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.
User avatar
Greta
Site Admin
Posts: 9181
Joined: December 16th, 2013, 9:05 pm

Re: What is Art?

Post by Greta » April 12th, 2020, 6:45 am

Sculptor1 wrote:
April 12th, 2020, 5:35 am
You are confusing art with the EXPERIENCE of art, which as you say can be similar to experiencing nature.
That's what I have been speaking about with Conte - the EXPERIENCE of art. I have been parsing the experience of art from created art.

Trouble is, you broke my post into pieces without context and thus exactly missed the point.

I will be pleased when the toxic habit of breaking up posts to remove context is gone from this forum.

User avatar
Sculptor1
Posts: 1899
Joined: May 16th, 2019, 5:35 am

Re: What is Art?

Post by Sculptor1 » April 12th, 2020, 8:19 am

Greta wrote:
April 12th, 2020, 6:45 am
Sculptor1 wrote:
April 12th, 2020, 5:35 am
You are confusing art with the EXPERIENCE of art, which as you say can be similar to experiencing nature.
That's what I have been speaking about with Conte - the EXPERIENCE of art. I have been parsing the experience of art from created art.

Trouble is, you broke my post into pieces without context and thus exactly missed the point.

I will be pleased when the toxic habit of breaking up posts to remove context is gone from this forum.
You are being somewhat disingenuous here.

User avatar
Sculptor1
Posts: 1899
Joined: May 16th, 2019, 5:35 am

Re: What is Art?

Post by Sculptor1 » April 12th, 2020, 8:23 am

Greta wrote:
April 12th, 2020, 6:45 am
I will be pleased when the toxic habit of breaking up posts to remove context is gone from this forum.
What I'd said was.
"Except that there is no art very little art in nature. Art is culture. It's the result of conscious praxis."

If there is nothing wrong with that, then why attack it with your repeated fallacy that...

Art is in the observer's head. ...

Which was your immediate response.
In a thread about What Is Art. It is simply not helpful to conflate the purely solipsistic experience of art and/or nature. This says nothing about art at all.

User avatar
Count Lucanor
Posts: 716
Joined: May 6th, 2017, 5:08 pm
Favorite Philosopher: Umberto Eco
Location: Panama
Contact:

Re: What is Art?

Post by Count Lucanor » April 12th, 2020, 7:27 pm

Greta wrote:
April 12th, 2020, 1:42 am
Count Lucanor wrote:
April 12th, 2020, 1:09 am

I would say that at some levels, there is a difference in the experience. Anyway, that will only tell about the experience itself, not what triggered it in the first place, which is what the question of what is art is looking for. Besides, finding something pleasant to the senses has not always being identified with art, sometimes it was meant to produce exactly the opposite reaction.
Sure there's a difference. There is a difference between being inspired by the form of clouds and being inspired by the forms of microbes too. Simply, different things trigger different thoughts. However, the situation is still basically a matter of forms that trigger dopamine release in some brains. I am not aware of the production of extra brain chemicals released by humans in response to human-made forms, as opposed to forms produced by environment. Maybe oxytocin in love songs? Then again, I'd say the Yosemite double rainbow guy is enjoying an oxytocin hit too :) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OQSNhk5ICTI
Again, you seem to be focused in qualifying general sensory experiences in individuals that could be related to aesthetic enjoyment, but that tell us very little about art itself, as a cultural phenomenon in societies. It is very likely that at physiological and cognitive levels, general faculties that are present in many individual transactions with the environment, including basic experiences as tasting food, will be also present in our dealings with other pleasures, such as aesthetic ones. And no doubt that a feeling of awe at the presence of a unfamiliar natural phenomenon, such as a double rainbow, could be assimilated into our understanding of the possible conditions of art, but it does not suffice.
Greta wrote:
April 12th, 2020, 1:42 am
"Being identified with art" is not actually related to what I was speaking about. Classifications of art made by external consensus need not be related to what one experiences. A good example is John Cage, who interpreted everyday sounds as music. He loved the sound of many amusical noises that occurred incidentally around him in much the same way as one might love the sound of a well-played cello.
Even the most individualistic, personal conception of art, which necessarily involves a categorization, will be inscribed in the social environment where this person grew up.

User avatar
Greta
Site Admin
Posts: 9181
Joined: December 16th, 2013, 9:05 pm

Re: What is Art?

Post by Greta » April 12th, 2020, 7:31 pm

@Count Lucanor

Correct. It says little about the art itself. I never meant for my observation to be considered a be-all-and-end-all position. I was just pointing out that the experience of art is entirely reliant on the observer and that an "artistic experience" can be had through nature and other things that are not art. This says nothing about what we define as art, and is not meant to. That's another layer that tends to be more closely tied to social and egoistic concerns.

User avatar
Count Lucanor
Posts: 716
Joined: May 6th, 2017, 5:08 pm
Favorite Philosopher: Umberto Eco
Location: Panama
Contact:

Re: What is Art?

Post by Count Lucanor » April 12th, 2020, 7:48 pm

Sculptor1 wrote:
April 12th, 2020, 5:43 am
Count Lucanor wrote:
April 12th, 2020, 1:12 am


Not really. Not after centuries of highly developed forms of artistry. Can we compare a good cook with Bach's art in the Mass in B minor? Hardly.
Absolutely we can - unless you are a complete snob.
You might want to look into some examples of high cuisine.
I'd place my home made lemon meringue way over The Fountain.
I'd place a the artistry in a good chippendale way over any piece of music to come out of the charts in the last 20 years.
Well, if you want to put your lemon dessert in the same category as a work extensively recognized as a work of art, that is your personal choice and preference, to which you are entitled. However, it doesn't say anything about what the rest of us should categorize as art and on what basis.

On the other hand, it can be categorically asserted that no good cooking or simple craft can stand in the same category of artistic value as a good work of art. If evoking the great masters like Bach of whomever might sound snobbish, we could restrict our comparison to any other less renowned artist, anyone endowed with artisan capabilities, for example Juan Francisco Casas, the hyper realist that only draws with a Bic pen.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U9DcWIRuJG8

Anyone can make a good pudding.

User avatar
Count Lucanor
Posts: 716
Joined: May 6th, 2017, 5:08 pm
Favorite Philosopher: Umberto Eco
Location: Panama
Contact:

Re: What is Art?

Post by Count Lucanor » April 12th, 2020, 8:05 pm

Greta wrote:
April 12th, 2020, 7:31 pm
@Count Lucanor

Correct. It says little about the art itself. I never meant for my observation to be considered a be-all-and-end-all position. I was just pointing out that the experience of art is entirely reliant on the observer and that an "artistic experience" can be had through nature and other things that are not art. This says nothing about what we define as art, and is not meant to. That's another layer that tends to be more closely tied to social and egoistic concerns.
I guess that can be explained by the long term association of art with beauty, and beauty, we are told, is in the eye of the beholder. That relation has become more problematic now.

User avatar
Greta
Site Admin
Posts: 9181
Joined: December 16th, 2013, 9:05 pm

Re: What is Art?

Post by Greta » April 12th, 2020, 9:49 pm

Count Lucanor wrote:
April 12th, 2020, 8:05 pm
Greta wrote:
April 12th, 2020, 7:31 pm
@Count Lucanor

Correct. It says little about the art itself. I never meant for my observation to be considered a be-all-and-end-all position. I was just pointing out that the experience of art is entirely reliant on the observer and that an "artistic experience" can be had through nature and other things that are not art. This says nothing about what we define as art, and is not meant to. That's another layer that tends to be more closely tied to social and egoistic concerns.
I guess that can be explained by the long term association of art with beauty, and beauty, we are told, is in the eye of the beholder. That relation has become more problematic now.
How so?

User avatar
Count Lucanor
Posts: 716
Joined: May 6th, 2017, 5:08 pm
Favorite Philosopher: Umberto Eco
Location: Panama
Contact:

Re: What is Art?

Post by Count Lucanor » April 12th, 2020, 11:30 pm

Greta wrote:
April 12th, 2020, 9:49 pm
Count Lucanor wrote:
April 12th, 2020, 8:05 pm

I guess that can be explained by the long term association of art with beauty, and beauty, we are told, is in the eye of the beholder. That relation has become more problematic now.
How so?
I guess it started with the European avant-garde movements of early 20th century, as a reaction against bourgeois standards of taste, mostly concerned with imitating nature (that scene in Titanic where Kate Winslet gets thrilled by looking at a Picasso just couldn't happen). The new artists obviously were not simply creating ugly art, but a new conception of beauty that rested on new principles of composition and the place of art in society. It had to be revolutionary and cause shock, scandal. Also, mechanization in industry had made it easier to reproduce and standardize everyday objects and decorations. Photography and graphic design, mechanically reproduced, were having a heyday, so anyone wanting to be a good artist, at least in the traditional fine arts, didn't find enough motivation in producing what already was widely accessible. Eventually the gap between mass culture and elitist artists became wider, and the long tradition of what Xavier Ventos called "arte ensimismado" (I could only translate it as "self-absorbed art") began, then came pop art, then conceptual art and then here we are now.

You mentioned John Cage. He was one of many who contributed to this process.

User avatar
Greta
Site Admin
Posts: 9181
Joined: December 16th, 2013, 9:05 pm

Re: What is Art?

Post by Greta » April 13th, 2020, 1:42 am

@Count Lucanor
Thanks for that detailed description. So, in summary, you feel that the blend of mass cultural movements and technology has lead to a dropping of standards, at least in the mainstream.

I see this as more the result of economic rationalisation than postmodernism. It appears to me that, in all areas of human endeavour, there are two major tranches - that of experts and of the masses. Popular culture is cheapening all the time as makers become ever more formulaic and risk averse in an ever more competitive market with ever fewer second chances available after failure. For instance, imagine a wonderful piece and arrangement like Classical Gas being a #1 hit today https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mREi_Bb85Sk. It's unimaginable. Meanwhile artistic masters an virtuosos are ever more common in elite levels due to the broader availability of high quality instructional material.

Olympians break ever more records while the masses become fatter. Scientists know more than ever before as the masses embrace anti-science conspiracy theories. Medical knowledge and medicines are always improving while patient care - which so much relies on a doctor knowing a patient and the way their bodies usually operate - becomes rationalised and fragmented.

The bifurcated state of the arts appears to be reflective of the increasing schism appearing in many in societies, the natural effect of decades of neoliberalism, with resources "trickling down" while gushing upwards.

User avatar
Sculptor1
Posts: 1899
Joined: May 16th, 2019, 5:35 am

Re: What is Art?

Post by Sculptor1 » April 13th, 2020, 4:18 am

Count Lucanor wrote:
April 12th, 2020, 7:48 pm
Sculptor1 wrote:
April 12th, 2020, 5:43 am

Absolutely we can - unless you are a complete snob.
You might want to look into some examples of high cuisine.
I'd place my home made lemon meringue way over The Fountain.
I'd place a the artistry in a good chippendale way over any piece of music to come out of the charts in the last 20 years.
Well, if you want to put your lemon dessert in the same category as a work extensively recognized as a work of art, that is your personal choice and preference, to which you are entitled. However, it doesn't say anything about what the rest of us should categorize as art and on what basis.

On the other hand, it can be categorically asserted that no good cooking or simple craft can stand in the same category of artistic value as a good work of art.
How absurdly wrong you are. Art is an empty exercise in vanity without the craft to make it.
Cite; "The Fountain". This is anti art. Drag a pit of pot out of a skip and sign it "Mutt". This is not art. There is more art in the original design of the piss pot.
If evoking the great masters like Bach of whomever might sound snobbish, we could restrict our comparison to any other less renowned artist, anyone endowed with artisan capabilities, for example Juan Francisco Casas, the hyper realist that only draws with a Bic pen.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U9DcWIRuJG8

Anyone can make a good pudding.
No. Not everyone can make a good pudding. That's why I do the cooking in my home - because I am the best at it.
Bach had craft. He had to devote his entire life to the craft of making music. World standard chefs are no different.

User avatar
Sculptor1
Posts: 1899
Joined: May 16th, 2019, 5:35 am

Re: What is Art?

Post by Sculptor1 » April 13th, 2020, 4:22 am

Count Lucanor wrote:
April 12th, 2020, 11:30 pm
Greta wrote:
April 12th, 2020, 9:49 pm

How so?
I guess it started with the European avant-garde movements of early 20th century, as a reaction against bourgeois standards of taste, mostly concerned with imitating nature (that scene in Titanic where Kate Winslet gets thrilled by looking at a Picasso just couldn't happen). The new artists obviously were not simply creating ugly art, but a new conception of beauty that rested on new principles of composition and the place of art in society.
This is where art ended and the cynical exploitation of the so called "art market" began in earnest. Poor artists who resented the masters of their past and simply could not compete to do anything new, decided to do anti-art. The result was expensive mediocrity, which characterises the 20thC and "modern art".
There is more artistry in a brick wall that most of the 20thC's modern art.
It had to be revolutionary and cause shock, scandal. Also, mechanization in industry had made it easier to reproduce and standardize everyday objects and decorations. Photography and graphic design, mechanically reproduced, were having a heyday, so anyone wanting to be a good artist, at least in the traditional fine arts, didn't find enough motivation in producing what already was widely accessible. Eventually the gap between mass culture and elitist artists became wider, and the long tradition of what Xavier Ventos called "arte ensimismado" (I could only translate it as "self-absorbed art") began, then came pop art, then conceptual art and then here we are now.

You mentioned John Cage. He was one of many who contributed to this process.

User avatar
Robert66
Posts: 175
Joined: April 20th, 2014, 5:13 pm

Re: What is Art?

Post by Robert66 » April 13th, 2020, 3:27 pm

Sculptor1 wrote:
April 10th, 2020, 4:28 pm
If The Fountain is art, then art is deception of the weak minded
...or a provocation of the mind
Sculptor1 wrote:
April 12th, 2020, 5:43 am
I'd place my home made lemon meringue way over The Fountain.
.

Your meringue however will not be upsetting people in a century.

User avatar
Robert66
Posts: 175
Joined: April 20th, 2014, 5:13 pm

Re: What is Art?

Post by Robert66 » April 13th, 2020, 3:41 pm

Count Lucanor wrote:
April 10th, 2020, 5:08 pm

According to your definition, Duchamp is an artist (because he made art) and Fountain (signed R. Mutt) was a work of art (because it was made by an artist).
There is one other factor - intention. We are not puzzling over chickens and eggs here.

User avatar
Sculptor1
Posts: 1899
Joined: May 16th, 2019, 5:35 am

Re: What is Art?

Post by Sculptor1 » April 13th, 2020, 5:11 pm

Robert66 wrote:
April 13th, 2020, 3:27 pm
Sculptor1 wrote:
April 10th, 2020, 4:28 pm
If The Fountain is art, then art is deception of the weak minded
...or a provocation of the mind
Sculptor1 wrote:
April 12th, 2020, 5:43 am
I'd place my home made lemon meringue way over The Fountain.
.

Your meringue however will not be upsetting people in a century.
It has given many pleasure, several people have asked for the recipe and have tried to copy it. That is enough.

Duchamps was as surprised as anyone about the reaction, originally intended more as a joke.
For my money, comedy is an art, but the Fountain is poor comedy. The lowest art possible.

Post Reply