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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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Burning ghost
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Re: good art and bad art?

Post by Burning ghost » October 6th, 2018, 4:46 am

Sausage Dog -

That is precisely why I don’t class “conceptual art” as art at all. It is an unfortinate label to put on it. That said I don’t think that kind of work is utterly pointless because it is an exercise in thought and interpretation.

My rule is quite easy when it comes to recognising art. If you walk into a room and recognise something as art then it is art. That doesn’t make a toilet a piece of art yet someone coudl walk into a bathroom and appreciate the shape of a toilet bowl and see something behind the form of this mundane object.
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Hereandnow
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Re: good art and bad art?

Post by Hereandnow » October 6th, 2018, 9:41 am

Dashchund
So, to conclude. I think a piece of art can be justly rated as "good" when the overwhelming majority of rational, well-educated (Western) adults who have examined it, - again over a considerable period of time, say, 3 to 4 centuries, for instance-, state that in their considered opinion, the objet d'art in question is either, pleasingly beautiful, or, delightfully/pleasantly sublime, but not astoundingly or remarkably so.
This is Mill's argument. Better to be a pig satisfied or a philosopher unsatisfied? What he had in mind was that the common things in life and the superior things, the ones only ones of cultivated taste know about, are both known by the cultivated ones, while the common person only knows common things. Those of taste and culture know very well about the accessible indulgences of life, and they choose live the cultured life, not the easy one, the rowdy nights of beer drinking, mud fights on the beach and so on.
But, and this really is to the point of art and its appreciation, is the nuanced interpretation of a Kandinsky by some aficionado truly superior to a good mud fight? I think a good mud fight requires good mud fighters, just as good art interpretation requires a good education in visual arts. A good mud fighter is healthy, strong, young at heart, free of the burden education imposes on an original mind (still wandering around in "clouds of glory?)
The idea is that high brow interpretation certainly does have its satisfaction, but when the dust has settled, the measurement of utility generated, the raw aesthetic, if you will, I don't think the art aficionado wins this contest. And the rock and roller half naked and high as a kite hanging from a flag pole during a concert is having the time of her life, is she not?
Unless you consider that art can take us closer to god, to something sublime and profound about being human and these things are intimated in study and inform discriminating taste. That is another matter. Where are these "clouds of glory" anyway? When Wordsworth was a child wandering about the moors, he had little interpretative training.

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Re: good art and bad art?

Post by Dachshund » October 6th, 2018, 10:35 am

You are conflating the experience of base, materialist hedonic "pleasures of the flesh" with the experience of "bone fide" aesthetic pleasure. These two categories of pleasure are fundamentally different and thus manifest themselves in qualitatively distinct states of consciousness. Unlike the perception of phenomena (natural or artificial) that possess genuine aesthetic value in terms of their being conspicuously beautiful or sublime (as Burke and Kant understood the later term), mud-fighting on a beach, alcoholic carousing and drug-fuelled rock and rolling at a " Metallica" concert are not examples of activities that evoke spiritually/"intellectually"/soulfully pleasurable states of mind.

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Re: good art and bad art?

Post by Hereandnow » October 6th, 2018, 11:14 am

I think we tend to exercise a certain cultural bias when we downplay such things as mud fights n the beach. But as to how deeply meaningful such a thing is is entirely up to the individual. Affairs strictly of the viscera, if you will, are not what I am talking about. One has to try to imagine the intensity of the joy of being in the moment, free. As to alcohol and rock and roll, errrrr, ok, these are fun but not interesting to me, really.

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Greta
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Re: good art and bad art?

Post by Greta » October 6th, 2018, 5:41 pm

Dachshund wrote:
October 6th, 2018, 4:39 am
In short, these kind of disgusting, repellent and extremely distasteful things ...
After a moment of disorientation I realised that I was not was reading your autobiography :)

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Re: good art and bad art?

Post by ThomasHobbes » October 7th, 2018, 5:33 am

Dachshund wrote:
October 6th, 2018, 10:35 am
, mud-fighting on a beach, alcoholic carousing and drug-fuelled rock and rolling at a " Metallica" concert are not examples of activities that evoke spiritually/"intellectually"/soulfully pleasurable states of mind.
********.
You've never lived.

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Re: good art and bad art?

Post by ThomasHobbes » October 7th, 2018, 5:34 am

"B O L L O C K S"
(above)

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Re: good art and bad art?

Post by Hereandnow » October 7th, 2018, 9:45 am

I should probably weigh in just to unmuddy what I said, because when I said high as a kite, I was not referring so much to alcohol. Alcohol is limited. It can make a person feel the rapture of release for a while, and I DO appreciate this. But it has nothing beyond this and I think it undermines the quality of experience, which is my biggest complaint. You may be throwing yourself around the beach in drunken rapture, but this is NOT an important experience. Just fun.
Important experiences are very different things. getting high on mescaline or marijuana, now this gets interesting and, as Aldous Huxley once said, it can remove experiential boundaries, revealing something of what Jaspers called a heightened sense of Being. (If you have strong prejudices against this kind of talk, you will want to avert your attention, .....or argue your case.)Then there is my defense of what I will call the natural emotional states of mind in a child, as when she is riotously throwing mud across the sand at friends. This has purity, an original bliss.
But I have to admit, these classical poets and "artists of the soul," in general, the romantics, have their finger on the pulse of something, at once, far greater, and yet intimate with and at one with this innocence. My thoughts are pretty strong on this: The artist of this ilk are reflective, and are removed from engagement, and when a person does this, it CAN (everyone is different) lead to a dismantling of the structures of experience that keep orthodox interpretations in place. That is, it can bring on a kind of destructive madness that undoes the world, a first step to transcendental awareness.

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Re: good art and bad art?

Post by Dachshund » October 7th, 2018, 10:56 pm

Greta wrote:
October 6th, 2018, 5:41 pm
Dachshund wrote:
October 6th, 2018, 4:39 am
In short, these kind of disgusting, repellent and extremely distasteful things ...
After a moment of disorientation I realised that I was not was reading your autobiography :)
When, in the mid-1980s, a British television journalist asked the Duke of Sutherland for his personal opinion of Sarah Ferguson, the Duke said to the camera, "I have only three words for that woman"; and as it happens, they are exactly the same three words I would use myself to sum YOU up, Miss Greta, i.e:

"VULGAR, VULGAR, VULGAR !"

You are skating on very thin ice, my dear. If I hear any more cheek or disrespect from you, a damn good birching is what you will receive!

Regards

Dachshund

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Greta
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Re: good art and bad art?

Post by Greta » October 7th, 2018, 11:58 pm

Sausage Man, while the banter would be jolly good fun, I would rather read your response to Hereandnow's post above given that, when you are not foaming at the mouth over that which you can't control, you have at times intelligently referenced German existentialists.

PS. My mother would be pleased by your comment (if she has retained a presence in reality somehow) - she was always a fan and purveyor of bawdy humour.

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Burning ghost
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Re: good art and bad art?

Post by Burning ghost » October 8th, 2018, 1:31 am

Sausage Dog -

I will read that one day. It does sound like something that would really interest me. Thanks :)

As for the apparent slight on Metallica (?) here is something that may help you understand a pleasureable state of mind if you plug in and and close your eyes and listen to the beautiful music: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=WEQnzs8wl6E

Music is very much about taste and exposure. It took me some time to get into Metallica. The pathway in was through the song Nothing Else Matters and that eventually led into death metal - within this genre of music though I was very particular about what I listened to (Couldn’t stomach Slayer because the singer’s voice didn’t sit well with me at all.)

I do find it a strange thign to deal with when measuring technical appreciation against taste. Even though I can appreciate the talent invloved in some songs that doesn’t make them aesthetically appealing to me (Steve Vai is one guy whose music, for the most part, I found self-indulgent and vapid even though it required a obviously high technical ability.)

I like to think I’m in reasonably strong position to judge different musical genres given that at the age of around 17 I once went out and bought albums by Carcass, Kate Bush, Bjork and Beethoven.

The thing with music is aesthetics can so easily get caught up in nostalgia. Given how our memory functions in relation to music what we may think is an aesthetically pleasing tune may turn out to be nothing more than a happy memory clothed in auditory garb - that brings up a whole other debate though if you go further into it!
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Re: good art and bad art?

Post by Dachshund » October 8th, 2018, 5:39 am

BG,

The problem I have with Death Metal apart from its sickening atonality is that its lyrical content very often deals with themes that I personally regard to be evil (i.e; profoundly immoral). I am talking about Satanism, demonic possession, stylised "Slasher Film"- type violence, black magic/occultism, dark mysticism, loathsome images of horror like those found in H.P. Lovecraft's weird fiction, the description of extremely wicked and/or depraved acts like rape, mutilation, "surgical" dissection in terms of decapitation, disembowelment and so on, necrophilia, torture, cannibalism, the killing/desecration/abuse of children-innocence, etc;

You will think I am superstitious and old-fashioned, but I believe anyone who makes a habit of exposing themselves to this kind of outrageously profane evil imagery and symbolism is playing with fire - it is, IMO, a VERY dangerous thing to do.


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Burning ghost
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Re: good art and bad art?

Post by Burning ghost » October 8th, 2018, 6:02 am

Sausage Dog -

Very true. They certainly tend deal with themes you’re unlikely to see in pop-music! Under the lyrics, if they happen to be as you said, there is still good music. I am not going to pretend the first time I heard Death Metal I thought wow! I didn’t. A friend of mine found appeal in the heavier stuff and through exposure I then began to appreciate it.

I do think a lot of it is simply about sticking up the middle finger at the clergy and relgious institutes. There is undoubtedly something in there that taps into our destructive sensibilities (Dionysus is a reflection of the human spirit like it or not!)

I think I mentioned Cannibal Corpse before in passing. Their song about a serial rapist certainly leaves little to be desired. It’s looking at something dark within us all although I am not sure they made the song to do anything other tha offend? No idea. The effect on me is quite profound though. It’s a very stark look into the sociopath within who simply does without remorse baffled by the judgement of others.

Anyway, it’s not white noise,
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Greta
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Re: good art and bad art?

Post by Greta » October 8th, 2018, 5:52 pm

Dachshund wrote:
October 8th, 2018, 5:39 am
BG,

The problem I have with Death Metal apart from its sickening atonality is that its lyrical content very often deals with themes that I personally regard to be evil (i.e; profoundly immoral). I am talking about Satanism, demonic possession, stylised "Slasher Film"- type violence, black magic/occultism, dark mysticism, loathsome images of horror like those found in H.P. Lovecraft's weird fiction, the description of extremely wicked and/or depraved acts like rape, mutilation, "surgical" dissection in terms of decapitation, disembowelment and so on, necrophilia, torture, cannibalism, the killing/desecration/abuse of children-innocence, etc;

You will think I am superstitious and old-fashioned, but I believe anyone who makes a habit of exposing themselves to this kind of outrageously profane evil imagery and symbolism is playing with fire - it is, IMO, a VERY dangerous thing to do.
Old farts whining about the young. There's a surprise. You know, I was always aware of the danger of becoming an intolerant old fart. But disco annoyed me - I preferred live music. Then there was bar-lowering 80s pop. Then grunge, which was just a 60s revival with less flair, improvisation and passion. Then rap - machines and talk. Meanwhile metal had moved on from the bluesy raunch of Black Sabbath to something reflective of the increasingly loud and industrial nature of society.

I did not want to become an old fart like you and many others but, truth be told, I have almost no time for any of these forms. Increasingly with age I seek the beautiful and gentle in music. Old fart music. Oh well. Still, I don't judge the young. Good on 'em. Like any of us, they are being shaped by their environment and responding to it as best they can. They are the young that we built with our choices - choices to cut public education and other self interested decisions dictated by multinationals and their billionaires.

Humans were once the top dog. We are now being displaced by machines - because that's what multinational companies are. We are yet to wake up to what is effectively AI that we have already created and is already assuming control. Young people today are increasingly in despair and a state of uncertainty. The usual paths that we trod like our parents and those before us are fragmenting - work, accommodation, relationships, even the polities.

They don't know what the future holds as the climate changes and resistance to taking action about it in the halls of power is becoming ever more staunch without proper explanation why. You hear nonsense about rising bills, as if nation-building, or any investment - did not come at an initial cost. A decision not to change the power mix until it can be done without raising prices means the government has no intention of acting seriously on the issue at all.

The young see all this and many hold little hope for the future as they struggle to pay high rents while working casually in hospitality. Heavy metal, angry rapping and vacuous escapism strike me as understandable, if not optimal, responses.

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Re: good art and bad art?

Post by Hereandnow » 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.

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