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.
Post Reply
User avatar
Scott
Site Admin
Posts: 4652
Joined: January 20th, 2007, 6:24 pm
Favorite Philosopher: Diogenes the Cynic
Contact:

What is Art?

Post by Scott »

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?
My entire political philosophy summed up in one tweet.

"The mind is a wonderful servant but a terrible master."

I believe spiritual freedom (a.k.a. self-discipline) manifests as bravery, confidence, grace, honesty, love, and inner peace.
User avatar
heliocentrism
Posts: 29
Joined: October 1st, 2009, 8:02 pm
Location: Somewhere

Post by heliocentrism »

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
ape
Posts: 3323
Joined: April 6th, 2009, 9:55 pm

Post by ape »

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.
Belinda
Contributor
Posts: 13760
Joined: July 10th, 2008, 7:02 pm
Location: UK

Post by Belinda »

Yes, I agree. Expressing meaning is the key. Meaning may be either beauty or truth.
Socialist
Nick_A
Posts: 2513
Joined: April 19th, 2009, 11:45 pm

Post by Nick_A »

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
User avatar
Juice
Posts: 1997
Joined: May 8th, 2009, 10:24 pm

Post by Juice »

"Art is all the enterprise of the mind made manifest through the soul. Proving man to be a work left undone."
When everyone looks to better their own future then the future will be better for everyone.

An explanation of cause is not a justification by reason.
C. S. Lewis

Fight the illusion!
ape
Posts: 3323
Joined: April 6th, 2009, 9:55 pm

Re: What is Art?

Post by ape »

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
Lotgaldr7
Posts: 6
Joined: October 1st, 2009, 4:07 pm

Art

Post by Lotgaldr7 »

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.
Belinda
Contributor
Posts: 13760
Joined: July 10th, 2008, 7:02 pm
Location: UK

Post by Belinda »

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'?
Socialist
User avatar
Homicidal Pacifist
Posts: 569
Joined: July 19th, 2009, 2:42 am
Location: Your mom's house. Ha.

.

Post by Homicidal Pacifist »

"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.
"There is one thing stronger than all the armies of the world,
and that is an idea whose time has come."
Lotgaldr7
Posts: 6
Joined: October 1st, 2009, 4:07 pm

Post by Lotgaldr7 »

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.
Lotgaldr7
Posts: 6
Joined: October 1st, 2009, 4:07 pm

Post by Lotgaldr7 »

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.
Belinda
Contributor
Posts: 13760
Joined: July 10th, 2008, 7:02 pm
Location: UK

Post by Belinda »

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.
Socialist
nili
Posts: 5
Joined: October 27th, 2009, 12:34 pm

Re: .

Post by nili »

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.
NameRemoved
Posts: 642
Joined: December 28th, 2009, 9:00 pm

Post by NameRemoved »

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.

Izzy
Post Reply

Return to “Philosophy of the Arts and Philosophy in the Arts”

Philosophy Books of the Month

The Biblical Clock: The Untold Secrets Linking the Universe and Humanity with God's Plan

The Biblical Clock
by Daniel Friedmann
March 2021

Wilderness Cry: A Scientific and Philosophical Approach to Understanding God and the Universe

Wilderness Cry
by Dr. Hilary L Hunt M.D.
April 2021

Fear Not, Dream Big, & Execute: Tools To Spark Your Dream And Ignite Your Follow-Through

Fear Not, Dream Big, & Execute
by Jeff Meyer
May 2021

Surviving the Business of Healthcare: Knowledge is Power

Surviving the Business of Healthcare
by Barbara Galutia Regis M.S. PA-C
June 2021

Winning the War on Cancer: The Epic Journey Towards a Natural Cure

Winning the War on Cancer
by Sylvie Beljanski
July 2021

Defining Moments of a Free Man from a Black Stream

Defining Moments of a Free Man from a Black Stream
by Dr Frank L Douglas
August 2021

The Preppers Medical Handbook

The Preppers Medical Handbook
by Dr. William W Forgey M.D.
October 2021

Natural Relief for Anxiety and Stress: A Practical Guide

Natural Relief for Anxiety and Stress
by Dr. Gustavo Kinrys, MD
November 2021

Dream For Peace: An Ambassador Memoir

Dream For Peace
by Dr. Ghoulem Berrah
December 2021