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.
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ThomasHobbes
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Re: What is Art?

Post by ThomasHobbes » August 21st, 2018, 5:13 am

Jan Sand wrote:
August 18th, 2018, 7:22 pm
Any object, an artist's construction, a found object, a mathematical proof, or that famous pissoir which is offered for consideration under cultural values of aesthetics thereby becomes art. That urinal in an art gallery is not placed there as a urine receptacle .
.. And presumably if I took a **** in "The Fountain" that also would be art?

Without standards everything, and therefore nothing is art.

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ThomasHobbes
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Re: What is Art?

Post by ThomasHobbes » August 21st, 2018, 5:14 am

ADDENDUM

The missing word (****), above, is sh1t.
The verb to deficate.

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ThomasHobbes
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Re: What is Art?

Post by ThomasHobbes » August 21st, 2018, 5:18 am

Jan Sand wrote:
August 21st, 2018, 2:36 am
There is an article about him at https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2018 ... ife-in-art and he is,
All he needed was a person in the art establishment to say "His paintings make us see the world the way he sees it, clear and up close, with all but the most essential details pared away." And his paintings are elevated from something any year FOUR child can do , to high art.
This article is an example of the desolation and emptiness of the art world, where **** in a can trumps the Venus De Milo.

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ThomasHobbes
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Re: What is Art?

Post by ThomasHobbes » August 21st, 2018, 5:19 am

That's s h i t i n a c a n

Jan Sand
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Re: What is Art?

Post by Jan Sand » August 21st, 2018, 5:27 am

Thanks for being explicit. Evidently you are on the edge of discovering what certain words mean. Dictionaries are compounded out of common usage. It's wise to pay attention to that.

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Re: What is Art?

Post by Jan Sand » August 21st, 2018, 5:44 am

The Sack Of All

This grain of brain which we must maintain
Has limitations, lacks of intimations wherein
Infinities dance their way to eternity.
The swirl of specks of actuality collect to enable
Each of us to fabricate suspicions out of chaos,
Compile solidities from fantasies of expectations
And frequently nail to jail us into accidental inevitabilities.
There is no total envelope to envelope hope with predictability.
Nothing sure, all insecure, existence is a whore to sellout creativity
To the highest bid, to skid us all into cheap catastrophes.
Tomorrow leaves today behind as children flee parental obsolescence
While the wreckages of the past can fertilize obsolete excrescence.

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Hereandnow
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Re: What is Art?

Post by Hereandnow » August 21st, 2018, 8:52 am

Perhaps, Jan Sand, you could help me see how this contributes to answering this question, without the distortion of copula 'is': When we us the word 'art' to classify something, as a general feature, what do we have in mind? Are you saying the word really has no definition at all, no defining principle? You may be on to something there, a bit like the word 'physics' the content of which in time is ever changing, new discoveries requiring new assessments of what it means to be a physical thing. But physics is bound to the desire to understand the behavior of the stuff of the world (notice I don't say "what the world "is", which is not only something of a dull ax, but altogether inaccurate). We should at least be able to say something that sets art apart from physics or chemistry.
It cannot be so vague as you suggest, because that would make the concept without meaning.
It can't be the delight something brings, merely, for example; for that would make my daughter's delight in getting a new bike an artistic response. Every good joke elicits an artistic response? The standard used to be aesthetics, beauty in form, the "creative manifestation through a physical medium:; and so on. But these all have their counter examples.

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Re: What is Art?

Post by Jan Sand » August 21st, 2018, 9:43 am

It seems to me that language itself has limitations in that its communications are through generalities that can be focused much in the way a Venn diagram contributes overlays of generalities to create specifics. This occurs unconsciously in English whereas Finnish has a case, the partitive, where generalities and specifics are clearly displayed. Not only many words evolve in any language but general classifications can change radically over time. Within the past couple of centuries the skills of artistic representation have developed such things as perspective and through devices such as light controls and even mechanical representation through cameras and motion pictures and the physical concepts of time and space so the how we interpret what we see is no longer the same as in previous times. The awareness of color and even the placement of components in a picture have both visual and emotional components and have strong values as well as the subject matter involved. Artists are not only concerned with what we see but also what we see physically and culturally. Unless one is exceptionally gifted in language a picture can open a different universe. There have been cases wherein a blind person from birth had his or her disabilities corrected by surgery later in life and was completely unable to utilize the new capabilities to see and preferred not to. Because we do not see with our eyes, we see with our brains which takes the visual input and has learned from the moment the eyes opened to organize that input to fabricate what we call reality. There is far more going on right in front of us than we need to know to survive and our sense apparatus is designed for survival, but humans have become clever enough to stretch that slightly but only slightly. Both artists and scientists are deeply involved in exploring these possibilities. In the old Life Magazine there was a photographer named Gjon Mili that explored the fourth dimensional possibilities of photography much as Duchamp did in painting . This is the essence of Art - the exploration and revelations in perceptions and conceptions which we each do slightly differently since we must teach ourselves what reality might be from the time of birth.

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Hereandnow
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Re: What is Art?

Post by Hereandnow » August 21st, 2018, 10:30 am

But you could say the same thing about anything. Concepts obscure the reality in their disclosure of what a thing is. I subscribe to the idea that concepts in no way can encompass their objects, for concepts by their nature reduce, quantify, and ignore what does not fit into established thinking. Or: concepts are abstractions and the world is not an abstraction (Nelson Goodman famously called the "innocent eye," a perception of the world as it is apart from our interpretative inclusion, a myth, but I beg to differ). At any rate, what is biology if not a reduction of the world to pragmatic symbols? There are no "genes" or "DNA" without our presence. We confer those conceptual values on to things, and without this, we have no idea what a thing is.
But this is not to say that biology cannot be defined. It just has its definition lodged in a body of other disciplines. Perhaps the answer lies in what art is not, just as a valid way to say what biology is is by identifying it boundaries with other fields. Art is not a science. What does this mean? What is missing or present in the one that sets it apart form the other? This is a very revealing method, because in showing boundaries, a definition, albeit provisional, rises to the fore as others recede.
For example, art is not a science: what does a science do? It applies,explicitly, the scientific method to observational data to establish principles. laws, and otherwise general rules that are evident. It uses logic to do this. It is an inherently rational process. And so on. Does art do this, at all? Yes: it certainly does require observation, the terms of assessment are grounded in established criteria, logic is used to identify distinctions, similarities; in other words, to see itself IS an exercise in logic. And so on.
But what is different about art? This is, to me, the important question. What sets it apart? What is it, when we have an art experience with some van Gogh painting, Ravel sonata, Jane Austin novel, that makes it art?
As you say, it is a mysterious affair, but that does not mean there is no identifiable common thread.

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Re: What is Art?

Post by Jan Sand » August 21st, 2018, 10:50 am

No doubt one of the prime differences between art and science is that art has a cultural and emotional dynamic that is more or less missing from science. A science refers to a consensus of reality to which a concept has to fit. Art is the presentation of a personal outlook which can be emotionally gratifying or stimulating in quite a few different direction, some of which are not only shocking but even repulsive but the best of even that is a worthwhile experience. And some can even be devoid of emotion except to evoke wonder at the unusual. To lay down rules and regulations as to what night or might not be art is to imprison a mind in the totalitarian rigidities of a petrified outlook.

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Hereandnow
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Re: What is Art?

Post by Hereandnow » August 21st, 2018, 11:46 am

I understand your reluctance to identify art. Once done, it draws limits on acceptability, as when the French salons were offended by Duchamp. But you overplay this with "totalitarian rigidities". After all, we're just trying to figure out what art is, how to understand it better. I don't think, for example, conceptual art is a proper term at all because it is self contradictory: ideas are not art. Art may be, as all things are, conceptually structured, but this is vacuous. The idea in art is not art, but an explanatory component. And so on. Challenges like this raise the question about art and its identity. It's not so much looking for precision and castigating nonconformers, but exploring, expanding understanding.

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Re: What is Art?

Post by Jan Sand » August 21st, 2018, 12:21 pm

I am not castigating anybody, merely indicating that there is a great deal of flexibility required in any highly exploratory area. To despise the possibility that excrement is possible in evoking emotional responses is to demand that a cultural rigidity of totally rejecting a possible quite odd element with a strong emotional connection is a mistake. I once learned that some animals purposely feed their newborns their excrement to plant beneficial bacterial material into their microbiomes to permit them to digest their food and recently that practice has medically been extended to humans for curative purposes.

It might be noted that there are procedures in science and especially theoretical physics and mathematics which mirror the creative processes in the arts rather closely. Artists are not required to conform to traditional rigors since much of their efforts originate in very personal areas but in science and mathematics the theoretical concepts that attempt to extend those disciplines in yet unconfirmed theories are very close to artistic practices and it has been noted that many of the technical people involved in digital and space areas were attracted to their professions by science fiction which is an art sometimes indulged in by scientists like Asimov and Clarke and Forward and Hoyle and even Lewis Carroll was a mathematician so the fields do intersect.

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Hereandnow
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Re: What is Art?

Post by Hereandnow » August 21st, 2018, 12:54 pm

Sure, I've seen it all in exhibition halls. I agree that NOTHING is exempt from being art. Even a simply cognitive construction, can be art. Anything, for the dirt under my fingernails to the balmy scent of a seraph's underarm. Only the imagination is the limit, guess. That is not the issue at all. what is the issue is when you say it's art, what do you mean? Content is, apparently, not at issue. It is a matter of language and meaning. Use the word, now define it, not rigidly, but tellingly.

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Re: What is Art?

Post by Jan Sand » August 21st, 2018, 1:27 pm

Simply, art is an effort by an artist to convey some sense of what it is to be the artist emotionally or experiencially in some way . There has been some objection to what is called conceptional art because it is only described but a poem or a novel or even a witty pun seems to be accepted without question. Why not a description of something that can be built or made physically without actually doing it?

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Re: What is Art?

Post by Jan Sand » August 21st, 2018, 1:29 pm

Perhaps that should be conceptual art.

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