April 19th, 2006

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12:48 am - on the arts, time and world civilization...

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on the arts, time and world civilization... - graffiti.maverick — LiveJournal

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[User Picture]From: kenoubi Date: April 19th, 2006 - 05:45 am (Link)
I prefer to define art as that which is produced with the intention of its having æsthetic value. Æsthetic value I would define as that valued for its own sake, not as the means to some further end. I realize this leads to a few strange cases—most notably, are many/most instances of sex art?—but I prefer to bite the bullet and say that they are. More interestingly, it nearly obliterates the distinction between art and craft, but I prefer that anyway, since I've always thought that distinction was created by Fine Arts practitioners so they could look down their noses at the plebeian craftsmen.

I don't see any reason that pop culture or counterculture can't be art (and in fact, I think that many instances of them are). Isn't counterculture really just pop culture for rebels, anyway? Perhaps by pop culture you meant mass-market culture, but even that seems to blend pretty seamlessly with counterculture these days.

Strictly speaking, of course, many countercultural artifacts are created more to convey ideas than for the sheer enjoyment of contemplating them, and are thereby at least partially propaganda rather than art. I do think there's room for gradations as to how artistic something is.
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: April 20th, 2006 - 02:06 am (Link)
interesting... so are you arguing that a piece meant to convey a statement, or to cause someone to think about an idea isn't art? I think most "artists" would disagree. Not that that makes you wrong or right. I'd just be curious as to more of your thinking along that line.

Key in point, if I paint an image meant to tell the conveyor that I hate the gulf war, or I paint a piece depicting the crucifiction, I am certainly not just creating something for the sake of it being valued on its own merit. I am trying to convince the viewer of my leftist or christian viewpoint, right? It would be, as you said, propoganda. But does that make it non-artistic?
[User Picture]From: max1975 Date: April 20th, 2006 - 03:03 am (Link)
interesting... so are you arguing that a piece meant to convey a statement, or to cause someone to think about an idea isn't art? I think most "artists" would disagree.

I have a lot of sympathy for this point of view. I think when art is used to convey a specific message, it has a tendency to, well...to suck. Again, one could write volumes. But to try and simplify, I think art has the power to communicate a whole lot more than whatever idea the artist has in mind when he makes it. When this power is consciously appropriated to serve the artist's ideology, rather than unleashed to its full potential, the result is often quite tacky.

That said, there's a clearly a lot of stuff with ideological content that is also great art (and actually, it's not ideological content doesn't bother me, it's preaching). And the tacky stuff wouldn't bother me so much if it weren't art being subjugated.
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: April 20th, 2006 - 10:43 am (Link)
tacky or no, it would still be art though. And besides, I agree with you, a piece can coney a lot more than the artists intention, but that's still not "being appreciated only for its own intrinsic aesthetic value," ya know? So I guess what I was getting at is what you said in the second paragraph, I don't think preachiness and artisticness are mutually exclusive.... if anything its just annoying.
[User Picture]From: kenoubi Date: April 20th, 2006 - 12:34 pm (Link)
Well, first off, most “artists” would definitely consider some things to be art that I think are very marginal examples—“found art”, for example, which I think might well be less artistic than your average five-year-old's crayon drawing. So, I don't necessarily think that's a reliable guide.

You could have simply written the sentence “I hate the Gulf War” instead of painting an image to express it. So, the painting might be art, but it clearly isn't art solely in virtue of expressing that sentiment; the sentence does that too, and it isn't art. Something else has to be what makes the painting artistic, and I'd say that that something else is those attributes of the painting that would make it valuable on its own merit.

Fundamentally, the expressive view of art has never been very compelling to me. Sure, most art does express something (and perhaps all art could be “interpreted” as expressing something), but too many things that aren't art express things also for that to be what makes art distinctive.
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: April 20th, 2006 - 08:52 pm (Link)
that's actually pretty insightful. So you're saying that art can have meaning or not, but that's not the distinguishing factor. I actually like that a lot.

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