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

Post by Ormond » May 20th, 2016, 7:08 pm

Good thread, nice job.
Aristocles wrote:I am attempting to argue both art and science are an appreciation of that which is good.
It occurred to me that while what you say is often true, we might also consider that...

Art sometimes has the ability to transcend purpose, goals, direction, "the good". The best art may take us to a realm beyond what can be analyzed, ranked, evaluated and compared. Perhaps the best art is simply an experience, and we pollute and degrade that experience when we try to translate it in to abstractions.

Art happened. Now it's done. End of story. It's the experience itself that contains the value, not our evaluation of the experience. A raindrop falls on your nose. Reality is unfolding. It's beyond the good, a mere human invention.

The equivalent in science might be those impractical investigations which are conducted simply from the desire to experience learning. As example, the billions we spent on discovering the Higgs Boson particle, a project with no known benefit beyond knowing for the sake of experiencing knowing.
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Re: So, you are an artist... What is the difference?

Post by Greta » May 20th, 2016, 8:15 pm

Greta wrote:Yes, to those who can appreciate it. Who are the arbiters?
John Bruce Leonard wrote:Why, you and I, Greta, and Aristocles and 3u here, and whoever else would like to have a part in this discussion. And more than anything, over and above us all, the standard of clear rationality that we hold as the judge of these discourses. I do not see that we need seek any arbiter beyond that.

Everything that you have said about the difficulty of the rank ordering of the good, or of determining the criteria for any such ranking, is abundantly clear and evidently valid, Greta. Yet as I am sure you will agree, the difficulty of the task does not excuse us from attempting to perform it. On the contrary, I say it is the pitch and pith, not only of the subject that here confronts us, but of philosophy itself, that the question of the good things and their relative value be examined with whatever care we have at our disposal.
Why would my opinion be of any more use than another? A few years ago, if you asked me about Pat Metheney I would have said he was just another bland "smooth jazz" artist. After a friend introduced me to more of his body of work I now consider him close to the pinnacle of modern instrumental art music. Hardly a reliable arbiter :)

Compare Pat Metheney's Minuano with Justin Bieber's Baby. What are the main differences?
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Re: So, you are an artist... What is the difference?

Post by John Bruce Leonard » May 23rd, 2016, 3:08 am

Ormond wrote:Art sometimes has the ability to transcend purpose, goals, direction, "the good". The best art may take us to a realm beyond what can be analyzed, ranked, evaluated and compared. Perhaps the best art is simply an experience, and we pollute and degrade that experience when we try to translate it in to abstractions. 

Art happened. Now it's done. End of story. It's the experience itself that contains the value, not our evaluation of the experience. A raindrop falls on your nose. Reality is unfolding. It's beyond the good, a mere human invention. 
Very interesting, Ormond. Permit me to challenge this a little.

Your position would seem to culminate in the proposition that experience is beyond our ability to evaluate, which is to say that all artistic experience is of equivalent value; hence, art, which aims at such experience, cannot be considered to aim for the good. Yet you say that “the best art is simply an experience,” which implies that not all art is an experience, or that not all art succeeds in its attempt to be an experience. Art can be judged or ranked then by virtue of its ability to provide an experience for us, which experience itself is beyond our judgement. But then the purpose, the goal, the direction of art would be precisely to be an experience; it would very much retain a sense of the good, that good being experience itself. Art by such an understanding is a vehicle “to take us to a realm beyond what can be analyzed,” and just as we may discriminate between good and bad cars, so we may discriminate between good and bad art.

By this understanding, then, the experience of good art is “beyond the good,” but art itself is not.
Greta wrote:Why would my opinion be of any more use than another? [… I am] hardly a reliable arbiter.
Your opinion is valuable to me, Greta, precisely for the reason that you can make this statement without any trace of hypocrisy.

I am most curious to listen to the two pieces of music to which you have directed me, but at present I cannot. I will respond to your question when I am able.

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

Post by Aristocles » May 26th, 2016, 8:59 am

John Bruce Leonard wrote: Permit me to press the matter a bit further. Let us consider our pacifist and our imperialist once more, and in particular let us consider the possible ethics or ways of life which might arise from their visions of the world. You have said that neither is looking for peace or war as an end in and of itself, and this is a worthy insight. The implication is that peace and war are but means to another, true end, desired by both the imperialist and the pacifist in-and-of-itself: both are seeking the good, a good which is held in common between pacifists and imperialists of all stamps. The differences between these two individuals are as it were accidental differences. If these two individuals could be brought to see with clarity the one common end that they are seeking, their differences would be reconciled.

Now, the differences dividing our pacifist and our imperialist concern not the end that they seek, but the means. Although the aim of these individuals is the same, the means that they adopt are clearly contradictory. While the imperialist might praise martial courage, aggressiveness, and uncompromising love of one's own, the pacifist might praise evasion of combat, passivity, and tolerance for differing worldviews. As these two ways of life both aim toward a common end, the question of priorities arises: which way of life is best able to attain that end? One cannot live as an imperialist of this kind and simultaneously as a pacifist of this kind; one must choose between the two ways of life, or one must choose some third way. In adopting one of these ways of life, we must reject the other; in adopting some third way of life, we must reject one or both of the original two.

Let me then rephrase my question as follows: on what grounds may we claim that art does not propose a way of life that is contradictory to that proposed by science, or vice versa? On what grounds may we claim that one or both of these human activities does not represent a misplaced attempt to win the good, doomed from the beginning to failure by an erroneous methodology or vision?

It seems to me that these questions must be answered before we can even begin to conceive of the possibility of an artistic science or a scientific art.
As with the pacifist and imperialist, I am suggesting an alternative "third way" of life is closer to reality. We could analyze and critique the lives of M. Gandi and Alexander III. This may help to provide more concrete distinctions related to the techne I am trying to detail. I do not think we would get far suggesting Gandi himself was better than ALexander III himself or vice versa. Likewise, I do not think such a critical analysis will suggest any form of absolute pacifism is always superior to absolute violence or vice versa. I do, however, think such a critical analysis could help to tease out ways of life that are better than others, ways that are better for particular circumstances, ways of balanced rigor and freedom. Such a critical analysis may better illustrate macro and micro aspects of "culture" and "personal identity." Issues of heavy complexity would assuredly synchronize. But, as this topic may well demonstrate, I think such complexity is more helpful to attempt to engage than not, at this point...

With more of a grounding upon what attempt is best to approach the good, I would have to perform a critical analysis via a scientific art perspective. In short, it appears I would have to be philosophical. I would have to juxtapose things that are not typically readily comparable, I would have to chop things up to get a closer view, I would have to listen to perspectives I have yet to consider, I would have to evalute my own biases, I would have to ask why I have done all of the abovementioned, I would have to ask if things would be better without my evaluation, etc. Perhaps my conclusion is that my best approach is to not deliberate at all, ever. Maybe then I would prefer Justin Bieber's work, the manifest of Nazi's, violence for its own sake, etc. But, I do not see those as my preferences, as I do not see such a stance as good at this point. Instead, I would say the Peace Corp is more to the point of techne. Generally, the Peace Corp takes those individuals best prepared to transcend either typical science or art archetypes, and sends them, often times to war torn environments, where even mild efforts have rather significant potential.

As I likely have not provided the precise clarity you all deserve and the topic commands, I might do better to mention what I am not referencing: I am not talking about the seeming middle ground of politics. This type of scientific art lacks integrity. To call politics scientific art is to lessen science and art. This lessening is via the lack of genuine purpose. Trickery via backstabbing and bribery does take skill and one of a seeming artful science, but where it loses goodness is in a mechanism corrupted by ignorance, ignorance in both purpose and process.

However, I am oddly in apparent agreement with the US patent agency in referring to documented scientific novelty as "art." The creative aspect of science would not exclude age old trial and error, but trial and error performed when resources could be best spent elsewhere would be science that is inferior. The rigorous artistic proportioning of art where one performs obsessive plastic surgery upon one's self, or one must otherwise face untimely death in order to "achieve" one's ultimate artistic expression are aspirations I would suggest vear away from a good art.

Yes, this could easily spin into only my personal preferences or personal short-sightedness... All critical comments keeping that in check are appreciated. This includes the clarifications of B Ghost and Ormond regarding science and/or art. Likewise, the critiques of 3u help to illustrate the lack of resources society uses to best allocate such understanding, and how the bigger picture is less appreciated through all the confusion. I mostly agree that we need to question these things, and even the janitors need to be heard. Ironically, I often see Greta's posts offer the most artistic scientific clarity, so I would vote her on the island of arbitrators.

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

Post by Greta » May 26th, 2016, 8:07 pm

John Bruce Leonard wrote:Art can be judged or ranked then by virtue of its ability to provide an experience for us ...
This, to me, is the crux of the topic. I have been involved with pop art, visual and musical, for most of my life. I define art as being a work that is deemed art by its maker, and the quality of the art on the depth of the experiences it can provide (with the proviso that pleasurable associations can render the most trite art meaningful, eg. the song playing when a couple first falls in love).
Greta wrote:Why would my opinion be of any more use than another? [… I am] hardly a reliable arbiter.
John Bruce Leonard wrote:Your opinion is valuable to me, Greta, precisely for the reason that you can make this statement without any trace of hypocrisy.

I am most curious to listen to the two pieces of music to which you have directed me, but at present I cannot. I will respond to your question when I am able.
I would not recommend the Justin Bieber tune because it sounds very similar to what I think of as "economic rationalist music" and would probably not be pleasurable. The Pat Metheney performance, on the other hand, is a good example of music that can provide a rich experience through its manipulation of atmosphere and mood.

In music the greats are easy to pick - there is something electric about them. Another skilled musician might be able to play the same piece in the same way, but the sparks don't fly. The lines feel learned and regurgitated rather than music seemingly organically pouring from a master musician's inner being.
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Re: So, you are an artist... What is the difference?

Post by Jklint » May 27th, 2016, 11:34 pm

Art to any person is what turns you on as an individual that being its total perspective for any one person, place or time. But it's not the individual who decides what is or is not art. It's the vast majority of future generations that filter out past accomplishments to denote its value and the talents which created it.

In the end all accomplishments are graded by history and not on what contemporary tastes or philosophy decides. In any age most who regard themselves or by others as artists will be graded into oblivion or nearly so. The question of what is art, what compels it to be forever contemporary, becomes a generational question and not a personal one which remains relative to the individual and consequently unstructured.

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

Post by 3uGH7D4MLj » May 28th, 2016, 7:39 am

Jklint wrote:Art to any person is what turns you on as an individual that being its total perspective for any one person, place or time. But it's not the individual who decides what is or is not art. It's the vast majority of future generations that filter out past accomplishments to denote its value and the talents which created it.

In the end all accomplishments are graded by history and not on what contemporary tastes or philosophy decides. In any age most who regard themselves or by others as artists will be graded into oblivion or nearly so. The question of what is art, what compels it to be forever contemporary, becomes a generational question and not a personal one which remains relative to the individual and consequently unstructured.
For what it's worth, and way off topic, I completely disagree. Art is a simple category of objects. There is no need to wait and see if works are forever contemporary.

Don't want to argue this, just didn't want to let your statement pass.
fair to say

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

Post by Jklint » May 28th, 2016, 3:58 pm

3uGH7D4MLj wrote:
Jklint wrote:Art to any person is what turns you on as an individual that being its total perspective for any one person, place or time. But it's not the individual who decides what is or is not art. It's the vast majority of future generations that filter out past accomplishments to denote its value and the talents which created it.

In the end all accomplishments are graded by history and not on what contemporary tastes or philosophy decides. In any age most who regard themselves or by others as artists will be graded into oblivion or nearly so. The question of what is art, what compels it to be forever contemporary, becomes a generational question and not a personal one which remains relative to the individual and consequently unstructured.
For what it's worth, and way off topic, I completely disagree. Art is a simple category of objects. There is no need to wait and see if works are forever contemporary.

Don't want to argue this, just didn't want to let your statement pass.
In that case you would have to supply a better argument than simply "I disagree" or "Art is a simple category of objects" which is a completely meaningless absurd statement in context. Define a simple category of objects as it refers to art. Art by chimps who don't realize they just produced art?

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

Post by 3uGH7D4MLj » May 28th, 2016, 9:35 pm

This is a very tiresome question, sorry I objected. Art by chimps would be art, as you noted.

There is no artist, no art collector, critic, I have ever met or read about who thinks that art needs a probationary period to become art.

Art is simply art. It is a simple category of objects. Art does not need to turn you on, or be filtered, or be forever contemporary. There is no dictionary that agrees with you.
fair to say

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

Post by Greta » May 28th, 2016, 9:41 pm

3uGH7D4MLj wrote:Art by chimps would be art, as you noted.

There is no artist, no art collector, critic, I have ever met or read about who thinks that art needs a probationary period to become art.

Art is simply art. It is a simple category of objects. Art does not need to turn you on, or be filtered, or be forever contemporary. There is no dictionary that agrees with you.
Excellent summary.

There is a common confusion amongst observers, where they mistake the inclusion of naive, ugly or unsatisfying art under the banner of "art" for postmodernism. In truth, postmodernism only applies if you consider all art to be of equal value and import because the status conferred to the term "art" is based on naive, old world class snobbery.

Ideally, "art" and "artist" should not confer any status or imply any value. Art is art, just as a rock is just a rock. Value is attributed based on various factors like beauty, emotional affects etc. In the end it's just words. What some people consider "naive art", others consider "not art". The sentiment is roughly the same, but semantics imply that the latter is more concerned with community status while the former is more concerned with status within the arts community.
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Re: So, you are an artist... What is the difference?

Post by Aristocles » May 28th, 2016, 10:09 pm

Greta wrote:
3uGH7D4MLj wrote:Art by chimps would be art, as you noted.

There is no artist, no art collector, critic, I have ever met or read about who thinks that art needs a probationary period to become art.

Art is simply art. It is a simple category of objects. Art does not need to turn you on, or be filtered, or be forever contemporary. There is no dictionary that agrees with you.
Excellent summary.

There is a common confusion amongst observers, where they mistake the inclusion of naive, ugly or unsatisfying art under the banner of "art" for postmodernism. In truth, postmodernism only applies if you consider all art to be of equal value and import because the status conferred to the term "art" is based on naive, old world class snobbery.

Ideally, "art" and "artist" should not confer any status or imply any value. Art is art, just as a rock is just a rock. Value is attributed based on various factors like beauty, emotional affects etc. In the end it's just words. What some people consider "naive art", others consider "not art". The sentiment is roughly the same, but semantics imply that the latter is more concerned with community status while the former is more concerned with status within the arts community.
If I assume ideal art is invaluable, seemingly beyond measure, then I would likely be exposing my bias, an ironic place for measure. Such a bias too seems to be reasonably applied. But, such application begs questions that may indeed appear tiresome. It is easier for me to get behind the need for such safety of individual seeming creative expression. It appears reasonable that individual sentiment confers some degree of psychological protection. To what extent do we provide such a measure?

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

Post by John Bruce Leonard » May 29th, 2016, 3:19 am

Aristocles wrote:Such a critical analysis may better illustrate macro and micro aspects of "culture" and "personal identity." Issues of heavy complexity would assuredly synchronize. But, as this topic may well demonstrate, I think such complexity is more helpful to attempt to engage than not, at this point...
And I am all for its engagement, Aristocles. I retain my doubts about the possibility of any “third way” which might unify art and science without abolishing one or both of them – but if this third way really is impossible, this impossibility will surely out in the end. We may then safely set these doubts aside, and embark.

There are, as far as I can tell, two possible approaches to the question that you have put before us, Aristocles. We may begin by analyzing art and science separately, to see what parts of both are either identical or compatible; or we may begin, as I believe you have suggested, directly from the hypothetical unification of art and science, to attempt to comprehend what such a unification would look like, what form it would take.

I for one am willing to follow wherever you lead. Then what do you say, then, Aristocles? Where shall we begin our investigations into the possibility of a unification or “third way” between art and science?
Greta wrote:I define art as being a work that is deemed art by its maker, and the quality of the art on the depth of the experiences it can provide (with the proviso that pleasurable associations can render the most trite art meaningful, eg. the song playing when a couple first falls in love).
Greta, your definition of art seems to me an elegant solution to the ticklish problem of defining the limits of art, insofar as it permits us to approach all art without prejudicing our approach through any preconceived notions of what art is or must be. It seems, moreover, that your definition has the sympathy of several other contributors to this thread. I see a few problems to this definition, however. I would like to broach these difficulties, not indeed to abolish your suggestion, Greta, which seems to me to be most promising, but to indicate those areas in which we are still in need of some enlightenment.

First, it would seem that your definition precludes as art those works which are produced by a human being who does not believe that he is producing “art.” As I have previously mentioned, our idea of art is a largely modern discovery or invention, and in consequence, we cannot necessarily hope that anyone prior to the Romantic era would describe his works as “art,” even when these works appear to us clearly to be art. Take, for example, Aeschylus, who would have called his work poetry (poiesis), and not art (techne). By your definition, then, it would seem that we must not consider Aeschylus' poetry as art, which seems on the face of it ridiculous. We might resolve this difficulty as follows: we of today of course include “poetry” in the general category of “art,” and so we can justify placing, say, Prometheus Bound in the category of art on this basis. But this inclusion of poetry in art presupposes certain ideas of art and certain alterations of the classic categories which would not have been shared by Aeschylus, so that it seems even in our very liberal and noncommittal definition of art, we preserve certain specific and concrete standards which force us to understand past makers in a light different from that in which they understood themselves. The situation is yet more evident in the case of what we moderns are in the habit of calling “tribal art,” such as cave paintings or sculptures of fertility goddesses. The entire concept of “art” is fundamentally foreign to the producers of such work as this, and yet we are wont to refer to their works as artistic works.

It would seem then that we are entitled to call a certain work a work of art, against its maker's perception of this work. Yet if we are permitted to do this, it is unclear why we should not be permitted to say that certain other works are simply not art, despite their makers' claims to the contrary.

These two problems result in yet another difficulty. We have seen that we must retroactively judge what is and what is not art on the basis of those very standards that our definition of art was supposed to permit us to avoid. Yet following this, we will be compelled to discriminate between art and non-art in the past, and much of what we judge to be non-art will be similar or identical to what we are compelled to recognize as contemporary art by the very proclamations of its contemporary makers. An example: suppose we find in a forgotten chest in some attic storage room, a canvass, dating back to the sixteenth century, completely blank but for a single faint line drawn across the middle of it. We have no indication of its maker's intention, nor of his own estimation of his product. It might indeed be simply the work of a child, or the very preliminary sketch for some planned but almost entirely unfinished painting; or it might be the precocious work of some forgotten forerunner of Agnes Martin. Our definition wants to give us the power to approach art with no preconceived standards, but it forces us into the uncomfortable position of having to accept as art objects of the past which all the most competent critics of the past would have refused to accept as art, or to reject as art objects of the past which all the most competent critics of our day would insist that we accept as art. Whether we take the one path or the other, I suspect we are in the end smuggling standards of some kind or other into our appreciation of art.

These hidden standards are almost certainly connected to the second part of your brief analysis of art – namely, the standards by which you suggest art should be, not defined, but judged. You define the quality of art “on the depth of the experiences it can provide.” I believe that, as with the definition of art you have provided, this is an attempt to provide a universal and neutral lens for the consideration of all types of art regardless of geographical or historical origin. But while the definition of art that you have proposed attempts to leave the question of “What is art?” entirely in the hands of the artists, your definition of the quality of art does not do the same. I mean to say that we cannot presuppose that all artists seek depth of experience. It may be that certain artists seek nobility of expression, beauty of form, elegance of phrase, creation of values, exactitude of depiction, breadth of vision, truth of judgement. It may even be that certain artists seek precisely superficiality of experience. Some of these goals might be related to depth of experience, but I am not convinced that there are no tensions between them.

Now, if we judge a work of art by standards different from those that its maker employs (and I believe we must do so, else we abolish any and all meaningful concept of art), we can do so only on the basis of a demonstration that these standards are preferable for the judgement of art to any other standards of which we are aware. I suggest then that we look a little more closely at this “depth of experience,” to ask what precisely we mean by it. When we speak of “depth,” do we mean intensity? duration? indelibility? authenticity? profundity, as in what goes to the the roots or the essence? or something else altogether? When we speak of “experience,” do we mean emotion? passion? thought? or something else? And what entitles us to say that this aim of art, and not any of the others that I have listed above, or some other goal yet, is the truest aim of art?

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

Post by Aristocles » May 29th, 2016, 4:01 am

John Bruce Leonard wrote:
Aristocles wrote:Such a critical analysis may better illustrate macro and micro aspects of "culture" and "personal identity." Issues of heavy complexity would assuredly synchronize. But, as this topic may well demonstrate, I think such complexity is more helpful to attempt to engage than not, at this point...
And I am all for its engagement, Aristocles. I retain my doubts about the possibility of any “third way” which might unify art and science without abolishing one or both of them – but if this third way really is impossible, this impossibility will surely out in the end. We may then safely set these doubts aside, and embark.

There are, as far as I can tell, two possible approaches to the question that you have put before us, Aristocles. We may begin by analyzing art and science separately, to see what parts of both are either identical or compatible; or we may begin, as I believe you have suggested, directly from the hypothetical unification of art and science, to attempt to comprehend what such a unification would look like, what form it would take.

I for one am willing to follow wherever you lead. Then what do you say, then, Aristocles? Where shall we begin our investigations into the possibility of a unification or “third way” between art and science?
Greta wrote:I define art as being a work that is deemed art by its maker, and the quality of the art on the depth of the experiences it can provide (with the proviso that pleasurable associations can render the most trite art meaningful, eg. the song playing when a couple first falls in love).
Greta, your definition of art seems to me an elegant solution to the ticklish problem of defining the limits of art, insofar as it permits us to approach all art without prejudicing our approach through any preconceived notions of what art is or must be. It seems, moreover, that your definition has the sympathy of several other contributors to this thread. I see a few problems to this definition, however. I would like to broach these difficulties, not indeed to abolish your suggestion, Greta, which seems to me to be most promising, but to indicate those areas in which we are still in need of some enlightenment.

First, it would seem that your definition precludes as art those works which are produced by a human being who does not believe that he is producing “art.” As I have previously mentioned, our idea of art is a largely modern discovery or invention, and in consequence, we cannot necessarily hope that anyone prior to the Romantic era would describe his works as “art,” even when these works appear to us clearly to be art. Take, for example, Aeschylus, who would have called his work poetry (poiesis), and not art (techne). By your definition, then, it would seem that we must not consider Aeschylus' poetry as art, which seems on the face of it ridiculous. We might resolve this difficulty as follows: we of today of course include “poetry” in the general category of “art,” and so we can justify placing, say, Prometheus Bound in the category of art on this basis. But this inclusion of poetry in art presupposes certain ideas of art and certain alterations of the classic categories which would not have been shared by Aeschylus, so that it seems even in our very liberal and noncommittal definition of art, we preserve certain specific and concrete standards which force us to understand past makers in a light different from that in which they understood themselves. The situation is yet more evident in the case of what we moderns are in the habit of calling “tribal art,” such as cave paintings or sculptures of fertility goddesses. The entire concept of “art” is fundamentally foreign to the producers of such work as this, and yet we are wont to refer to their works as artistic works.

It would seem then that we are entitled to call a certain work a work of art, against its maker's perception of this work. Yet if we are permitted to do this, it is unclear why we should not be permitted to say that certain other works are simply not art, despite their makers' claims to the contrary.

These two problems result in yet another difficulty. We have seen that we must retroactively judge what is and what is not art on the basis of those very standards that our definition of art was supposed to permit us to avoid. Yet following this, we will be compelled to discriminate between art and non-art in the past, and much of what we judge to be non-art will be similar or identical to what we are compelled to recognize as contemporary art by the very proclamations of its contemporary makers. An example: suppose we find in a forgotten chest in some attic storage room, a canvass, dating back to the sixteenth century, completely blank but for a single faint line drawn across the middle of it. We have no indication of its maker's intention, nor of his own estimation of his product. It might indeed be simply the work of a child, or the very preliminary sketch for some planned but almost entirely unfinished painting; or it might be the precocious work of some forgotten forerunner of Agnes Martin. Our definition wants to give us the power to approach art with no preconceived standards, but it forces us into the uncomfortable position of having to accept as art objects of the past which all the most competent critics of the past would have refused to accept as art, or to reject as art objects of the past which all the most competent critics of our day would insist that we accept as art. Whether we take the one path or the other, I suspect we are in the end smuggling standards of some kind or other into our appreciation of art.

These hidden standards are almost certainly connected to the second part of your brief analysis of art – namely, the standards by which you suggest art should be, not defined, but judged. You define the quality of art “on the depth of the experiences it can provide.” I believe that, as with the definition of art you have provided, this is an attempt to provide a universal and neutral lens for the consideration of all types of art regardless of geographical or historical origin. But while the definition of art that you have proposed attempts to leave the question of “What is art?” entirely in the hands of the artists, your definition of the quality of art does not do the same. I mean to say that we cannot presuppose that all artists seek depth of experience. It may be that certain artists seek nobility of expression, beauty of form, elegance of phrase, creation of values, exactitude of depiction, breadth of vision, truth of judgement. It may even be that certain artists seek precisely superficiality of experience. Some of these goals might be related to depth of experience, but I am not convinced that there are no tensions between them.

Now, if we judge a work of art by standards different from those that its maker employs (and I believe we must do so, else we abolish any and all meaningful concept of art), we can do so only on the basis of a demonstration that these standards are preferable for the judgement of art to any other standards of which we are aware. I suggest then that we look a little more closely at this “depth of experience,” to ask what precisely we mean by it. When we speak of “depth,” do we mean intensity? duration? indelibility? authenticity? profundity, as in what goes to the the roots or the essence? or something else altogether? When we speak of “experience,” do we mean emotion? passion? thought? or something else? And what entitles us to say that this aim of art, and not any of the others that I have listed above, or some other goal yet, is the truest aim of art?
I touched in the OP on my reduction of what we tend to call science seems to be that of reasoned conclusions about something, and art appears to be an emotional expression of something. And, as I argue it does not appear reality is best approached by such a division, reason appears less distinct from emotion than typically assumed, subjectivity less distinct from objectivity, etc. With the proposal of a less dualistic appreciation, I am suggesting reality may be better gleaned when the two, science/reason and art/emotion, are viewed as more similar, less divisible, something about goodness itself appears overriding.

It appears true; I have had trouble putting this into words, and a lesser guide on the very topic I began... You, JBL, have had less trouble with written expression. Your included response to Greta illustrates well what I intended this thread would better demonstrate.

You have touched before upon the possibility of such proposed teleology appearing accidental, and that is an area for which I have even less helpful insight, but would like to better address that in due time.

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

Post by Jklint » May 29th, 2016, 5:10 am

3uGH7D4MLj wrote:This is a very tiresome question, sorry I objected. Art by chimps would be art, as you noted.

There is no artist, no art collector, critic, I have ever met or read about who thinks that art needs a probationary period to become art.

Art is simply art. It is a simple category of objects. Art does not need to turn you on, or be filtered, or be forever contemporary. There is no dictionary that agrees with you.
I won't tire you for long except to say I agree IF you define art as ANYTHING created whether by human or other agencies regardless of whether it was ever meant to be art. That would include, for example, a spider's web whose tapestry I'm very much in awe of but means nothing to the spider in terms of beauty or design its sole purpose being a functional one. Then there are the truly magnificent Sistine structures of nature, the corral reefs built by organizations of tiny creatures who have no concept of how wonderfully abstract their creations are.

So, while nature makes no difference between the likes of a stupid sh** like Justine Bieber, Sid Vicious or an epochal genius like Mozart or Milton WE are not so unaware of differences and what separates a common artisan from a genius. If that sounds like snobbery so be it.

By your and Greta's assertion anything and everything created by humans or close cousin is art and yet only humans invariably qualify everything according to their perception of value and in that respect it's the future that's in charge of that catalog much more so than any contemporary view.

History consists of an index of values. It is not some socialist experiment where anyone who calls himself an artist actually is one as affirmed by you and Greta. There is a vast spectrum of both cognitive and creative power available to human consciousness and in that respect humans have never been created equal. History remains the umpire of these inequalities no matter how much you both wish to undifferentiate the exceptional from the mundane as merely a matter of sentiment or semantic.

Both your views are indeed excellent summaries of why art is in the piss poor condition it's in based solely on the principal that whatever is created without exception cannot be rejected as art. This is the most temporary, minuscule and immediate view of art since there are absolutely no conditions attached which attempt to define it as something separate from all that may currently exist.

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

Post by Greta » May 29th, 2016, 6:30 am

If we are to sort the wheat from the chaff, I suggest that an artist could be defined as one who responds with "artist" or "musician" on bank loan applications or when seeking rental accommodation :)
The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated—Gandhi.

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