Basically, I would define art as expression through attractive symbolism. To use an example from above, the sculpture becomes art as opposed to just a piece of rock at the point when it expresses meaning from its creator.


Simone Weil wrote something similar but I believe with a different meaning for the word "creator."

"A work of art has an author and yet, when it is perfect, it has something which is anonymous about it." Simone Weil


The point here is that the true artist is expressing something that he received from above and is passing along to those sensitive to it.
Man would like to be an egoist and cannot. This is the most striking characteristic of his wretchedness and the source of his greatness." Simone Weil....Gravity and Grace
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Post Number:#6  Postby Juice » October 13th, 2009, 12:52 am

"Art is all the enterprise of the mind made manifest through the soul. Proving man to be a work left undone."
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Re: What is Art?

Post Number:#7  Postby ape » October 13th, 2009, 1:01 pm

Scott wrote:But that raises question, what is art?

Art is every word and everything since all words are and everything is drawn from the right side of the brain. :idea:
'The New Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain' by Betty Edwards
http://painting.about.com/cs/inspiratio ... tbrain.htm

Scott wrote:What makes one song artistic and another not so artistic? What makes one movie a work of art and another one just a recording? At what point does a sculpture become a piece of art rather than just a piece of rock? At what point does a painting become art as opposed to paint meaninglessly spilled on paper?
bold by ape

"A rock pile [or any thing] ceases to be a rock pile [or just any thing or just meaningless] the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral."
Antoine de Saint-Exupery

"The meaning of things [or art] lies not in the things themselves, but in our attitude towards them."
Antoine de Saint-Exupery

"Each man must look to himself to teach him the meaning of life [or art]. It is not [only] something discovered: it is [also] something molded."
Antoine de Saint-Exupery

"It is only with the heart [of Love] that one can see [any art or any thing or person] rightly; what is essential [to and in art et omnia] is invisible to the eye."
Antoine de Saint-Exupery
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Art

Post Number:#8  Postby Lotgaldr7 » October 13th, 2009, 3:10 pm

To me art is:

*something that gives me the inspiration to contemplate over it

*something that generates a feeling in me

*something that communicates with me

*something I find beautiful

I think art is highly individual.

Art does not have to be manmade. Nature is full of art. Sometimes even just a situation is art.
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Post Number:#9  Postby Belinda » October 14th, 2009, 5:48 am

Art does not have to be manmade. Nature is full of art.


If even natural events are art, what then is not in the category of 'art'?
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Post Number:#10  Postby Homicidal Pacifist » October 15th, 2009, 5:55 am

"What is Art?"

Creative expression no matter the forum, type, or quality of content.

Art has been defined as the creation of beautiful or thought-provoking works, e.g. in painting, music, or writing.

I question this because a piece of work can be filthy and remain artistic. Unless by beauty they don't mean appealing but beautiful in the fact that it is creative.

Furthermore, I see a very basic painting of 3 circles. Drawn by an adult - though just as likely a child or a retarded monkey - and probably sold for more than its worth (which is only a penny and only so we have something to talk sh*t about), the only thought it provokes is, "THAT is NOT art!!!"

But it is. It is very, very bad art. It iscreative because there use to be nothing on that paper and it does inspire some kind of thought - elementary and hate-filled as it may be.

Art has the ability to encompass business and politics, philosophy and war, sports, even science in that scientific search and discovery is creative and thought provoking.

If it is true that all things which are creative and thought provoking ought to be considered artistic, I would argue that every aspect of life and life itself is some form of art.

This would even include pedophilia since it creates much (sadness, rage, trauma, inner obstacles to either be overcome or be devoured by, etc.) and provokes many thoughts (can I overcome this pain? can he change his ways? can I forgive him? should I forgive him? etc.)

The Problem Of Evil is artistic.

We are all artists whether purposefully or not.

Or perhaps I'm reading far too much into things and taking things way too literally.
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Post Number:#11  Postby Lotgaldr7 » October 22nd, 2009, 1:59 pm

Belinda wrote:

If even natural events are art, what then is not in the category of 'art'?


Since art (in my opinion) is a personal matter: Anything that you do not find artistic.

For instance, cooking food is to me not a work of art if I make it myself. I'm not really into cooking. I'm sure others think otherwise.
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Post Number:#12  Postby Lotgaldr7 » October 22nd, 2009, 2:19 pm

I have been an artist myself, and find this topic quite intresting. I've been to some exhibitions where the "best" piece of art has been awarded. I always disagreed with the choice.

"Art" as a universal term is quite wide, and can be anything. Art can be defined within certain borders or settings. Although this is complicated, it would be possible if certain criterias are given on forehand: which genre, technique, theme, etc.

In "art competitions" I think it is needed to define what art is. This is rarely done, and so the artists can only guess what they have to make to win.
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Post Number:#13  Postby Belinda » October 23rd, 2009, 7:20 am

Since art (in my opinion) is a personal matter: Anything that you do not find artistic.


So , I think, would say Wittgenstein.
Britney Spears is not an artist; she's just an untalented singer.
(Scott) is an illustration of the word as used in actual language within which 'art' is a family relationship sort of word, unless other wise stated.

I think a more specific question is 'what is a work of art?' This would by implication omit works of nature at least, which would be a starting point.

I do agree that genre, idiom, or theme, etc should be stated in art competitions.
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Re: .

Post Number:#14  Postby nili » October 29th, 2009, 6:38 pm

Art has been defined as the creation of beautiful or thought-provoking works, e.g. in painting, music, or writing.


Art is the search for harmony. Harmony is the equilibrium between consonance and dissonance. Chaos and order; in the way that chaos is the path to the order, and vice versa. Art tunes my feelings, no matter if it is music, sculpture, or painting or what ever. Art is the search of perfection, and not the object of it. If I can't find that aim, than I don’t consider it art. Universe tends to equilibrium. But complete equilibrium is death. There is too much dead "art" around.
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Post Number:#15  Postby NameRemoved » January 8th, 2010, 7:26 pm

Art is the untamed abandonment of the soul, communicating through others , piercing concepts their rational minds can only weep to understand yet their souls yearn to covet again and again and again. Art is not to be figured like an equation but to lived like a dance.

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