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Critique of Art - Platform for Debate

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Burning ghost
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Critique of Art - Platform for Debate

Post by Burning ghost » September 26th, 2018, 2:56 am

Continued look at Pedagogy and Art from thread: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=15806

In many areas of study the question and answer are quite clearly set out. In science and mathematics there are creative elements to the process, but generally speaking (in terms of mere arithmetic) we cannot offer much in the the way of critique due to the objective nature dictating the rules of play.

In art the matter is less rigid. A whole classroom of people can disagree on what is the most beautiful or masterful painting and no one can really say with absolute certainty which painting is the “better”. That said there are certain standards of geometry, and play of hue and contrast, that do form the outline fro which we pass more subjective judgements - form personal “taste”.

What is apparent here is that no one can sensibly talk about having an opinion of 1+1=2 because “opinion” serves no purpose to abstract absolutes. In the fields lf science whilst lack of a large enough data set may leave open the door to certain opinions the undrlying principle is that the opinion/ideas/theories can be tested/refined and solidified into broader rules of understanding (models that correspond to reality in a measureable way.)

With Art something quite different is happening. Some people may be naturally inclined to think about and focus on what it is that makes this or that work “good” and can then persuade others to “look” at a piece of Art with a fresh perspective that allows them to see beyond the surface impressions. This leads back to the most practical way to have an art lesson - that is to expose students to the different forms of art and have them practice them to appreciate the craft involved in making one’s idea come to physical fruition. Even if the skill is not aquired by the student they’ll at least appreciate something of what goes into the making of the art and maybe even come to understand certain forms that tend to be more pleasing tha others due to underlying principles of harmony/symmetry.

From here there is the issue of the “educator” of art - this needn’t be institutional. A friend of yours may love Jazz or Death Metal, and you may think it is a terrible style of music (and maybe you’ll dismiss most of it as ‘trash’), yet overtime your friend may entice you to understand what it is they get from the music and point out certain elements that you previously never even bothered to consider. Here we see something special at play!

The point being that in art, more than any other medium, critique and critical appreciation rule the stage. People can openly argue endlessly about all manner of “good” art and “bad” art. Here it is that we truly hone our ability to persuade others, to open others to new rewarding perspectives, and to argue our corner with complete honesty. Taste is not something we can deny another adn coming to understand their tastes to some degree is perhaps the first step toward rational thought.
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Re: Critique of Art - Platform for Debate

Post by Burning ghost » September 28th, 2018, 6:35 am

Maybe I should’ve tagged a question on the end to get some response :P

If so, do you believe one main purpose of Art is to lay out a grounds for people to argue their positions and thoughts about the art (or art) and that because of this Art is a gateway to rational thought?
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Re: Critique of Art - Platform for Debate

Post by Maxcady10001 » September 28th, 2018, 7:37 am

The purpose of art? A matter of pride. It is the use of symbols to build on loving the idea of oneself. Why else would anyone bother to put anything to paper or internet?
The intentions have to be selfish, maybe to add to the weight of a name, or the importance of an identity. People spend decades cultivating a talent, why if not to distinguish themselves, and make it easier to love themselves?

Because of this, art as grounds for an argument is fantastic, but as a first step to rational thought is terrible. As mentioned above, criticizing another's tastes will certainly get you into an argument. Criticizing another's art is another way for an argument to arise.

But, in this criticism is an appeal. "Be like me," the critic says. Thinking as rationally as possible is resembling as many people as possible. And to do that is to act against your reason for being an artist, if you resemble as many people as possible, how can you love yourself? Telling people to be rational is telling them not to be an artist.

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Re: Critique of Art - Platform for Debate

Post by Burning ghost » September 28th, 2018, 9:37 am

Max -

I cannot say that makes much sense to me. Do you assume the point of critique is to say “be like me”? That seems like a strange way to view rational thought.
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Re: Critique of Art - Platform for Debate

Post by Maxcady10001 » September 28th, 2018, 9:56 am

What's strange about it? Don't you have some standard you judge by? Don't you believe a certain meaning through art should be communicated in certain ways? If I drew a picture of a four leafed clover and said it symbolized the duality of man would you have anything to say? Would you tell me i'm going about conveying my intended meaning the wrong way? If you'd have nothing to say, what's the point of critique?

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Re: Critique of Art - Platform for Debate

Post by Burning ghost » September 28th, 2018, 11:25 am

Max -

The question was quite specific. I was not asking what the purpose of art was, I was stating that one main - yet less than obvious attribute - of art is that through critique we to have civil and rational arguments and come to understand the variety of views out there. “Opinions” are in there rawest form I guess, yet emotions about what we deem “worthy” are far from muted.

Hence, I say that through Critique of Art we’re taught a helluva lot about rational discourse between people in a sphere where “quality” is key and not an item of human communication that can be measured.

When it comes to logical arguments there is truth value, but that is not the same as what happens in discussions about “great” art.

To reiterate ... I am saying that a great unspoke truth of how we discuss art is the manner in which we come to dance around the lack of objective magnitudes. Somehow we manage to listen to each other and understand something of this “abstract” value we each hold toward works of art.
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Re: Critique of Art - Platform for Debate

Post by Hereandnow » September 28th, 2018, 11:43 am

BG
If so, do you believe one main purpose of Art is to lay out a grounds for people to argue their positions and thoughts about the art (or art) and that because of this Art is a gateway to rational thought?
Sure, but arguing is conceptual. This brings in the idea of art, and it is certainly a main purpose of some art to have as its essence critical thinking, that is, thinking that is not descriptive merely, but interpretative, in possession of ideological content. Take David's Oath of the Horatii. descriptively is has form and balance and is evocative of certain emotions by virtue of the strength and soldierly presence; and so on. What is evocative in this way does have conceptual content, and we do call calling attention to these features art criticism, but the "arguing..positions and thoughts" is, regarding descriptive (or historical, or others objective aspects), incidental to appreciation. On the other hand, conceptual art, now this is just the opposite. Unlike Horatii, the art here IS the concept, that is, the concept inheres in the appreciation.

The point, as to pedagogy, is that arguing in the latter is very much the main purpose, where in the former it is not. Therefore, approaches to teaching appreciation of David would be more dogmatic and objective. Teaching Damain Hirst would be very much different.

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Re: Critique of Art - Platform for Debate

Post by Burning ghost » September 28th, 2018, 1:06 pm

Hereandnow -

I don’t class “conceptual art” as “art” as you know. If you don’t the thread is here: viewtopic.php?f=13&t=14982

It’s your thread ;) we can take up opinions of what “conceptual art” is there if you want.
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Re: Critique of Art - Platform for Debate

Post by Hereandnow » September 29th, 2018, 9:46 pm

Then what are you talking about when you say the purpose of art is to "lay out a grounds for people to argue their positions and thoughts about the art (or art) and that because of this Art is a gateway to rational thought"? There is little in what is merely descriptive to argue about that is not just incidental. You can argue about who influenced whom, or how old some painting is and whether or not some Beethoven sonata pushes the boundaries of tonality, but these are not intrinsic to the art as such. This is why conceptual art is the one thing fits your "gateway to rational thought": it is a physical medium that has rational thought as part of its essence. Talking about it IS the art.

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Re: Critique of Art - Platform for Debate

Post by Burning ghost » September 30th, 2018, 2:09 am

Hereandnow -

Everyone understands “beauty”, but not everyone understands calculus. In critique of art aesthetics are dealt with. So called “conceptual art” doesn’t care much for “aesthetics”; it is - like you said - about the concept.

I am not suggestig that all “conceptual art” is devoid of any essense of art. Neither am I dismissing it as “useless”, I see what you’re saying though.

Also, I never said “the purpose of art”, I said “one of the main purposes”, albeit a purpose not directly attended to. “Purpose” may have been a misleading term to use because I don’t for a second think we set out with full awareness to hone our rationality.
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Re: Critique of Art - Platform for Debate

Post by Dachshund » October 1st, 2018, 10:56 pm

BG,

I think you will need to provide us with a reasonable working definition of "art" , if you want to stimulate meaningful discussion on this OP.

Here is a definition of "art" provided by Wikipedia, that might be helpful (?)...

"Art is a diverse range of human activities in creating visual , auditory or performing artifacts (artworks) expressing the author's imaginative, conceptual idea or technical skill, intended to be appreciated for their BEAUTY or EMOTIONAL POWER."

Here, as well ,is a Wikipedia defintiion of "Beauty"...

"Beauty is a characteristic of an animal, idea, object, person or place that provide a PERCEPTUAL EXPERIENCE of pleasure or satisfaction."

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Re: Critique of Art - Platform for Debate

Post by Greta » October 1st, 2018, 11:59 pm

Burning ghost wrote:
September 28th, 2018, 6:35 am
If so, do you believe one main purpose of Art is to lay out a grounds for people to argue their positions and thoughts about the art (or art) and that because of this Art is a gateway to rational thought?
I have created all of my life. When not making music, I was cartooning, writing or constructing digital art. Lots of gigs. Many informal publishings, mostly non-commercial.

It's just a compulsion, at least for some of us. Socrates would be unimpressed because my creative life is almost entirely unexamined. It's more instinctive and improvised. I think I have always feared that thinking about what I did creatively would take away some of the freedom and the fun, much like theists who try to ignore proven science because it would take away some of the magic.

No rational thought is needed so, no, any relationship between rationality of any kind and art is either individual or incidental, far from being intrinsic, necessary or even important.

Human beings are generally compelled to work and they become restless and unwell when idle over a period. Over prehistory and history, hard work would have been subject to natural selection, group selection and artificial selection in humans. We are now "hard wired".

Arts give humans a chance to keep working in our downtime, but without pressure or stress - in both the making and consumption. Thus art will be more expressive and less efficient than any creations produced during the "day job" (as any graphic designer will tell you).

At work one must be conscious of the 80/20 or 90/10 rules regarding the law of diminishing returns. Get it done to an acceptable standard and leave - and that's where the passion is lost. In art, the decisions made regarding the final 20% or 10% of detail work that takes so much time will tend to be where an artist's individual's self expression is most apparent.

Breaking free of the infernal cookie cutter! :D

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Re: Critique of Art - Platform for Debate

Post by Hereandnow » October 2nd, 2018, 12:03 am

But to the critique of art, a definition is useful, but is hardly a "definitive" definition if it possesses the possibility for discussion. Definitions are usually, as with all things, half baked upon analysis.
Anyway, as to critique and the problem posed regarding a lack of objective standards, the matter goes to what has been called taste. Let's say say that all there is to an apprehension of a work of art as art, not as a historical artifact, or something measurable in market terms, or anything else besides the effect, or better, the Affect the work has on the observer. Take one of Carravagio's dark depictions of Biblical scenes. Heavy with chiaroscuro, dramatic poses, well formed structure with "lines of force" guiding the eye, and so forth. Now, what i like about this painter is the mystery that is produced when backgrounds are darkened, and the bright contrasts are striking, dramatic, almost otherworldly. The fabrics wind about vividly, luxuriously; it is a full, sumptuous feeling.
The point of this kind of talk is show how taste is discussed when "competent" observers express the value of what they see. I am not good at this, but art critiques are very good at it, and after reading an article where a full command of descriptive features is in play, one is "educated" as to how to apprehend the work aesthetically. The fact that such an education is possible, that one who has examined a painting and sought out its beauty can successfully present in language what she has discovered, reveals that there is something truly objective about taste, which really means that we all have the requisite constitution for apprehending art in the same way, not at all unlike talking about good food, music, and so on. If we can talk about it and find agreement, objective standards are present.

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Re: Critique of Art - Platform for Debate

Post by Consul » October 2nd, 2018, 12:17 am

Burning ghost wrote:
September 30th, 2018, 2:09 am
Everyone understands “beauty”, but not everyone understands calculus. In critique of art aesthetics are dealt with. So called “conceptual art” doesn’t care much for “aesthetics”; it is - like you said - about the concept.
In 1853 the German philosopher Karl Rosenkranz wrote a book titled Die Ästhetik des Hässlichen (Aesthetics of Ugliness), so the subject matter of aesthetics isn't only beauty or the beautiful. Etymologically, aesthetics concerns sensory perception and our emotional, intellectual, and moral reactions to what we perceive sensorily. See: https://www.etymonline.com/word/aesthetic!

Aesthetics is variously defined as the philosophy of beauty or the beautiful (which can alternatively be called calology—derived from the Greek adjective "kalos" = "beautiful"), the philosophy of art, or the philosophy of taste.
"We may philosophize well or ill, but we must philosophize." – Wilfrid Sellars

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Re: Critique of Art - Platform for Debate

Post by Consul » October 2nd, 2018, 12:33 am

By the way, the term "aesthetics" (in German "Ästhetik") was coined by the German philosopher Alexander Baumgarten in the 18th century, who originally defined it as "scientia cognitionis sensitivae"/"the science of sensual cognition".
"We may philosophize well or ill, but we must philosophize." – Wilfrid Sellars

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