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good art and bad 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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Greta
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Re: good art and bad art?

Post by Greta » October 9th, 2018, 8:38 pm

Hereandnow wrote:
October 8th, 2018, 9:33 pm
Greta:
Increasingly with age I seek the beautiful and gentle in music.
As with politics, I don't think all musical ideas are equal just because they should be according to some egalitarian ideal. No, your old fart music is likely much, much better than juvenile viscera, though I couldn't prove as much objectively. It doesn't work like that. I only know that listening to Debussy is other worldly beautiful. I am listening to a band called Omnia, an instrumental album they made available on youtube. It kills me for something to be so beautiful, so simple. My youthful Led Zepplin days can't compare, though those days were great, indeed.
Probably true, although I do still listen to old albums, just that I once had little patience for mellow tracks and today I have little tolerance for noisy ones :)

Still, I am not sure I am as moved as I was when, say, I first walked into a dance with a live rock band playing. It was as if I'd wandered into wonderland. In our youths we are especially susceptible to the emotional effects of music. Speaking for myself, I am less affected with age as, one by one, the novelties wore off.

In terms of a Hesseian journey, after diving into the hurly burly of music and trawling through the muck, I walk out rather blasé about much that once excited me, yet now I'm excited by the small details I ignored when trying to build a life. This shift from the necessary abstract to the optional natural is probably pretty common for retirees.

Whatever the art, IMO the important thing is that it helps people, whatever stage of life they are in, through the challenges and strangeness of it all.

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Re: good art and bad art?

Post by Dachshund » October 10th, 2018, 2:02 am

Greta wrote:
October 9th, 2018, 8:38 pm
Hereandnow wrote:
October 8th, 2018, 9:33 pm
. My youthful Led Zepplin days can't compare, though those days were great, indeed.
HAN,


Did you ever play "Stairway to Heaven" backwards and hear the Satanic messages encoded in the disc?



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Re: good art and bad art?

Post by Steve3007 » October 10th, 2018, 5:24 am

I have a print of "The Garden of Earthly Delights" by Hieronymus Bosch on my wall at home.

Image

The various depictions of depravity and torture in it haven't yet inspired me to emulate them.

As I've gone through life I've met quite a few "metal" fans, although I'm not much of a fan of that musical genre myself. (Too loud. Too much association, for me, with hackneyed old late 70's and early 80's musical stereotypes). I've found that on average those people tend to be quite affable and mild-mannered. I don't know why, but perhaps their honesty about the natural human fascination with the disturbing tends to make them more psychologically stable than average. Perhaps they are more than averagely at peace with themselves.

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Re: good art and bad art?

Post by Steve3007 » October 10th, 2018, 5:29 am

Did you ever play "Stairway to Heaven" backwards and hear the Satanic messages encoded in the disc?
Did you ever listen to the loop of sound in the runoff groove of the Sgt Pepper album and notice that, when you play it backwards, it says: "Paul McCartney is as dead as a dodo. Honestly. He really is.".

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Re: good art and bad art?

Post by Hereandnow » October 10th, 2018, 9:21 am

Steve3007
but perhaps their honesty about the natural human fascination with the disturbing tends to make them more psychologically stable than average.
Or perhaps they harbor a secret life they will not reveal to the public. Appearances can be deceiving. For many of those we pass on the street, the thin veneer of civilization is a struggle to maintain, though one would never know it in conversation; of course, they dare not show it. Virginia Woolf and other presented the idea that the real human drama is within, where passions and needs and wrath and aggression are managed. And on the outside it is just a show, an abstraction of what we really are.

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Re: good art and bad art?

Post by Dachshund » October 10th, 2018, 9:42 am

Steve3007 wrote:
October 10th, 2018, 5:24 am
I have a print of "The Garden of Earthly Delights" by Hieronymus Bosch on my wall at home.

Image

The various depictions of depravity and torture in it haven't yet inspired me to emulate them.



You are, I think, suggesting that there is a "paradox" in the sense that the ugly depictions of depravity, torture and cruelty, etc; in Bosch's painting "Garden of Earthly Delights" should, like the images of all ugly things, predictably evoke negative aesthetic feelings of disgust and repulsion in the perceiver. Strangely, the subject matter this painting contains, is material that we prima facie do not like or find pleasant or pleasurable to observe, yet, despite this, many people ( like yourself, for example, Steve) still enjoy having a copy of the "Garden of Earthly Delights" on prominent display in their homes; they value this artwork and find it positively pleasurable to gaze upon - but how could this be?

The answer, I believe, is that although the images depicted in this this painting by Bosch may evoke negative aesthetic feelings ( i.e. the experience of a negative affection of consciousness in the sensation of displeasure/s of some kind, e.g. the perception of emotions of disgust, loathing and/or horror, etc.) what we actually value is the creative artistic representation of ugly subject matter. To put it another way, what you value in this painting by Bosch, Steve, is not ugliness, but the beautiful artistic representation of ugliness. Do you agree ?

If you google up an image on your computer of a drawing by the French printmaker, Gustav Dore, entitled "Arache" ( "spider") you will see another (more challenging) example of what I am talking about. In "Arachne" we have what is, arguably, a beautiful artistic representation of a monstrously and horrifyingly ugly scene. Personally, I would not hang a copy of it in my own bedroom, but I can understand that many people would regard it as a work of art that possessed genuine aesthetic value insofar as they found themselves drawn to attend to it and enjoyed looking at it, in a similar kind of way to the way most people enjoy seeing healthy rose blooms in a country garden.

Human beings are also naturally drawn to attend to non-artistic, representations of ugliness, by which I chiefly mean images of ugliness (in particular of extreme ugliness) that are not represented in a beautiful artistic manner. Many people are fascinated, for instance, by internet videos that show ISIS terrorists actually decapitating hostages with knives. Many people are compelled by a morbid curiousity to view this kind of extreme ugliness; it seems to have the effect of being both fascinating and appalling at the same time.

Briefly, I think excessive exposure to un-redeemed, raw/ brutal ugliness like this that lacks any shred of positive aesthetic value in terms of beauty ( and I would include here, listening to the evil (profoundly immoral/ outrageously obscene/profane) lyrical content of modern pop music genres like so-called "Death Metal") is mentally toxic. This is, in no small part, because chronic, e.g. frequently repetitive experiences of extreme negative affective states of consciousness are well known to predispose those thus subjected to become afflicted with serious psychopathologies like clinical major depressive disorder (MDD), suicidal ideation/parasuicidal behaviour, panic (and other psychiatric anxiety) disorders, PTSD, and so on.


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Re: good art and bad art?

Post by Dachshund » October 10th, 2018, 9:55 am

Hereandnow wrote:
October 10th, 2018, 9:21 am
Steve3007
but perhaps their honesty about the natural human fascination with the disturbing tends to make them more psychologically stable than average.
Or perhaps they harbor a secret life they will not reveal to the public. Appearances can be deceiving. For many of those we pass on the street, the thin veneer of civilization is a struggle to maintain, though one would never know it in conversation; of course, they dare not show it. Virginia Woolf and other presented the idea that the real human drama is within, where passions and needs and wrath and aggression are managed. And on the outside it is just a show, an abstraction of what we really are.
Steve has suggested this because one of his work colleagues is a skin-headed, tattoo-festooned, Death/Heavy Metal music devotee. Steve says that this guy is, despite his disreputable exterior - the very epitome of moral rectitude and conservative propriety etc, etc. - that he's just as pleasant and harmless as Mary Poppins. My advice to Steve is that this individual is probably a closet psychopath/degenerate of some description, and if he does not seriously suspect the same thing he is a very, very naive/cossetted man.

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Re: good art and bad art?

Post by Steve3007 » October 10th, 2018, 10:05 am

No, not just that work colleague. Various people. But in that particular case I've worked with him now for just under 10 years, every weekday, 8 hours a day, as well as various social events with his wife, kids, other family members and friends. I wonder: at what point will he reveal himself to be a psychopath, do you think?

My personal view is that it's kind of naive and somewhat superficial to think somebody is probably going to turn out to be a psychopath on the basis of a couple his many tastes and characteristics, such as his taste in music and tattoos. I've told you before, Dachshund, that the way to get to know people is to communicate with them, and not to divide the world into extremes, such that everyone is deemed to be either Mary Poppins or Hannibal Lecter, and the way to decide which they are is to count their tattoos from a safe distance.

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Re: good art and bad art?

Post by Steve3007 » October 10th, 2018, 10:24 am

Obviously the phrase "don't judge a book by its cover" springs to mind. But I suppose in this case it would mean a large book that I've spent 10 years reading and then, after reading the whole thing, deciding to judge it by its cover.

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Re: good art and bad art?

Post by Hereandnow » October 10th, 2018, 10:37 am

Steve3007
My personal view is that it's kind of naive and somewhat superficial to think somebody is probably going to turn out to be a psychopath on the basis of a couple his many tastes and characteristics, such as his taste in music and tattoos. I've told you before, Dachshund, that the way to get to know people is to communicate with them, and not to divide the world into extremes, such that everyone is deemed to be either Mary Poppins or Hannibal Lecter, and the way to decide which they are is to count their tattoos from a safe distance.
Actually I was being a bit of a devil's advocate, and Daschchund's take on this is likely extreme. I think you're right, and when we communicate with people, and do so sincerely, we get something of who they really are, and while I agree that if we celebrate Hannibal Lecter, and it is a kind of celebration when such a thing is paraded across the media as entertainment, we vulgarize culture and ourselves. But truly, for most it is just frivolous excitement to fill in otherwise meaningless time. I think heavy metal, tattooed or otherwise, people are, like everyone else, just desperate for distraction, and beneath the skin they're trying to pay bills and maintain relationships.
The REAl problem lies in the inability to create deep and important meaning in life. This is slipping away in a world of trivialized by endless and monotonous choice, choice of this toothbrush over that, of this brand of sneaker, of shampoo, of........don't get me started. Guy Debord was right (see him here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UKRDY88 ... verified=1)

'It is the omnipresent affirmation of the choice already made in production." This is the active propaganda of a society's attempt to make person into a consumer, a thoughtless, moronic consumer. And philosophy, literature, and the richness of humanity die.

Waiting for Godot.....

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Re: good art and bad art?

Post by Hereandnow » October 10th, 2018, 10:38 am

And I called Dashchund extreme?

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Re: good art and bad art?

Post by Steve3007 » October 10th, 2018, 11:04 am

Obviously there are some monstrous people in the world. And there are some deceptive people. There are people who can keep up a carefully constructed facade for many years while secretly harbouring malevolent intentions. But as a general rule, the more you talk to a person, and look them in the eye, and see first-hand how they live their life and treat the people around them, including their loved-ones, the more you get to know them. And you can't generally spot those secretly malevolent people by counting their tattoos.

But we humans are incredibly visual creatures. We have a very strong tendency to judge by appearances. And, in the case of most people, we don't get the chance to get to know them personally. So we fear and mistrust the person who appears different from ourselves. But fortunately we humans are also rational creatures. So we can examine our own behaviour, in the light of our past experiences, and spot when we are acting irrationally, due to our fears.

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Re: good art and bad art?

Post by Dachshund » October 10th, 2018, 12:41 pm

Hereandnow wrote:
October 10th, 2018, 10:37 am
Steve3007
The REAl problem lies in the inability to create deep and important meaning in life. This is slipping away in a world of trivialized by endless and monotonous choice, choice of this toothbrush over that, of this brand of sneaker, of shampoo, of........don't get me started. Guy Debord was right (see him here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UKRDY88 ... verified=1)

'It is the omnipresent affirmation of the choice already made in production." This is the active propaganda of a society's attempt to make person into a consumer, a thoughtless, moronic consumer. And philosophy, literature, and the richness of humanity die.

The 20th century's most compelling , and provocative critique of the techno-capitalist consumerism you refer to and its consequences in the wholesale "zombification" of the Western mind and spirit was Herbert Marcuse's 1961 masterpiece "One Dimensional Man". You should read it HAN, you would find his prose style has a an epiphanic quality.

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Re: good art and bad art?

Post by Dachshund » October 10th, 2018, 12:43 pm

Forget Guy Debord, HAN, he's not in Marcuse's league- nowhere near it !

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Re: good art and bad art?

Post by Hereandnow » October 10th, 2018, 3:07 pm

You're right about that, but what makes Marcuse so respectable is that he is hardwired into philosophy. He was considered the "guru of the New Left" back in the 60's, which makes him, I would think, a person of particular disdain for you. If you want to discuss his thinking, let me know. I am so far in his corner my political and ideological enemies are pretty much his.

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