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Does Pornography Qualify as Art?

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Jklint
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Re: Does Pornography Qualify as Art?

Post by Jklint » May 25th, 2015, 4:17 pm

I can think of only two perspectives to this question which has been asked many times.

It's always been the function of art to sublimate the banal so in this sense pornography, depending on how depicted, can be art or attested to as being art by those who consider what they see as having an extra value-added content. There is nothing new in this.

Then there is that which begins the pornographic instinct which is comprised of pure hormonal ebb and flow meant to overcome resistance - or as the Borg would say "resistance is futile". If the hormones weren't there creating the urge, human populations would be far less making rape and seduction virtually extinct. The sex act would default to an "act of duty" to keep the race going. When considering those origins, pornography is anything but artistic just a depiction of nature induced lust. That of course is necessary since in a purely natural world the birth rate must be at least equal to if not greater than the massive death rate starting with infants, who according to nature, are a dime a dozen and easily replenished as commanded by hormones.

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LuckyR
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Re: Does Pornography Qualify as Art?

Post by LuckyR » May 26th, 2015, 1:59 pm

UniversalAlien wrote: And When is Pornography a Crime :?:

Indeed, the definition of art is in the eye of the beholder. We watch mainstream filmography all the time and see murder, mayhem and rape - And in some such films the critics will declare the film a great work of film art and may even give it an Academy Award. But we know that no matter what is shown it is faked - No one is really getting hurt - no one is actually being killed. There is a difference with pornography - IT IS REALLY HAPPENING - The acts you see performed are really taking place - for the most part they are not faked - Sex is happening and sexual acts are being performed. The religions moral purist might see most, if not all, of this as a crime as it violates his or her morality. Years ago they ruled the paradigm and society accepted their morality - For the most part and for much of the population those days are gone - People like sex and many like to watch it being performed - At first I see nothing wrong with this - But if any of you have watched what is being broadcast over the internet today - Often available for free, you might pause and say, and even liberal me, has said should that be legal? No, I'm not trying to say I don't like this or that sex act and therefor it should be censored - I'm trying to say that people {Humans} may be physically and emotionally scared and damaged by the capricious whims of pimps and pornographers who might stop at nothing to make a buck - not caring about the people they are willing to abuse to satisfy their greed and and/or perverted desires {remember I'm not talking about any particular form of sex - but rather its callous abuse}.

I will now illustrate what I'm talking about by admitting that now that I've reached a certain age watching sex {pornography} though still somewhat exciting, is not nearly as exciting as when I was younger - still I find it, like science fiction, interesting - And being that it is often free, find myself watching it literally for hours - seeking the the truly erotic views of Human life - sometimes the erotic art can be seen - at least a few {admittedly very few} erotic films can pass as works of art - BUT occasionally I stumble upon films that are very disturbing, even to my liberal mind. I will give an example; On a site that hosts maybe thousands of links {most free} I noticed a film with the somewhat catchy title something like 'Shy Girl Given Lessons' - The women is then coerced {at first voluntarily} into getting involved with a group of women {lesbians} - nothing too shocking here yet - But in this 'art film' she is raped and in such a way that I actually thought they might be damaging her both physically and mentally. - Now of course some might say this is faked - she is a voluntary participant and knew what she was getting into - And yes in some of this so called kinky art the participants will appear at the end smiling and telling the audience all is well in their strange world - But is this always the case? - Are some people being physically and mentally hurt for the sake of art and profit? - Should even a liberal society have limits on what is art :?: We at least say that snuff films {which could be faked} and kiddy porn are illegal - Should we also have limits on hurting people {seriously} and damaging people psychologically for the sake of art :?:

-- Updated May 24th, 2015, 1:02 am to add the following --

“One man's pornography is another man's theology.”
― Clive Barker

Nice write up of your thoughts. Let me add a huge missing piece of the story though. The vast majority of erotica that is filmed, is depicting acts that folks somewhere do purely for the pleasure of it (not being filmed). True, those that are in the industry may be "acting" in the sense that they, personally aren't getting anything out of the acts they are performing for profit (it's their job), but someone somewhere would do the exact same thing willingly for free, off camera. Otherwise no one would pay money to see it.

Thus art imitates life and if no one is being prosecuted for doing an act willingly off camera, for the fun of it, why should someone be prosecuuted for doing the exact same thing, only this time, in front of a camera?
"As usual... it depends."

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Re: Does Pornography Qualify as Art?

Post by Logic_ill » May 26th, 2015, 2:48 pm

`That's where the detail lies. How willingly are people performing sex acts on and off camera???

Is pornography art? It might be, but it usually has one intention: arouse its viewers. It is the strongest drive people could cash on, other than food and drink.

The problem I might see with pornography is with the younger generations who might be developing unhealthy sexualities upon viewing these sexual depictions, and of course whether the people on camera are willingly performing these sex acts. If the viewers of pornography are young, they might be aroused by the pornography they see and that may fuel unhealthy lusts, which they might not have had, had they not seen the pornography. Pornography is suggestive and invites people to explore the sexual ideas depicted. It might give the viewers wrong ideas about how people in real life actually court one another and have sex. It's unrealistic. The younger ones might grow up with these over the top ideas of sexuality, and have trouble feeling satisfied if they do not get to experience what they see. On the other hand, it might make them immune to the BS. I guess it's a matter of studying its effects and of making people aware of them, if they have not figured it out for themselves.

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LuckyR
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Re: Does Pornography Qualify as Art?

Post by LuckyR » May 26th, 2015, 4:28 pm

Logic_ill wrote:`That's where the detail lies. How willingly are people performing sex acts on and off camera???

Is pornography art? It might be, but it usually has one intention: arouse its viewers. It is the strongest drive people could cash on, other than food and drink.

The problem I might see with pornography is with the younger generations who might be developing unhealthy sexualities upon viewing these sexual depictions, and of course whether the people on camera are willingly performing these sex acts. If the viewers of pornography are young, they might be aroused by the pornography they see and that may fuel unhealthy lusts, which they might not have had, had they not seen the pornography. Pornography is suggestive and invites people to explore the sexual ideas depicted. It might give the viewers wrong ideas about how people in real life actually court one another and have sex. It's unrealistic. The younger ones might grow up with these over the top ideas of sexuality, and have trouble feeling satisfied if they do not get to experience what they see. On the other hand, it might make them immune to the BS. I guess it's a matter of studying its effects and of making people aware of them, if they have not figured it out for themselves.
There is no information that porn actors are performing against their will. True they likely hate their jobs but that is more common than it's opposite within most workplaces.

If you substitute violence or murder in all references within your last paragraph and use your logic to evaluate Super Hero films, you'd be laughed off of the stage. The psychological evidence backing up your concerns is tepid at best and the effects (I agree there is a slight impact) mild enough to require some effort to appreciate them in a research setting, they are likely unmeasurable in Real Life (without research controls).

None of the above answers the OP's question about pron and "art", though.
"As usual... it depends."

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UniversalAlien
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Re: Does Pornography Qualify as Art?

Post by UniversalAlien » May 26th, 2015, 4:32 pm

Yes, I agree, and have pointed out, there are still moral and ethical issues even in our anything goes paradigm of societies new world order of morality. But now back to the issue of is pornography art? What is art? I will not give a definition since almost anything could be art. If we say film and filmography is art than of course the depiction of sex of any sort may be art and the skills of both the actors and cameramen is an art - anyone with a modern cell phone can film sex - but the quality of a home video is unlikely to rate - but better quality, porn movies would require the artists touch. Back in the 1970s a man named Gerard Damiano made a name for himself by taking your backroom type stag film and producing and turning it into a quality production. I can remember a block long line of well dressed New Yorker's standing in line to see the classic movie 'Deep Throat' in the '70s as court rulings then allowed it to be shown to the general public with adult age being the only restriction. Followed by the also classic ''The Devil in Miss Jones', Damiano became the profit of what you can now call The Adult Film Industry - And irregardless of whether you like this form of entertainment, it is obvious that it is an art to depict it - and the ability to depict anything well, including sex, on film is most definitely an art :!:

“One man's pornography is another man's theology.”
― Clive Barker

PS: On the issue of morality and what is obscenity it was in the 70s when in the same year I can remember seeing the 'Exorcist' and 'The Devil in Miss Jones' - To me The Exorcist' was a vulgar, obscene movie that never should have been made - And on the other hand 'The Devil in Miss Jones' was a great work of adult film art. The fact that people would let their children see a movie like 'the Exorcist' and not think twice about it while on the other hand complaining about children being subjected to sexuality in media just reflects the still distorted aesthetic values of our civilization :!:

-- Updated May 26th, 2015, 12:47 pm to add the following --

LuckyR wrote:
There is no information that porn actors are performing against their will. True they likely hate their jobs but that is more common than it's opposite within most workplaces.
On this I disagree - The better porn actors probably love their jobs - are psychologically orientated to a sexual exhibitionist mentality - And the better porn films reflect the love of the actors for their work.

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Hereandnow
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Re: Does Pornography Qualify as Art?

Post by Hereandnow » May 26th, 2015, 5:18 pm

Supine:
But if pornography is indeed an art what kind of art is it, and are the effects positive or good? Can pornography when judged from a secular point of analysis even be an amoral or a-ethical issue?
Questions about what it is that qualifies art to be art are squarely in the purview of art philosophers. Arthur is very helpful here where he explains:

"What in the end makes the difference between a Brillo box and a work of art consisting of a Brillo box is a certain theory of art... without the theory, one is unlikely to see it as art, and in order to see it as part of the artworld, one must have mastered a good deal of artistic theory as well as a considerable amount of the history of recent New York painting."

Look at a cloud formation and it's just a cloud as long as you're seeing it as a cloud. But go into another interpretative mode and it's a camel, a clown, etc. Art is born here, at this juncture where objects are reconstrued, differently conceived. Danto calls this the Artworld.


So, pornography? Conceived as a stimulus for sex, I think it's not art. But take it up as art, as you might take up a piece of driftwood and set it on you mantle, then it's art. the question then is, is just any new contextual bearing intrinsically artistic? How do you identify what is an inherently artful reconstrual from what something else, like, say, an intellectual one (especially given the ambiguity of conceptual art)?

-- Updated May 26th, 2015, 5:18 pm to add the following --

That's Arthur Danto

Logic_ill
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Re: Does Pornography Qualify as Art?

Post by Logic_ill » May 26th, 2015, 5:55 pm

I think that performing sex on camera against ones will, can include various forms of coercion: exploitation of someone's drug addiction, poverty, gullibility, weakness or vulnerability, age differences, sex addiction, masochism, etc. The same goes for sex off camera.

Regarding if pornography can qualify as art, I would say that some people can consider it an art form. I don't, even though I admit it has its effects on me. Under other circumstances (not having been spied on), I would not share that I've watched pornography. There's something about it that I find a bit distasteful. It may be that I feel it brings out the animal aspect in us. I would not make pornos, if I had a choice among all the art forms. I would not feel good about myself for trying to arouse people. I somehow feel that porn gives men more license to be crude, as if they weren't crude enough. :) But that's my experience, what I've been exposed to in my personal life. I cannot speak of women because I've only had experiences with men. I personally like people who bother to cultivate their personalities and are creative, kind, and fun. I do not like men to talk about their intimacies with me or I with them, if I am not attracted to them, or if I know them in person.

I could tell you one thing though, I would try to keep my children or any child under my care as far away from porn as possible. I would not purposefully expose them to pornography. If they happen to see it, I wouldn't go crazy either but try to talk about what might be its negative effects. They might not necessarily be terrible effects, but just in case.

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UniversalAlien
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Re: Does Pornography Qualify as Art?

Post by UniversalAlien » May 27th, 2015, 6:06 am

While most might agree that pornography might be considered art by some and that might depend on what they consider art to be, a more important issue has not been addressed - POLITICS AND THE POLITICS OF ART. When the Nazis controlled Germany any art they did not like might be confiscated and/or destroyed. The Church too is notorious for censoring and/or burning books they did not approve of. Up until relatively recent times you could be arrested and charged with a serious crime for even possessing what today you can watch on the internet often for free - Has morality changed that much? Or is it that the hypocrisy of so-called morality been exposed for what it is? How is it that killing, maiming, torturing, and vampires, zombies can pass as film art and yet these so called moralists will still claim that pornography is immoral :?:

As I see it this is a very long {maybe hundreds or even thousands of years} war between naturalists, pagans and witches with the false morality of organized religion - notorious for torturing and burning witches to death. Evey major porno site today is in essence an extension of an on-going bacchanal extending back to ancient Greece and popular among witches during the middle ages:
The Bacchanalia were Roman festivals of Bacchus, based on various ecstatic elements of the Greek Dionysia. They seem to have been popular, and well-organised, throughout the central and southern Italian peninsula. They were almost certainly associated with Rome's native cult of Liber, and probably arrived in Rome itself around 200 BC but like all mystery religions of the ancient world, very little is known of their rites.
Of course the Sabbat of witches might also be considered and the implied sexual freedoms in nature cult religions is well documented. Those who oppose freedom and the right of Humans to own their own body will of course never see sexual freedom as a right - let alone any other freedom as a Human right - As the agenda of religious fundamentalists and political socialist is similar - to own and control - These advocates of sexual moral control can be seen in porn sites in the BDSM category sub-category slave and master - They use their morality to claim mastery over you - the slave. Pornography does indeed reflect life doesn't it? And do you know what?- it is real - And every day it runs with limited censorship on the internet it is a direct celebration of the freedom of Man :!: So though its art value might be questioned and relative to the observer - Its political value should never be underestimated - And if it is not your thing and you don't like it don't watch it. And to those who claim it is sexism and anti-feminine, I say just the opposite - Pornography as a whole is the strongest feminist statement ever made - and many of its directors and producers are today women.

"Pornography is human imagination in tense theatrical action; its violations are a protest against the violations of our freedom by nature."
-Camille Anna Paglia

"Pornography is the quadraphonics of sex. It adds a third and fourth track to the sexual act. It is the hallucination of detail that rules. Science has already habituated us to this microscopics, this excess of the real in its microscopic detail, this voyeurism of exactitude."
-Jean Baudrillard

"Pornographers are the enemies of women only because our contemporary ideology of pornography does not encompass the possibility of change, as if we were the slaves of history and not its makers. Pornography is a satire on human pretensions." — Angela Carter

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Re: Does Pornography Qualify as Art?

Post by Lagayscienza » May 27th, 2015, 8:22 am

UniversalAlien wrote:Those who oppose freedom and the right of Humans to own their own body will of course never see sexual freedom as a right - let alone any other freedom as a Human right - As the agenda of religious fundamentalists and political socialist is similar - to own and control - These advocates of sexual moral control can be seen in porn sites in the BDSM category sub-category slave and master - They use their morality to claim mastery over you - the slave.
UA, I don't see how you can come to the conclusion that "the agenda of religious fundamentalists and political socialist is similar". Those on the political left are generally more relaxed about sex and censorship than the religious crazies who make up a large chunk of the political right.

I think you're reading more into the porn business than is there - particularly as far as the political left is concerned. As far as I can see, porn is made because it sells. It sells because it fascinates and titivates and helps some folks get their rocks off. As a humanist with socialist leanings I make no moral judgments about what consenting adults do with their bodies or what they enjoy watching providing it harms no one else. Those on the political right are usually far less relaxed about it.
La gaya Scienza

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Re: Does Pornography Qualify as Art?

Post by Greta » May 27th, 2015, 9:08 am

We're animals. We like sex - even if it is a kind of ridiculous and undignified activity. For instance, I find it hard to imagine Albert Einstein or Marie Curie getting their rocks off, but no doubt they did. I think people make huge mountains out of molehills when it comes to rooting. It's obsessive and immature.

Inequity, environment, our relationship with the rest of nature, directing our tech progress, maintaining morale in difficult times - that's important. A couple of post-apes having a crack at each other is utter trivia.

There is only one question to ask re: morality in sex - is there power imbalance leading to exploitation? No doubt that would include the nastier parts of the porn industry. The rest is just people seeking stimulation as a little oasis in this increasingly controlled world.
The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated—Gandhi.

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Re: Does Pornography Qualify as Art?

Post by LuckyR » May 27th, 2015, 12:51 pm

Greta wrote:We're animals. We like sex - even if it is a kind of ridiculous and undignified activity. For instance, I find it hard to imagine Albert Einstein or Marie Curie getting their rocks off, but no doubt they did. I think people make huge mountains out of molehills when it comes to rooting. It's obsessive and immature.

Inequity, environment, our relationship with the rest of nature, directing our tech progress, maintaining morale in difficult times - that's important. A couple of post-apes having a crack at each other is utter trivia.

There is only one question to ask re: morality in sex - is there power imbalance leading to exploitation? No doubt that would include the nastier parts of the porn industry. The rest is just people seeking stimulation as a little oasis in this increasingly controlled world.
A great case of: "yeah, but..."

Yeah, but we aren't discussing sex, we're considering erotica, the depiction of sex, not sex itself. Personally my answer to the OP's "does pornography qualify as art?" is : generally no, but it can.
"As usual... it depends."

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Hereandnow
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Re: Does Pornography Qualify as Art?

Post by Hereandnow » May 27th, 2015, 1:33 pm

"generally no, but it can".

true, but it can no less than anything else. Duchamp?

Jklint
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Re: Does Pornography Qualify as Art?

Post by Jklint » May 27th, 2015, 2:05 pm

In one of Montaigne's essays he described the sex act as so funny and ludicrous that God did that on purpose to give himself a laugh. God as pornographer with a sense of humor.

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Re: Does Pornography Qualify as Art?

Post by UniversalAlien » May 27th, 2015, 3:42 pm

Jklint wrote:In one of Montaigne's essays he described the sex act as so funny and ludicrous that God did that on purpose to give himself a laugh. God as pornographer with a sense of humor.
Art is in the eye of the beholder - But sex is a very powerful force - Sigmund Freud thought it was behind much of Human behavior, often acting on a subconscious level. And isn't much of art sublimated sex :?: Because sex may be driving Human behavior in more ways than the obvious, and because it is such a powerful force, there will always be those who will try to control it - Western religions being an obvious example of this. This new experiment in sexual freedom and expression {ie. pornography} being shown to the masses may have effects that we can only guess at - there can be good effects in that it may liberate some -- but, like in many other things, a dark side remains - As religion exploits sex for control - some in the adult film industry may also be exploiting people. But you see that's the real problem, not sex or pornography, but exploitation itself - Man is a species that relentlessly exploits his own kind :!:

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Re: Does Pornography Qualify as Art?

Post by Jklint » May 27th, 2015, 5:39 pm

UniversalAlien wrote:
Jklint wrote:In one of Montaigne's essays he described the sex act as so funny and ludicrous that God did that on purpose to give himself a laugh. God as pornographer with a sense of humor.
Art is in the eye of the beholder - But sex is a very powerful force - Sigmund Freud thought it was behind much of Human behavior, often acting on a subconscious level. And isn't much of art sublimated sex :?: Because sex may be driving Human behavior in more ways than the obvious, and because it is such a powerful force, there will always be those who will try to control it - Western religions being an obvious example of this.
I agree. I already touched on some of these aspects in post #196 with the sex drive as a function of hormones. That has implications but no one was interested. I'm strictly into writing one liners or at most very short paragraphs because more than that is a waste of time.

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