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pdr
04-24-2007, 07:53 AM
‘Art is not a special class of things, but a special way of relating to things,’... the primary assumption of Carey’s thesis which holds that ‘art is anything that anyone has ever considered a work of art, though it maybe a work of art only for that one person.’

From a review on Professor John Carey’s latest book, 'What Good are the Arts?'

I like it!

ColoradoGuy
04-24-2007, 08:06 PM
So if you call what you write poetry, you are a poet simply through the act of naming?

robeiae
04-24-2007, 08:27 PM
Ya, such an approach pretty much makes the term meaningless, and therefore useless.

I don't like it.

LaceWing
04-24-2007, 11:05 PM
So if you
call what you
write poetry, you

are a poet
simply through

the act of
naming?



.

robeiae
04-24-2007, 11:46 PM
Excellent, LaceWing...both the composition and the point.

pdr
04-25-2007, 12:04 PM
So if you call what you write

Not calling it but believing it.

Any Dick or Jane has as much right as a self styled 'expert' to decide what is art for them.

Sohia Rose
04-25-2007, 12:08 PM
This reminds me of something I read in philosophy class: What is art? Pretty much what the artist says it is.

McDuff
04-26-2007, 02:08 AM
When asked whether his work was "art", Damien Hirst replied: "of course it is, it's hanging in a bloody art gallery, innit?"

To date, nobody has ever been able to convincingly argue that Hirst was wrong.

Further, I don't really see why expanding the treatment of art out as pdr has done renders it meaningless at all. So what if everything can be art? Is there is a compelling reason why it should not be?

robeiae
04-26-2007, 02:48 AM
What does "artistic" mean, then? "Artful"?

What's the point of surrendering the meaning? I don't get it. If we try hard, we can make precision a meaningless term, too.

Higgins
04-26-2007, 03:16 AM
When asked whether his work was "art", Damien Hirst replied: "of course it is, it's hanging in a bloody art gallery, innit?"

To date, nobody has ever been able to convincingly argue that Hirst was wrong.

Further, I don't really see why expanding the treatment of art out as pdr has done renders it meaningless at all. So what if everything can be art? Is there is a compelling reason why it should not be?

I'm sure if eveyone had Hirst's abilities, there would be a lot more art. The competition might be interesting, of course you have to wonder about who would pick and chose what and why and then you'd be back to something other than Hirst's infinitely justifiable (but perhaps not very enlightening) "entropic" (his word for his own collection at Toddington Manor) accumulation and people might articulate something about their choices.

What if there were some less infinitely justifiable way of making choices in the descriptions of objects? Or in collecting them? Suppose there were objects that might be miss-identified? Note that the market value of objects that have been through the Hirst-Saatchi cycle is dependent on their having been collected in one way or another by Hirst or Saatchi and even that does not remain sufficient since Hirst had to sign some of his stuff to sell (for example things from the Pharmacy restaurant collection)
for 11 million pounds.

Anyway, to say "everything is art and why shouldn't it be?" doesn't offer any method for resolving any real questions about any particular object or its social nature.

Higgins
04-26-2007, 03:23 AM
What does "artistic" mean, then? "Artful"?

What's the point of surrendering the meaning? I don't get it. If we try hard, we can make precision a meaningless term, too.

When meanings seem to disappear, it is because the same evaluations are being actively pursued in other social terms.

Taking McDuff's evocation of the Saatchi-Hirst cycle (which goes Saatchi buys Hirstian objects and then sells them for a lot more)...we can see that when meaning disappears from term A (call it AR**** or "ar" followed by any number of more "artistic" letters) it reappears in term $HC or money flowing in the prototypical Saatchi-Hirst cycle where one buys "meaningless" objects to acquire pure social prestige.

McDuff
04-26-2007, 05:05 AM
I'm not saying everything is art, I'm saying it all can be. And "art" as a noun suffers from a terrible burden of having to share its letters with an adjective which means, basically, "a made thing which I think is pretty" (we exclude the natural world from art -- art is always something a human being does).

I mean, seriously, let's consider this. This is art (http://a451.ac-images.myspacecdn.com/01140/05/42/1140692450_l.jpg). So is this (http://www.iandury.co.uk/discfrm.html), this (http://www.albertadirectory.net/actws/Images/PhotoContest/2001/Scenic/JMao-Montana%20Landscape.jpg), this (http://www.ikea.com/PIAimages/51134_PE150697_S3.jpg), this (http://www.tate.org.uk/collection/T/T07/T07406_9.jpg), this (http://www.shroud.com/shrdbig2.jpg), this (http://www.damox.com/cars/thumbs/Ferrari/Ferrari_Enzo_pink.jpg), this (http://a57.ac-images.myspacecdn.com/images01/26/l_b004861d8f2feca77cfe03947bd246c8.jpg), this (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/c/cc/433score.jpg), this (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0209163/), this (http://www.oxfordtube.com/assets/london/underground_map.jpg) and this (http://www.jeffreyarcher.co.uk/images/bookcovers/enlargements/honour-theives.jpg). Some of this is world-changing, some of it is totally frivolous, some is good, some is bad. So what? What would we gain by saying any of it isn't? What, for that matter, do we gain by saying that it is? Why does it matter that any of these things are art? Why does it matter that things which are similar are not art?

To look at rob's terms, I think they cover two sides of the simple art coin. "Artistic" is, in my experienced, used to describe something done in a particularly pleasing way, "artful" used to describe something done with noticeable skill. That these terms are often used to describe an aspect of something which the speaker does not identify as art serves only to highlight that there is art to be recognised in all human endeavour.

Sokal is right in that saying "everything can be art" is doesn't resolve any real questions about individual objects, but then neither does holding every object up to the light and labelling it "ART" or "NOT-ART". It's a nebulous concept that is used to convey a set of value-judgements that are inherently entirely subjective. It's self evident that what appeals to one person's artistic sense will differ from another's, and that simply because of this we cannot define it meaningfully aside from the subjective experience of the individual.

Where we can meaningfully make the rubber hit the tarmac is in the appreciation of individual works, be our verdict on them that they are sublime and beautiful or a load of old tosh. It's in the details that works of art achieve their effects, not in the general inclusion into a category so broad nobody can reasonably dictate where it ends.

ned
04-26-2007, 05:27 AM
Although I'm on the cusp of geezerhood, I returned to college last year to get a degree (tech writing). In the first class I attended, a literature class, we were asked to write an essay on "Beauty." Sure, it's trite, but it was challenging. In the end, the whole class had to compile answers and come up with a definintion that included things we all agreed on.

So naturally the list was a long one, and ended up being more a list of ingredients than a definition, but the exercise made me think.

To me, beauty is truth. Art, for me to admire it, must incorporate a universal truth that anyone can access.

So it naturally follows that it's a truth, universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.

And that, too, is art.

Silver King
04-26-2007, 05:34 AM
What was the name of that judge who said he couldn't describe pornography, yet he knew it when he saw it?

That's what art is.

Higgins
04-26-2007, 05:41 AM
Sokal is right in that saying "everything can be art" is doesn't resolve any real questions about individual objects, but then neither does holding every object up to the light and labelling it "ART" or "NOT-ART". It's a nebulous concept that is used to convey a set of value-judgements that are inherently entirely subjective. It's self evident that what appeals to one person's artistic sense will differ from another's, and that simply because of this we cannot define it meaningfully aside from the subjective experience of the individual.



This "subjectivity" is entirely in terms of what happens to pass through the various contexts of whatever box full of Western Civ you happen to be soaking in. Just to gain a little perspective, I always find it useful to try to look at all artiality as an Art of some kind, where the dreaded capital that signals abstraction to some actually signals an ellided attempt at making the generality and the subjectivity into something concrete with a non-subjective history that asymptotically approaches the incredibly elaborate. For example in a thread below in this subforum (called "A Beard of Mary Beards"), I put forward the idea of Classical Art as perhaps the most instructive case of relatively simple and generally forged and reconstructed objects that illuminate a whole series of Arts all more or less built out of the same repetoire of objects. Mary Beard herself in her book provides a vaguely D. Hirstian context with rooms full of reproductions of casts of dogs that died at Pompeii and so on. So there is a region of symbology (so to speak) where the evaluations that get juxtaposed are definitely aesthetic (at least in retrospect ...but then what musings and mullings over are not retrospective?)...So I think you can isolate some areas of symbolic comprehension and exchange that can only be adequately defined with reference to some objective schema of successive aesthetic juxtapositions and there you have your Art.

poetinahat
04-26-2007, 05:50 AM
This reminds me of something I read in philosophy class: What is art? Pretty much what the artist says it is.
I agree. I always believed it was intent, not observation, that defined a work as art; art has to be created intentionally as art, even if that act of creation involves finding an object and declaring it to be art. The finding is the creative act in that case.

Then again, that's a variation of the tree-falling-in-a-forest question. It means that everything is either art, or something waiting to be named as art.

*shrug*

LaceWing
04-26-2007, 05:59 AM
Who was it who originally discussed Unity, Complexity, Intensity as being the key aspects of artful works?

robeiae
04-26-2007, 06:01 AM
I'm not saying everything is art, I'm saying it all can be. And "art" as a noun suffers from a terrible burden of having to share its letters with an adjective which means, basically, "a made thing which I think is pretty" (we exclude the natural world from art -- art is always something a human being does).The final proposition is in arguably true, imo. A natural phenomenon is never art, by itself. However, you undo the first in your very next paragraph:
I mean, seriously, let's consider this. This is art (http://a451.ac-images.myspacecdn.com/01140/05/42/1140692450_l.jpg). So is this (http://www.iandury.co.uk/discfrm.html), this (http://www.albertadirectory.net/actws/Images/PhotoContest/2001/Scenic/JMao-Montana%20Landscape.jpg), this (http://www.ikea.com/PIAimages/51134_PE150697_S3.jpg), this (http://www.tate.org.uk/collection/T/T07/T07406_9.jpg), this (http://www.shroud.com/shrdbig2.jpg), this (http://www.damox.com/cars/thumbs/Ferrari/Ferrari_Enzo_pink.jpg), this (http://a57.ac-images.myspacecdn.com/images01/26/l_b004861d8f2feca77cfe03947bd246c8.jpg), this (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/c/cc/433score.jpg), this (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0209163/), this (http://www.oxfordtube.com/assets/london/underground_map.jpg) and this (http://www.jeffreyarcher.co.uk/images/bookcovers/enlargements/honour-theives.jpg).Basically, you have just assumed anything created is art. Now if that's the definition you want for art, then just spell it out. Under that definition, "what is art" is no longer subjective in the least. Anything man-made is art. End of story. Of course, that includes a McDonald's hamburger and the wrapper it came in. And even a discarded cigarette butt. Great.

But if that's where you want to be, have at it.

Me, I would prefer some standards from, at the very least, the perspective of intent. From there, we can at least know that something is supposed to be a work of art. Judging how good or how bad a work it is represents the subjective side. But even there, we can look at standards re skills.

What would we gain by saying any of it isn't? What, for that matter, do we gain by saying that it is? Why does it matter that any of these things are art? Why does it matter that things which are similar are not art?I don't know. Why does anything matter, then? Why does it matter if what I am sitting on is labeled a chair, a couch, a stool, or a dead cat? How about because having precise meanings for things allows us to communicate our sense of the world? Could you teach a child effectively if you allowed such a subjective use of terminology? Picture the child in a museum, looking at a painting. Would you tell that child that the painting and the tiled floor are categorically the same thing? Is that a good way to approach the world. Is it a good way to learn?

I realize the novelty of exploring the meanings of words like art and the thrill of deconstructing them into nothingness. It's an exercise of the intellect. But it doesn't mean the results produce a workable framework for a world view.

Higgins
04-26-2007, 06:06 AM
Me, I would prefer some standards from, at the very least, the perspective of intent.

I wonder why so many posters here introduce the idea of "intent" as if it resolved something else...(what?)...hovering in the background.

I don't understand the function of intent except as a way of excluding what the poster has not already imagined as whatever the intent applies to...and yet isn't the actual intent of defining methods for understanding that they allow you to make sense of things you have not seen before and whose intent is a mystery to be figured out?

robeiae
04-26-2007, 06:14 AM
I wonder why so many posters here introduce the idea of "intent" as if it resolved something else...(what?)...hovering in the background.For me, it merely serves as a basis for defining something that is created with a goal in mind, or as a basis for defining something that is used with a goal in mind, or both.

A white sheet with two holes cut in it is a white sheet with two holes cut in it. But if the intent is to drape it over yourself and look through the holes, while Trick-or-Treating, it is a costume. "Intent" is what gives this latter term applicability, both the intent of the treatment and the intent of the use.

Higgins
04-26-2007, 06:22 AM
I don't know. Why does anything matter, then? Why does it matter if what I am sitting on is labeled a chair, a couch, a stool, or a dead cat?

This thing about "labeling" is puzzling as well. Surely being able to specify one thing and not another is so elementry a task that it is very far from whatever might be involved in deciding what some peice of statuary (to revert to my "A Beard of Mary Beards" obsession with "Classical Art") is in various ways.

In fact in practice, our exemplary piece of statuary is likely to accrue quite a mass of labels. Let's say its a work that seems to be described in Pliny (there's a label) that gets dug up in Rome in the early 16th century. Let's say its erroneously labeled upon excavation ( and excavation is a bad label since it is really not until the 20th century...long, long after lots of "standards" have been set up...that anyone really knows how to excavate) as a Bacchus. In the 18th century a similar peice is found and reconstructed to look like Bacchus (though neither one was originally "intended" to be Bacchus) and sent off to England to be labeled as Bacchus. Though it might also be labeled as a copy or a forgery or a reconstruction or just very bad art.

Anyway...labelling doesn't seem to solve much on its own.

Higgins
04-26-2007, 06:26 AM
For me, it merely serves as a basis for defining something that is created with a goal in mind, or as a basis for defining something that is used with a goal in mind, or both.

A white sheet with two holes cut in it is a white sheet with two holes cut in it. But if the intent is to drape it over yourself and look through the holes, while Trick-or-Treating, it is a costume. "Intent" is what gives this latter term applicability, both the intent of the treatment and the intent of the use.

Curiously enough, there is a Mayan King whose name cannot be decyphered who is known as Caspar because one of the glyphs in his name looks like the proverbial "Friendly Ghost"...what's the intent there? How does "intent" help us at all when we just have an assemblage of objects to look at?

robeiae
04-26-2007, 06:38 AM
Curiously enough, there is a Mayan King whose name cannot be decyphered who is known as Caspar because one of the glyphs in his name looks like the proverbial "Friendly Ghost"...what's the intent there? How does "intent" help us at all when we just have an assemblage of objects to look at?Who said "intent" is the only factor? Who said it can always be known? Frankly, I'm not sure what your expectations are, but I think you're proceeding down this path for no reason.

How long do you stare at a piece of pie on a plate before you decide you can eat it?

robeiae
04-26-2007, 06:42 AM
This thing about "labeling" is puzzling as well. Surely being able to specify one thing and not another is so elementry a task that it is very far from whatever might be involved in deciding what some peice of statuary (to revert to my "A Beard of Mary Beards" obsession with "Classical Art") is in various ways.I'm not the one trying to generalize "art" into a catch-all for everything produced by man. And surely, you must recognize that specification and definition are two wholly different things. To say "this one" is in no way indicative of what "this" is.


Anyway...labelling doesn't seem to solve much on its own.Solve what?

Higgins
04-26-2007, 06:48 AM
I'm not the one trying to generalize "art" into a catch-all for everything produced by man. And surely, you must recognize that specification and definition are two wholly different things. To say "this one" is in no way indicative of what "this" is.

Solve what?


So...suppose you have all your labels. Everything is labelled. What then?

Higgins
04-26-2007, 07:01 AM
Who said "intent" is the only factor? Who said it can always be known? Frankly, I'm not sure what your expectations are, but I think you're proceeding down this path for no reason.

How long do you stare at a piece of pie on a plate before you decide you can eat it?

I just don't get the intent thing. Okay, its not much of a factor. In fact it's not clear what the point of saying "I only know what something is if I know what the intention was when it was made." How exact does this have to be? If we elaborate the "intent" it quickly becomes something else. The real question is what the "it" really is.

Let's imagine you imagining me looking at pie on a plate: I turn to you and say "This is a pie you have imagined." Who is intending what at that point?

Higgins
04-26-2007, 07:04 AM
Who said "intent" is the only factor?
How long do you stare at a piece of pie on a plate before you decide you can eat it?

Use the concepts of "staring at pie" or "intent" or "standards" to explain why the Peplos Kore is or is not Art:

http://www.classics.cam.ac.uk/museum/peplostext.html

Higgins
04-26-2007, 07:16 AM
I realize the novelty of exploring the meanings of words like art and the thrill of deconstructing them into nothingness. It's an exercise of the intellect. But it doesn't mean the results produce a workable framework for a world view.

Nothingness is there in the beginning. It is the accumulation of small and indeterminate events that bring consciousness and meaning out of nothingness. Deconstruction only reveals what was there in the beginning and what definite steps it took to bring something of a non-nothing nature in to play. And is nothingness ever out of play? What is the meaning of all the black around the tiny landscape in this painting from a villa near Pompeii?

http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/bsco/ho_20.192.1-.3.htm

Do we have labels and intentions and standards for all that black?

McDuff
04-26-2007, 08:13 AM
The final proposition is in arguably true, imo. A natural phenomenon is never art, by itself. However, you undo the first in your very next paragraph:Basically, you have just assumed anything created is art.
Not necessarily. For a start, every single thing I posted there was a two dimensional image, which is one of the basic units of art, along with tune, story, dance and spectacle. That in and of itself highlights that which we have decided is the defining factor, not that a thing exists, but that it has had attention drawn to it.


Under that definition, "what is art" is no longer subjective in the least. Anything man-made is art. End of story. Of course, that includes a McDonald's hamburger and the wrapper it came in. And even a discarded cigarette butt. Great.
Again, not necessarily. I mean, there is art in the design of the McDonalds hamburger wrapper, and mass produced items such as McDonalds hamburgers and cigarettes exhibit a certain amount of artfulness in the huge, globe-spanning processes which work together to produce such disposable items, but there are millions of examples of these things which are not considered to be art at any stage along their existence. They are made, eaten or smoked, discarded. They are not art because nobody ever considers them such. But a photograph of a discarded cigarette butt is art, is it not? When someone gets down on their knees and looks at the particular interplay of light and shadow on that object, how can it not be art? A painting of a cigarette butt is most certainly art, as is a scale sculpture from clay or plastic. Of course the argument can be made that it is not the cigarette butt itself that is the art, but the image. But what of that butt taken and placed on a pedestal in a gallery, which ten or a thousand people a day walk past and are invited by an artist to consider in and of itself, in this new context. Surely you cannot argue that the principle behind the act is any different than the artist getting down on his knees and taking a picture himself, it is merely the execution that is different, that rather than choosing one angle and one time for us to look at the artist has allowed us to see it from all angles and at different times.


Me, I would prefer some standards from, at the very least, the perspective of intent. From there, we can at least know that something is supposed to be a work of art.
Would you mind explaining to me how that is different from what is presented in the OP, or at least how we are reliably to tell the difference?

To stick with our hypothetical cigarette butt, the difference is in attention and framing. The photographer captures it on film, the painter on canvas, the sculptor in clay, or in the process of taking it to a different context and framing it in the walls of the gallery itself. The poet writes a few stanzas about it, the novelist considers the story of the butt from plantation to pavement and puts it in an eighty thousand word novel, the cinematographer commits that story to film. And what of the person who walks down the street and sees the same thing that the novelist, the photographer or the sculptor see but who merely stops, pays attention, considers for a moment all those things that the other artists have chosen to share with us but, for whatever reason, keeps that to himself. The image, the story, the tune of the object is no less real to that person than it was to any of the artists. The difference is in the sharing of the work with others, which might be grounds for a distinction of intent, but then if that is the case what do we make of the painter who sits alone in his studio and works on a painting, then paints over the canvas so that nobody can see it, or the pianist who plays a piece alone in his own home simply because he loves the music? Surely we cannot exclude these people from the realm of art simply because their intention was not to share, that their audience and the artist were the same person?

Again the point: that not everything is art, but that everything can be once you put a human in the right frame of mind in proximity to it.


I don't know. Why does anything matter, then? Why does it matter if what I am sitting on is labeled a chair, a couch, a stool, or a dead cat?
You misunderstand my meaning. When I ask what the benefit is of you calling things not art when I consider them to be art, that is precisely and exactly what I mean. Can you look at the things I listed above and give me reasons why you don't consider any of them art? Surely if you feel the labels matter so much, and you take my listing of items as proof that I do not distinguish as narrowly as you, there must be something in there that you feel is simply Not Art. So pick one, justify your choice, tell me why in your opinion it benefits the world and everyone in it that we should draw a strict line in between the works of Rodin or Picasso and any one of the things I linked to above.


Could you teach a child effectively if you allowed such a subjective use of terminology? Picture the child in a museum, looking at a painting. Would you tell that child that the painting and the tiled floor are categorically the same thing? Is that a good way to approach the world. Is it a good way to learn?

Well, it could be a mosaic, but even assuming otherwise I would have to say this is a daft question. What does it benefit a child if we take her to an art gallery and tell her that the painting is categorically the same thing as the sculpture in the next room or the architecture of the building that it resides in? Of course architecture and painting and sculpture and dancing are different things. The Roxy was an entirely different class of art than the films that were shown in it, but they were both art. Are we muddling our poor children's heads by saying such things? Of course not. So neither is anybody when they say to a child in an art gallery "consider everything here that is not in the frames. Consider, yes, the tiled floor, the layout of the rooms, the movement of people through the building, where they linger and where they move quickly through." Such a thing can have the effect that child either realising that, to them, there is a difference, that things hung on frames are substantially different from the walls on which they are hung, or that something of the essence that makes the paintings on the walls worth looking at also exists in the unframed environment around them. Or, potentially, both. I fail to see how anyone's life could be made less rich or more muddled by thinking that way, whatever their conclusions.

I realize the novelty of exploring the meanings of words like art and the thrill of deconstructing them into nothingness. It's an exercise of the intellect. But it doesn't mean the results produce a workable framework for a world view.
To imagine that nothingness is the aim here is most peculiar, rob. The magic of the art is that it can be created ex nihilo, that something exists where before there was nothing. By creating more art, I hardly see that the aim could be in any sense to destroy.

pdr
04-26-2007, 08:55 AM
labels things as ART or not ART. One is of the inner circle of society's educated superior beings if one acknowledges certain things as ART and other things as tacky commercial stuff. Society says so!

I've just been to see the Louvre's exhibition of Picasso which is travelling in Japan at the moment. ART? The Kiss? This is a man who with one pencil line could beautifully capture the shape and essence of a sleeping cat. Yet his The Kiss or Harlequin are valued by society as worth millions and worthy, according to artistic experts, of being called ART. I disagree. I find nothing about Art in those two paintings. Why is Picasso called a great artist of the 20thC?

Something else to think about.
In Jeronme K Jerome's 'Three Men in a Boat' there's a delightful paragraph when he's talking about art and what people collect. He mentions as a great joke the idea that in the future people will be collecting the standard Victorian kitchen ware of 'blue and white'. Today Victorian kitchen ware, which was blue and white Willow pattern by the way, is treasured and collected as beautiful china. The Victorians didn't think so.

I always have to laugh when I look at what are now called Grecian urns. So many of them were churned out in their thousands as souvenirs for tourists to take home. Yet now we have University departments dedicated to explaining them as ART and students of classical history must study them as such.

I'll agree that ART is some form of truth as seen by the artist and the audience. But how can half a dead cow or a painting of a soup tin that may as well be a photograph be ART although we are told they are?

Shakespeare's plays are revered as great examples of the art of writing. Why aren't Aphra Benn's? Her plays were as popular at the same time and deal with many similar themes?

McDuff
04-26-2007, 09:05 AM
Because society is fickle, uninspired and prone to fits of madness.

You are, of course, entirely free to disagree with society about anything at any time. That is, in fact, where a lot of art comes from. Including Picasso's.

Higgins
04-26-2007, 03:27 PM
labels things as ART or not ART. One is of the inner circle of society's educated superior beings if one acknowledges certain things as ART and other things as tacky commercial stuff. Society says so!

I've just been to see the Louvre's exhibition of Picasso which is travelling in Japan at the moment. ART? The Kiss? This is a man who with one pencil line could beautifully capture the shape and essence of a sleeping cat. Yet his The Kiss or Harlequin are valued by society as worth millions and worthy, according to artistic experts, of being called ART. I disagree. I find nothing about Art in those two paintings. Why is Picasso called a great artist of the 20thC?

Something else to think about.
In Jeronme K Jerome's 'Three Men in a Boat' there's a delightful paragraph when he's talking about art and what people collect. He mentions as a great joke the idea that in the future people will be collecting the standard Victorian kitchen ware of 'blue and white'. Today Victorian kitchen ware, which was blue and white Willow pattern by the way, is treasured and collected as beautiful china. The Victorians didn't think so.

I always have to laugh when I look at what are now called Grecian urns. So many of them were churned out in their thousands as souvenirs for tourists to take home. Yet now we have University departments dedicated to explaining them as ART and students of classical history must study them as such.

I'll agree that ART is some form of truth as seen by the artist and the audience. But how can half a dead cow or a painting of a soup tin that may as well be a photograph be ART although we are told they are?

Shakespeare's plays are revered as great examples of the art of writing. Why aren't Aphra Benn's? Her plays were as popular at the same time and deal with many similar themes?

It's very odd, but you and Robbinae seem to be concerned about a very similar range of seemingly (to you and Robbinae anyway) problematic evaluations and responses. It seems you both would be perfectly happy about the artiness of arty art in an Art Museum if it all was properly labelled, could be explained to children without involving the architecture or the mosaics and if it conformed to your ideas of how the works in the Museum should be ranked in order of goodness to badness. This is not a problem that you and Robbinae have with "society" or even the monetary values that get assigned to arty art Art objects, you both just have a hard time seeing why anyone else has ways of evaluating things that are different from yours and yet having some way of coming to terms with the possibilities of different evaluations is as essential in thinking about arty art Art as it is in thinking about anything else of a socially constructed nature. Contrary to what Robbinae seems to think, thinking about how other people have evaluated things and why is not always the same as spending a long time looking at pie before you decide to eat it, though apparently the foregone conclusion built into that scene along with its implication that there is only one way to think about anything may offer clues as to why arty art Art is such a problem for you and Robbinae.

robeiae
04-26-2007, 06:43 PM
So...suppose you have all your labels. Everything is labelled. What then?
Sorry, that's your question, not mine. This ball is still in your court.

robeiae
04-26-2007, 06:45 PM
Let's imagine you imagining me looking at pie on a plate: I turn to you and say "This is a pie you have imagined." Who is intending what at that point?Why are you unwilling to answer a simple question?

"How long do you stare at a piece of pie on a plate before you decide you can eat it?"

robeiae
04-26-2007, 06:48 PM
Nothingness is there in the beginning. It is the accumulation of small and indeterminate events that bring consciousness and meaning out of nothingness. Deconstruction only reveals what was there in the beginning and what definite steps it took to bring something of a non-nothing nature in to play. And is nothingness ever out of play? What is the meaning of all the black around the tiny landscape in this painting from a villa near Pompeii?

http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/bsco/ho_20.192.1-.3.htm

Do we have labels and intentions and standards for all that black?
Heh. "All that black" is not, in fact, "nothingness." It is, in fact, "all that black." See? You're proving my point.

robeiae
04-26-2007, 07:17 PM
Not necessarily. For a start, every single thing I posted there was a two dimensional image, which is one of the basic units of art, along with tune, story, dance and spectacle. That in and of itself highlights that which we have decided is the defining factor, not that a thing exists, but that it has had attention drawn to it.Your pardon, but perhaps you should have made it clear what the art in your links were. I saw no other way to understand the collection. But "drawing attention" can be done with things not made by man. So, where are we? And is it insignificant with regard to who draws the attention?




Again, not necessarily. I mean, there is art in the design of the McDonalds hamburger wrapper, and mass produced items such as McDonalds hamburgers and cigarettes exhibit a certain amount of artfulness in the huge, globe-spanning processes which work together to produce such disposable items, but there are millions of examples of these things which are not considered to be art at any stage along their existence. They are made, eaten or smoked, discarded. They are not art because nobody ever considers them such. But a photograph of a discarded cigarette butt is art, is it not? When someone gets down on their knees and looks at the particular interplay of light and shadow on that object, how can it not be art? A painting of a cigarette butt is most certainly art, as is a scale sculpture from clay or plastic. Of course the argument can be made that it is not the cigarette butt itself that is the art, but the image. But what of that butt taken and placed on a pedestal in a gallery, which ten or a thousand people a day walk past and are invited by an artist to consider in and of itself, in this new context. Surely you cannot argue that the principle behind the act is any different than the artist getting down on his knees and taking a picture himself, it is merely the execution that is different, that rather than choosing one angle and one time for us to look at the artist has allowed us to see it from all angles and at different times.
So presentation is now the determining factor? But really, presentation is merely as aspect of intent, no?

Re paintings and photographs, you seem to be saying that the artificial is art, a position that I understand. However, on what basis do you then include story, dance, tune, and spectacle, unless you insist they must be attempts at recreation. Oddly, that would make all cover versions of a song art, by definition, though not the original.


Would you mind explaining to me how that is different from what is presented in the OP, or at least how we are reliably to tell the difference?I think intent initially rests with the creator, not the audience. The OP's post is a product of assuming the opposite. We both see some thing--you think it is a work of art, I do not. Who is right? Could we at least ask the creator what was intended? Suppose the thing is a pile of rocks, in which you see profundity and I see nothing. Is it art, sans the opinion of the artist (or non-artist)?

To stick with our hypothetical cigarette butt, the difference is in attention and framing. The photographer captures it on film, the painter on canvas, the sculptor in clay, or in the process of taking it to a different context and framing it in the walls of the gallery itself. The poet writes a few stanzas about it, the novelist considers the story of the butt from plantation to pavement and puts it in an eighty thousand word novel, the cinematographer commits that story to film. That's what I'm saying. That's not what the person cited in the OP is saying, however.


You misunderstand my meaning. When I ask what the benefit is of you calling things not art when I consider them to be art, that is precisely and exactly what I mean. Can you look at the things I listed above and give me reasons why you don't consider any of them art? Surely if you feel the labels matter so much, and you take my listing of items as proof that I do not distinguish as narrowly as you, there must be something in there that you feel is simply Not Art. So pick one, justify your choice, tell me why in your opinion it benefits the world and everyone in it that we should draw a strict line in between the works of Rodin or Picasso and any one of the things I linked to above.I think you have misunderstood my meaning, or else you simply expect too much from me. The benefit of calling something art is in knowing that the word "art" means something, and it allows you to, in fact, post links and tell me such-and-such is art. As to drawing lines, I never said anything even remotely resembling that position. You're assuming that I must be seeking to limit the concept re my own personal preferences. You're wrong.

Well, it could be a mosaic, but even assuming otherwise I would have to say this is a daft question. What does it benefit a child if we take her to an art gallery and tell her that the painting is categorically the same thing as the sculpture in the next room or the architecture of the building that it resides in? Of course architecture and painting and sculpture and dancing are different things. The Roxy was an entirely different class of art than the films that were shown in it, but they were both art. Are we muddling our poor children's heads by saying such things? Of course not. So neither is anybody when they say to a child in an art gallery "consider everything here that is not in the frames. Consider, yes, the tiled floor, the layout of the rooms, the movement of people through the building, where they linger and where they move quickly through." Such a thing can have the effect that child either realising that, to them, there is a difference, that things hung on frames are substantially different from the walls on which they are hung, or that something of the essence that makes the paintings on the walls worth looking at also exists in the unframed environment around them. Or, potentially, both. I fail to see how anyone's life could be made less rich or more muddled by thinking that way, whatever their conclusions.You asked "the why does it matter" stuff, not me. I see no other point you made by posing them, except to suggest all such labels are meaningless. In that light, my asking how we communicate/teach seems a valid question. Now, you're just backing away from what you suggested.


To imagine that nothingness is the aim here is most peculiar, rob. The magic of the art is that it can be created ex nihilo, that something exists where before there was nothing. By creating more art, I hardly see that the aim could be in any sense to destroy.
Well, it seems to me that proclaiming all things produced by man are art essentially makes the term meaningless. That's what I am saying. You say that wasn't your point, that I misunderstood you, fine.

Higgins
04-26-2007, 07:37 PM
Why does anything matter, then? Why does it matter if what I am sitting on is labeled a chair, a couch, a stool, or a dead cat?


Sorry, that's your question, not mine. This ball is still in your court.

I asked with reference to the above: suppose you had all your labels? What then? Evidently you want me to answer my question to you, despite the fact that you were in some existential despair about the label for what you were sitting on.

The answer is hermeneutics.

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/hermeneutics/

Now you must be wondering: How does this work with my anxiety about how to "label" (whatever that means) what I am sitting on? Suppose you were indeed uncertain about whether you were sitting on a chair or a stool. We could start with an uncertain, indeterminate, indistinct term or description of what you were sitting on and by a series of comparisons and juxtapositionings with other furniture, other people's experiences and other descriptions of stools and chairs, refine the description of what you were sitting on. It still might not be a "label" (whatever that is) that would entirely satisfy you and calm your labeling urges, but we would be much better off in that we would:

1) have improved on the initially vague and general description of what you were sitting on
2) we would have a method for refining our descriptions

And all without "intent" or labels or standards.

robeiae
04-26-2007, 07:48 PM
I asked with reference to the above: suppose you had all your labels? What then? Evidently you want me to answer my question to you, despite the fact that you were in some existential despair about the label for what you were sitting on.

The answer is hermeneutics.

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/hermeneutics/

Now you must be wondering: How does this work with my anxiety about how to "label" (whatever that means) what I am sitting on? Suppose you were indeed uncertain about whether you were sitting on a chair or a stool. We could start with an uncertain, indeterminate, indistinct term or description of what you were sitting on and by a series of comparisons and juxtapositionings with other furniture, other people's experiences and other descriptions of stools and chairs, refine the description of what you were sitting on. It still might not be a "label" (whatever that is) that would entirely satisfy you and calm your labeling urges, but we would be much better off in that we would:

1) have improved on the initially vague and general description of what you were sitting on
2) we would have a method for refining our descriptions

And all without "intent" or labels or standards.You use an awful lot of labels with intent to argue against the use of labels and the significance of intent.

Regardless, I never asked for "all my labels." You're merely trying to saddle me with a particular position that you feel comfortable criticizing/ridiculing. I asked that question predicated on McDuff's series of questions about what is gained from having some clarity with regard to what is and what is not art.

"Existential despair"? Please.

Higgins
04-26-2007, 09:08 PM
Why does anything matter, then? Why does it matter if what I am sitting on is labeled a chair, a couch, a stool, or a dead cat?


You use an awful lot of labels with intent to argue against the use of labels and the significance of intent.

Regardless, I never asked for "all my labels." You're merely trying to saddle me with a particular position that you feel comfortable criticizing/ridiculing. I asked that question predicated on McDuff's series of questions about what is gained from having some clarity with regard to what is and what is not art.

"Existential despair"? Please.

Okay so you really don't care about labels. Some or none or all of them might be there for your chair or your stool. And yet elsewhere, you imply that labels are how we communicate with each other. And yet only you seem to know what you mean by label. I've said I really don't know what you mean by a label. You say I use an awful lot of them (too many? How do you and only you know what the just right amount of labels might be?) -- and what result does that superabundance have?
Is using an awful lot of them an argument against them (whatever they are) or a suggestion that the term is either not at all clear or trivial or both? How does intent enter into this considering I cannot figure out what your intent is in using the term "label"? Can you put a label on your labels or is that too many labels?

McDuff
04-26-2007, 09:10 PM
Re paintings and photographs, you seem to be saying that the artificial is art, a position that I understand. However, on what basis do you then include story, dance, tune, and spectacle, unless you insist they must be attempts at recreation.
They're things that are created by people, which is the large pool in which all potential arty art Art swims. Art does not have to be a recreation of the natural state of things, but it cannot avoid being inspired by it.


I think intent initially rests with the creator, not the audience. The OP's post is a product of assuming the opposite. We both see some thing--you think it is a work of art, I do not. Who is right? Could we at least ask the creator what was intended?
As Sokal has pointed out, the intent of the creator is not always known, or can be misapprehended, and the intents and values of the audience has much to do with art's value in the here and now.

The benefit of calling something art is in knowing that the word "art" means something, and it allows you to, in fact, post links and tell me such-and-such is art. As to drawing lines, I never said anything even remotely resembling that position. You're assuming that I must be seeking to limit the concept re my own personal preferences. You're wrong.
But can a category not be vague without being entirely meaningless? The lines that you want to draw may not be from your own personal preferences, but nonetheless you want to say that we can point to This and say Art and That and say Not Art. In some cases this is easy enough, at least in terms of a reasonable consensus. In others the fact that art is so wide and deep and furry means that someone sees something another does not. Art, after all, did not used to be distinct from craft, and referred to something produced by an Artisan, be that a table or a knife or a rowboat. One can look at the picture of a pink ferarri haring around a track and see art at many levels: the photograph itself, the design of the exterior of the car, the quality of the engineering, the skill of the driving. Any engineer will tell you that there is as much art as craft in making something that functions well. The point is that there can be dispute and disagreement over what is meant by art but the term can still retain meaning.

I see no other point you made by posing them, except to suggest all such labels are meaningless. In that light, my asking how we communicate/teach seems a valid question. Now, you're just backing away from what you suggested.
No I'm not, I'm asking simply the same question: what does it benefit us to say that something is not art? If it matters, as you say, then there must be things that you can point to and categorically say "this can never be art" and its non-artness is a culturally important quality.

If such things do not exist, why does it diminish the word to define it as what seems to be self evident, something about which there is much dispute and draws much of its meaning from the subjective experience of whoever is doing the defining at that moment in time?

robeiae
04-26-2007, 09:15 PM
Okay so you really don't care about labels. Some or none or all of them might be there for your chair or your stool. And yet elsewhere, you imply that labels are how we communicate with each other.I do care about labels. You keep extrapolating other positions from the ones I present, as you have done yet again.

I think we should strive to use labels correctly, we should try to have meaningful and workable definitions for those labels, and we shouldn't allow a widespread subjective use of such. That is how we communicate better, imo.

And yet only you seem to know what you mean by label. I've said I really don't know what you mean by a label. You say I use an awful lot of them (too many? How do you and only you know what the just right amount of labels might be?)
A label is simply the term used to designate something, be it an idea, concept, thing, what have you. It's not complicated. Yet, you seem to want to make it so. Why? My point here was that you are criticizing a concept by using the concept. Sorry, I find it amusing. But it has little bearing on the topic of this thread. Again, sorry. Of course, if you didn't insist on trying to be provocative, I probably wouldn't be poking.

robeiae
04-26-2007, 09:37 PM
They're things that are created by people, which is the large pool in which all potential arty art Art swims. Art does not have to be a recreation of the natural state of things, but it cannot avoid being inspired by it.I don't know that the last statement is true (unless it is specifically part of your definition for art), but assuming that it is, when did "inspiration" enter the fray? For now you proceed to:

As Sokal has pointed out, the intent of the creator is not always known, or can be misapprehended, and the intents and values of the audience has much to do with art's value in the here and now.So then, how do you know inspiration played a role in the specific art you are talking about? Regardless, are you saying that because there are cases wherein the intent of a creator is unknown, the intent of creators in all other cases become meaningless? Do you see the problem, here? The original position essentially allowed that classification by the audience was all that mattered, that intent on the part of the creator was meaningless. From that, anything created becomes potential art, regardless of purpose or design. If that is your position, fine. But say it that way: intent doesn't matter at all--the artist does not create art, the viewer does. I disagree.


But can a category not be vague without being entirely meaningless? The lines that you want to draw may not be from your own personal preferences, but nonetheless you want to say that we can point to This and say Art and That and say Not Art. In some cases this is easy enough, at least in terms of a reasonable consensus. In others the fact that art is so wide and deep and furry means that someone sees something another does not. Art, after all, did not used to be distinct from craft, and referred to something produced by an Artisan, be that a table or a knife or a rowboat. One can look at the picture of a pink ferarri haring around a track and see art at many levels: the photograph itself, the design of the exterior of the car, the quality of the engineering, the skill of the driving. Any engineer will tell you that there is as much art as craft in making something that functions well. The point is that there can be dispute and disagreement over what is meant by art but the term can still retain meaning.Sure, we can disagree on what is art. That's fine by me. But your position here is not consistent with the one offered in the OP. If anything can be art to any person, there is no disagreement to be had.


No I'm not, I'm asking simply the same question: what does it benefit us to say that something is not art? If it matters, as you say, then there must be things that you can point to and categorically say "this can never be art" and its non-artness is a culturally important quality.That's simply not true. I'm not arguing for that position, I am arguing against the position that you can point to everything and categorically proclaim it to be art.

If such things do not exist, why does it diminish the word to define it as what seems to be self evident, something about which there is much dispute and draws much of its meaning from the subjective experience of whoever is doing the defining at that moment in time?Clearly, I believe you are not actually operating from the same understanding of what definition of art was implied in the OP. Again, disagreement is fine by me. Is the world where there is no disagreement, because everything is art to someone, that I am opposed to.

Higgins
04-26-2007, 09:38 PM
I think we should strive to use labels correctly, we should try to have meaningful and workable definitions for those labels, and we shouldn't allow a widespread subjective use of such. That is how we communicate better, imo.

A label is simply the term used to designate something, be it an idea, concept, thing, what have you. It's not complicated. Yet, you seem to want to make it so. Why? My point here was that you are criticizing a concept by using the concept. Sorry, I find it amusing. But it has little bearing on the topic of this thread. Again, sorry. Of course, if you didn't insist on trying to be provocative, I probably wouldn't be poking.

"Correctly"...You say the "concept" is simple and not complicated and yet the "concept" of a label you describle implies a potential correctness of application to all possible things at all possible times. Other, less correct and more subjective uses (as determined by you and you alone it appears) should not be allowed (according to you). It appears the "concept" you are outlining is not just impossible in practice, but fantastically coercive in theory. Given that there is in fact no way to disallow the usage of terms in any way that people use them, your supposed simple definition of "label" amounts to a fantasy of yours to force people to use terms the way you want them to. Your excuse is that this will clarify communication, but in fact, if you assumed the godlike powers necessary to enforce labels as you describe them, communication would not be clarified, it would simply be restricted.

Higgins
04-26-2007, 09:52 PM
Why are you unwilling to answer a simple question?

"How long do you stare at a piece of pie on a plate before you decide you can eat it?"

Here's a perfect example of your coercive theory in practice. You imagine a pie and then demand that I answer a "question" about your imaginary pie. And its a "simple" question, just like labels as enforced by you are simple "concepts"....

As an example of my superior artistic practices, I offered you two art objects that I did not invent, and asked you to apply your labels or whatever it is that you think ought to be allowed in these matters.

Do you see a difference here? You imagine a pie and demand a "simple" answer. I offer real objects and ask you to say whatever you want to about them.

McDuff
04-26-2007, 11:45 PM
Regardless, are you saying that because there are cases wherein the intent of a creator is unknown, the intent of creators in all other cases become meaningless?
No.

The original position essentially allowed that classification by the audience was all that mattered, that intent on the part of the creator was meaningless.
The creator is part of the audience. Artists make art that they consider to be pleasing - they are their initial audience. Someone can paint a picture and not consider it art, for whatever reason, because they are not interacting with it as art, but an independent observer might consider otherwise.


I'm not arguing for that position, I am arguing against the position that you can point to everything and categorically proclaim it to be art.
I really had to run the logic of this, but I'm pretty sure you're either simply restating what I said with enough double negatives to make it seem as if you're saying something different or fundamentally misapprehending what it is that's involved in the position. If you cannot or will not point to anything and exclude it from the set, surely the set does potentially include anything (and everything), doesn't it?

Art in the OP was described as a method of interaction with something. I think it's hard to define exactly what that method of interaction is, but I would argue that attention to details that would be overlooked in casual interaction is a huge part. It is obviously a very wide range of categories, and not everybody interacts with art in the same way. Is Times New Roman a work of art? I think it is, in large part because of the built-in transparency which enables people all over the world to stare at it every day and never even consider it, let alone define it as art. The average TV program involves the work of many artists, yet many interact with it in a distinctly non-artistic way. The London Underground Map was created merely as a functional diagram, but even though the creator had no idea he was creating art many people would argue that he most certainly was, -- the tube map is one of the most enduring and recognisable examples of modern minimalist design. Still, most people interact with it purely for its form and function. Does this mean the art isn't there when someone notices it? When a print of the map is hung on the wall of a gallery and labelled art, as has happened, does this suddenly turn it into art, does it reveal the art that has always been there in potentia or are the people curating the gallery mistaken?

I would argue that my position, which does align with the OP, is that although the majority of things in the world are Not Art, they all could be Art -- everything is potentially art -- and the sole requirement for the transformation is that some person interacts with it as Art.

pdr
04-27-2007, 04:45 AM
Loud whistle. Heel, sit.
Gentlemen, please!
For those of us without a degree in philosophy or linguisitics keep it simple. Or put in explanations of your high falluting flights.

No, Sokal, I don't want to label things ART. I was asking why people label any thing, but particularly wierd things as ART and tell us we must respect and value the dead cow or pages of one letter arranged in pretty patterns as ART by a great artist. Why does society insist that Monet is ART and Grandma Moses 'interesting folk art of the people'?

I originally posted this:
‘Art is not a special class of things, but a special way of relating to things,’...

I like that statement and it makes more sense to me than having some 'expert' tell me that Picasso is a great artist when I can see nothing in 'The Kiss' that makes it ART to me!

Surely art is about an artist (in any form of artistic creation) having something to express, finding a way of expressing it, and in doing so, communicating with others, call others an audience if you like.
Not every creator will communicate with every person in the same way. Why are lines drawn up to divide ART from not ART?

robeiae
04-27-2007, 04:46 AM
"Correctly"...You say the "concept" is simple and not complicated and yet the "concept" of a label you describle implies a potential correctness of application to all possible things at all possible times. Other, less correct and more subjective uses (as determined by you and you alone it appears) should not be allowed (according to you).Me and me alone? Really? Cool.

I have no idea how you arrived at that conclusion. Would you use the word "tree" as a label for something others commonly refer to as a "cat"? If not, is it because you have consulted someone (me) to make sure you are using the correct label, or is it because you have learned, through experience and such, which label is appropriate? Using labels correctly...that certainly is asking a lot from people, I guess.

Given that there is in fact no way to disallow the usage of terms in any way that people use them, your supposed simple definition of "label" amounts to a fantasy of yours to force people to use terms the way you want them to. Your excuse is that this will clarify communication, but in fact, if you assumed the godlike powers necessary to enforce labels as you describe them, communication would not be clarified, it would simply be restricted.
:ROFL: You're killin' me over here! That's right. I also expect fully armed label police to carry out my will!

robeiae
04-27-2007, 04:52 AM
Here's a perfect example of your coercive theory in practice. You imagine a pie and then demand that I answer a "question" about your imaginary pie. And its a "simple" question, just like labels as enforced by you are simple "concepts"....Actually, this is a perfect example of you misrepresenting what I have said. I "demanded" nothing. I "asked." Really, I didn't even imagine a pie, though I guess you can rightfully claim that I assumed you must have encountered a pie at some time in your life--and I guess I could have been wrong about that. Sorry.

Now, something can be labeled a demand, but if it is not a demand (like here) was it labeled CORRECTLY?

robeiae
04-27-2007, 05:06 AM
I originally posted this:
‘Art is not a special class of things, but a special way of relating to things,’...

I like that statement and it makes more sense to me than having some 'expert' tell me that Picasso is a great artist when I can see nothing in 'The Kiss' that makes it ART to me!From my perspective pdr, I was focused on the second part of the quote:

...art is anything that anyone has ever considered a work of art, though it maybe a work of art only for that one person.

I disgree with this idea.

Surely art is about an artist (in any form of artistic creation) having something to express, finding a way of expressing it, and in doing so, communicating with others, call others an audience if you like.
Not every creator will communicate with every person in the same way. Why are lines drawn up to divide ART from not ART?The lines are not clear, imo. That is the source of much disagreement. But I think they are still there. And I have no problem with the disagreement, as I find it preferable to allowing that "anything and everything can be art, if you think it is." That's all.

robeiae
04-27-2007, 05:23 AM
(sorry, pdr--one more)


I really had to run the logic of this, but I'm pretty sure you're either simply restating what I said with enough double negatives to make it seem as if you're saying something different or fundamentally misapprehending what it is that's involved in the position.Then I'm disappointed in you. Sorry.

If you cannot or will not point to anything and exclude it from the set, surely the set does potentially include anything (and everything), doesn't it?
Your statement: there must be things that you can point to and categorically say "this can never be art"

In other words: x can never equal y is true

My position: I am arguing against the position that you can point to everything and categorically proclaim it to be art.

In other words: x can always equal y is not true

In set theory, the first allows that there are, indeed, things specifically outside the set of all art.

The second, however means that the claim "all things are specifically inside the set of all art" is false.

Very different.

Higgins
04-27-2007, 05:23 AM
Me and me alone? Really? Cool.

I have no idea how you arrived at that conclusion. Would you use the word "tree" as a label for something others commonly refer to as a "cat"? If not, is it because you have consulted someone (me) to make sure you are using the correct label, or is it because you have learned, through experience and such, which label is appropriate? Using labels correctly...that certainly is asking a lot from people, I guess.


What do you mean by correctly? How do you or your proxies intend to intervene if the labeling is incorrect? How will you know if it is incorrect? For that matter I don't see how your "labels" are any different from some kind of proto-human demonstrative behavior used by creatures who have never heard of language. Apparently I could just point at each thing instead and all would be well in the labeling protocol, though we could not form any propositions of any complexity remotely approaching the needs of even the most minimal human society out of "labels" (whatever they are).
Are these labels suppose to be helpful or are they like the pie that you did not even bother imagining but assumed would be somehow replicated whenever you chose to refer to it (or its label? Does the unimaginable pie have a name? Can you talk about it except as an unimaginable pie that I am supposed to have seen some time or other?)

robeiae
04-27-2007, 05:32 AM
What do you mean by correctly?All labels should be used in manner wherein the object of said labeling is consistent with one or more of the definitions available for said label, as found in the most recent edition of the OED. That fair?

Higgins
04-27-2007, 05:40 AM
Actually, this is a perfect example of you misrepresenting what I have said. I "demanded" nothing. I "asked." Really, I didn't even imagine a pie, though I guess you can rightfully claim that I assumed you must have encountered a pie at some time in your life--and I guess I could have been wrong about that. Sorry.

Now, something can be labeled a demand, but if it is not a demand (like here) was it labeled CORRECTLY?

So there is this pie, that you could not even bother with imagining and to which you repeatedly asked (repeated askings amount to a demand but please but that through the labelling thing whateve it is) me to elaborate some response. I suppose nothing is more normal in the realm of the labeling protocol than to demand that people respond to something that you have not even bothered imagining.

It is very odd that you assume that your error in the pie department was to assume that I had "encountered" a pie. Does the labeling protocol only work in the case where everyone has had indentical encounters? How identical do they need to be? Isn't this assumed identical realm of encounters a truly fundamental problem for the whole labeling endeavor? A region of potential error far more enormous and catastrophic than any number of erroneous pie encounter assumtions? And even if that tremendous labeling problem could be overcome I still have to wonder in turn whether you have ever "encountered" a pie in the "I have been in the presence of a properly labeled pie and it was declared to be a correct encounter for purposes of labeling encouters with pies" sense. Would that be correct? Have I correctly labeled my doubts about your proper pie encounter credentials?

Higgins
04-27-2007, 05:44 AM
All labels should be used in manner wherein the object of said labeling is consistent with one or more of the definitions available for said label, as found in the most recent edition of the OED. That fair?

So labels are actually words that exist in a language...and if we skipped the labeling protocol people would in fact just be talking about art in whatever way they happen to be talking about art.

McDuff
04-27-2007, 06:18 AM
Your statement: there must be things that you can point to and categorically say "this can never be art"

In other words: x can never equal y is true

My position: I am arguing against the position that you can point to everything and categorically proclaim it to be art.

In other words: x can always equal y is not true

In set theory, the first allows that there are, indeed, things specifically outside the set of all art.

The second, however means that the claim "all things are specifically inside the set of all art" is false.

Very different.

Actually, I think your two statements mean different things.

x can always equal y is not true = "all things are potentially inside the set of all art" is false

"all things are specifically inside the set of all art" is false = x must always equal y is not true.

I have said more than once now that all things are not art, but this does not mean that all things cannot potentially become art if you put a human actor into the same space as them. All humans are not dead, but all humans are potentially dead, given the right circumstances.

Nothing that is said indicates, as you seem to believe, that everything is classifiable right now as art. Everything may become art, given some pretty specific circumstances. It also may not become art, if those circumstances are not fulfilled.

robeiae
04-27-2007, 06:24 AM
So there is this pie, that you could not even bother with imagining and to which you repeatedly asked (repeated askings amount to a demand but please but that through the labelling thing whateve it is) me to elaborate some response. I suppose nothing is more normal in the realm of the labeling protocol than to demand that people respond to something that you have not even bothered imagining."Repeated askings"? Now you are just being silly. I posed a question, then asked you why you did not answer it--once. And you characterize that as "repeated askings" that "amount to a demand"? But hey, I get it. Hyperbole is a great defense when you don't know what else to do, so please continue to dwell on the pie and my demands, real or imagined.

It is very odd that you assume that your error in the pie department was to assume that I had "encountered" a pie. Does the labeling protocol only work in the case where everyone has had indentical encounters? How identical do they need to be? Isn't this assumed identical realm of encounters a truly fundamental problem for the whole labeling endeavor? A region of potential error far more enormous and catastrophic than any number of erroneous pie encounter assumtions? And even if that tremendous labeling problem could be overcome I still have to wonder in turn whether you have ever "encountered" a pie in the "I have been in the presence of a properly labeled pie and it was declared to be a correct encounter for purposes of labeling encouters with pies" sense. Would that be correct? Have I correctly labeled my doubts about your proper pie encounter credentials?Excellent...

robeiae
04-27-2007, 06:38 AM
Clearly, I believe you are not actually operating from the same understanding of what definition of art was implied in the OP.


I have said more than once now that all things are not art, but this does not mean that all things cannot potentially become art if you put a human actor into the same space as them. All humans are not dead, but all humans are potentially dead, given the right circumstances.

Nothing that is said indicates, as you seem to believe, that everything is classifiable right now as art. Everything may become art, given some pretty specific circumstances. It also may not become art, if those circumstances are not fulfilled.Setting aside the logic for the moment, once again the position given in the OP is that anything is potentially art, if someone decides that it is art. Once again, I disagree.

And your comparison to death is not very good, imo, since the only thing that must happen here is for me (or anyone else) to call something art, for then it is art, at least according to the quote in the OP.

Now, you have added some conditions of your own, but these are not implied by the position in the OP.

And note that originally, you simply said (my boldface):
So what if everything can be art? Is there is a compelling reason why it should not be?Note that this is far from identical to "everything may become art, given some pretty specific circumstances."

Higgins
04-27-2007, 07:22 AM
Originally Posted by Sokal http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/images/buttons/viewpost.gif (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?p=1292385#post1292385)
Nothingness is there in the beginning. It is the accumulation of small and indeterminate events that bring consciousness and meaning out of nothingness. Deconstruction only reveals what was there in the beginning and what definite steps it took to bring something of a non-nothing nature in to play. And is nothingness ever out of play? What is the meaning of all the black around the tiny landscape in this painting from a villa near Pompeii?

http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/bsc...0.192.1-.3.htm (http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/bsco/ho_20.192.1-.3.htm)

Do we have labels and intentions and standards for all that black?


Heh. "All that black" is not, in fact, "nothingness." It is, in fact, "all that black." See? You're proving my point.


"Repeated askings"? Now you are just being silly. I posed a question, then asked you why you did not answer it--once. And you characterize that as "repeated askings" that "amount to a demand"? But hey, I get it. Hyperbole is a great defense when you don't know what else to do, so please continue to dwell on the pie and my demands, real or imagined.
Excellent...

Sure. The Pie. Well now we are really getting somewhere. Labels are not the same as some tiny subset of language and the proof of that is that by useing labels you:

1) don't have to imagine anything in particular even when you ask (just two times!!) for some kind of response related to things you have not imagined, because you assume everyone has had the same experiences and that is why labeling should work
2) a black wall with a small landscape suspended in the middle of it does not suggest anything to you except...well, yes the wall is black...thanks to labeling protocols anything at all can be infinitely trivialized!
3) your "points" can be proved by trivializing anything at all!
4) You need not imagine why it is a good thing to trivialize everything: pies, black walls, landscapes....just find some labels and all is well and fully proved!

Higgins
04-27-2007, 07:48 AM
No, Sokal, I don't want to label things ART. I was asking why people label any thing, but particularly wierd things as ART and tell us we must respect and value the dead cow or pages of one letter arranged in pretty patterns as ART by a great artist. Why does society insist that Monet is ART and Grandma Moses 'interesting folk art of the people'?

Surely art is about an artist (in any form of artistic creation) having something to express, finding a way of expressing it, and in doing so, communicating with others, call others an audience if you like.
Not every creator will communicate with every person in the same way. Why are lines drawn up to divide ART from not ART?

It's not as trivial or simple a matter as Rob seems to think it is. In the thread in this subforum called "A Beard of Mary Beards" I did in fact start to address some of these issues, but you can't address the issues in the trivializing rhetoric that Rob seems to favor. Intention, standards and labels are fantastically trivial concerns at best and completely misleading most of the time.

Anyway...see my thread "A Beard of Mary Beards" if you want to see the beginnings of an actual attempt to address issues about art.

McDuff
04-27-2007, 08:02 AM
Can be =/= is. Can be = has the potential to be = may be. That's how I've been using the terms. I don't think I'm pushing any semantic boats into the sea of crazy talk there.


The OP said: "‘Art is not a special class of things, but a special way of relating to things,’... the primary assumption of Carey’s thesis which holds that ‘art is anything that anyone has ever considered a work of art, though it maybe a work of art only for that one person.’"

I don't see that this is not what I've been talking about. In order for something to be art you don't just have to say "that is art", but consider it art, relate to it in an artistic way. Consideration is an action, and quite a notably complex one. As evidenced with my examples of Times New Roman and the Tube Map, it is the pause of consideration that seems to indicate where the transition between ordinary experience and that which we consider art takes place, albeit on a slow and non-universal curve.

robeiae
04-27-2007, 04:46 PM
Well, let me clarify my position by the way of another example, then you can tell me, if you so desire, how far apart on this we are.

A person walking down the street crumples up a piece of paper and carelessly tosses it over his/her shoulder, where it lands in a particular place in a particular way.

Another person walks by, sees the crumpled up wad of paper, and declares "that is art."

I say the second person is wrong. It's not art.

However, a third person walks by, sees the paper and paints a picture of it/snaps a photograph of it/mimes it being crumpled and thrown through an interpretive dance. The painting, the photograph, and the dance are all art--really bad art, imo, but still art.

Higgins
04-27-2007, 05:07 PM
Well, let me clarify my position by the way of another example, then you can tell me, if you so desire, how far apart on this we are.

A person walking down the street crumples up a piece of paper and carelessly tosses it over his shoulder, where it lands in a particular place in a particular way.

Another person walks by, sees the crumpled up wad of paper, and declares "that is art."

I say the second person is wrong. It's not art.

However, a third person walks by, sees the paper and paints a picture of it/snaps a photograph of it/mimes it being crumpled and thrown through an interpretive dance. The painting, the photograph, and the dance are all art--really bad art, imo, but still art.

I hope I'm very far from this protocol of trivialization. I would (as I have just now) learn of all the above and find it utterly trivial from every possible point of view.

Or to properly label all of the above: Rob sees something. Rob trivializes it. It's a bad trivialization, but it is still trivialization.

robeiae
04-27-2007, 05:14 PM
What, no pie?

Higgins
04-27-2007, 06:35 PM
What, no pie?

What, still trivializing?

Let's review the steps for trivializing questions about art:

1) labels...apparently these are just words from a dictionary...distribute as needed (or not...apparently these labels are mentioned, but not used for anything that anyone could actually be bothered with...have I mentioned that this is part of a process of trivialization?)
2) intentions...now this is the really trivial mystery, which near as I can tell amounts to reluctantly admitting that there may be other people involved somewhere in the trivialization process.
3) standards...a word that Rob thinks should apply to whatever he does not understand but about which he is sure there should be some standards because without standards...uh...what?
4) imaginary things like pies which nobody needs to actually bother imagining. This is pretty much the vacuous inflation of trivialization into a really big trivialization...or just when you thought it could not get more trivial...yes, two questions about a pie that Rob did not even bother imagining (since apparently his unimaginable mind's eye pie just pops up everywhere as needed for trivialization...very much like the labels, intentions and standards).

McDuff
04-27-2007, 07:00 PM
Another person walks by, sees the crumpled up wad of paper, and declares "that is art."

I say the second person is wrong. It's not art.
You wouldn't say the second person was wrong unless you were standing next to them because you would never find out about the statement. Even if you were standing next to them, you may never find out about it because the person may simply look at it and pay particular attention to it in a manner that closely relates to the particular attention he would pay to a Monet, but never tell a soul about it.

If he were to say it is, you would presumably first ask him why he thought that. After all, he might be aware that on the crumpled up piece of paper is a sketch by Picasso. Should he talk to you about the interplay of shadow and light, the juxtaposition of the paper against the pavement, the implied story of the paper -- the massive industrial system that is brought to bear and finds it's termination in something of so little value that it can simply be tossed over one's shoulder without a glance back -- then he's interacting with it in an artistic way. You may yourself neither see nor care about this, but it hardly diminishes you to allow him this point, nor enriches him for you to tell him he's wrong.

He could, of course, be simply declaring it to be art because he's the kind of guy who just goes around declaring things to be other things for no given reason. These people are much rarer than you seem to think they are. In this case, he's almost certainly wrong, unless he makes such a song and dance over his declaration of the Artness of the paper that he creates a tiny and short-lived spectacle there in the street, with the paper as a the catalyst and himself as the focal point. Then he would have become correct.

Every activity in that last paragraph, though, happens remarkably infrequently. People rarely declare things to be other things for no reason or out of sheer orneryness, and people who do and who get really bent out of shape about it are even rarer. What happens much more often is that people can stop, appreciate something ordinary as if it were something special, then move on with their lives and never even tell anybody it happened. If these people are doing this because of a conscious effort on their part to make their appreciation of art more about their relationship with things than about whether another person said their particular piece of paper was art, who has it harmed?

robeiae
04-27-2007, 08:27 PM
You wouldn't say the second person was wrong unless you were standing next to them because you would never find out about the statement. Even if you were standing next to them, you may never find out about it because the person may simply look at it and pay particular attention to it in a manner that closely relates to the particular attention he would pay to a Monet, but never tell a soul about it.I don't see the relevance. If a person says/thinks/believes that a horse is a car, is there no truth value to that position? Regardless, what is the point of this discussion if the judgement is not expressed?


If he were to say it is, you would presumably first ask him why he thought that. After all, he might be aware that on the crumpled up piece of paper is a sketch by Picasso.I think you can always construct some kind of situation to provide an exception. Of course, I would point out that in my example, the "art" was clearly created by the crumpling and the tossing. So I would still maintain this would not be art.

Should he talk to you about the interplay of shadow and light, the juxtaposition of the paper against the pavement, the implied story of the paper -- the massive industrial system that is brought to bear and finds it's termination in something of so little value that it can simply be tossed over one's shoulder without a glance back -- then he's interacting with it in an artistic way. You may yourself neither see nor care about this, but it hardly diminishes you to allow him this point, nor enriches him for you to tell him he's wrong.And I would disagree, since I would maintain that there was no creative process, no intent, evident. And from what you have said here, I do not see how you could exclude those things not made by man from your group of potential art: "we exclude the natural world from art -- art is always something a human being does."


He could, of course, be simply declaring it to be art because he's the kind of guy who just goes around declaring things to be other things for no given reason. These people are much rarer than you seem to think they are.I don't think I've even considered how rare such people are, so I'm not sure where you are getting this from.

In this case, he's almost certainly wrong, unless he makes such a song and dance over his declaration of the Artness of the paper that he creates a tiny and short-lived spectacle there in the street, with the paper as a the catalyst and himself as the focal point. Then he would have become correct.Yes, but then it is the spectacle that is art, not the paper, no?


Every activity in that last paragraph, though, happens remarkably infrequently. People rarely declare things to be other things for no reason or out of sheer orneryness, and people who do and who get really bent out of shape about it are even rarer. What happens much more often is that people can stop, appreciate something ordinary as if it were something special, then move on with their lives and never even tell anybody it happened. If these people are doing this because of a conscious effort on their part to make their appreciation of art more about their relationship with things than about whether another person said their particular piece of paper was art, who has it harmed?Well, I don't get you here, not at all. "Who has it harmed"? I don't see the relevance of that question, either.

robeiae
04-27-2007, 08:38 PM
What, still trivializing?

Let's review the steps for trivializing questions about art:

1) labels...apparently these are just words from a dictionary...distribute as needed (or not...apparently these labels are mentioned, but not used for anything that anyone could actually be bothered with...have I mentioned that this is part of a process of trivialization?)
2) intentions...now this is the really trivial mystery, which near as I can tell amounts to reluctantly admitting that there may be other people involved somewhere in the trivialization process.
3) standards...a word that Rob thinks should apply to whatever he does not understand but about which he is sure there should be some standards because without standards...uh...what?
4) imaginary things like pies which nobody needs to actually bother imagining. This is pretty much the vacuous inflation of trivialization into a really big trivialization...or just when you thought it could not get more trivial...yes, two questions about a pie that Rob did not even bother imagining (since apparently his unimaginable mind's eye pie just pops up everywhere as needed for trivialization...very much like the labels, intentions and standards).
Sokal, it's quite clear that you don't follow much of what I say, in terms of the tone of my posts. No doubt, that is reflection of my failure to properly convey such. I apologize for that and will endeavor to provide you better markers in the future, so you don't spend so much time trying to push a button that isn't even there.

However, you have exhibited an outstanding mastery of the word "trivial." What's the word on the calendar for tomorrow? "Sarcastic"? I might be able to help you with that one...

Higgins
04-27-2007, 08:48 PM
I don't see the relevance. If a person says/thinks/believes that a horse is a car, is there no truth value to that position? Regardless, what is the point of this discussion if the judgement is not expressed?

I think you can always construct some kind of situation to provide an exception. Of course, I would point out that in my example, the "art" was clearly created by the crumpling and the tossing. So I would still maintain this would not be art.
And I would disagree, since I would maintain that there was no creative process, no intent, evident. And from what you have said here, I do not see how you could exclude those things not made by man from your group of potential art: "we exclude the natural world from art -- art is always something a human being does."

I don't think I've even considered how rare such people are, so I'm not sure where you are getting this from.
Yes, but then it is the spectacle that is art, not the paper, no?

Well, I don't get you here, not at all. "Who has it harmed"? I don't see the relevance of that question, either.

Marvelous job of trivialization. Let's see...car or horse? Is this a gratuitious label problem or what? What happened to "corrrectly" and looking it up in the dictionary? Is the trivialization process completely arbitary? Are the labels just totally dysfunctional at this point?

Moreover if there is always possible exception to the trivial protocol, what use is the protocol except to show how trivialization is always possible as well?

And lo and behold...an intention, can't do anything without that, though in fact in most cases it would be completely unknowable as would anything about the suddenly introduced "creative process"....now where did that come from? What does that relate to? Is that some standard? If so it is as poorly defined as labels (car? Horse? Dictionary? Look it up? or not?) intention (knowable in most cases? no)...creative process ( some variation on "standards?") standards (now masked under "creative process?")

And then..darn it...poor Rob...other people and their...er...existences as in not considering how rare people of this or that sort might be...where did that come from? Ya gotta wonder, in fact, where any of it came from. Not, I would guess, from any worthwhile discussion of art.

Higgins
04-27-2007, 09:00 PM
Sokal, it's quite clear that you don't follow much of what I say, in terms of the tone of my posts. No doubt, that is reflection of my failure to properly convey such. I apologize for that and will endeavor to provide you better markers in the future, so you don't spend so much time trying to push a button that isn't even there.

However, you have exhibited an outstanding mastery of the word "trivial." What's the word on the calendar for tomorrow? "Sarcastic"? I might be able to help you with that one...

You could try saying something about some real Art (by which I mean Art that could have a "proper name" as in "Florentine Art" or "Neoclassical Art") instead of making up utterly trivial scenarios involving pies and crumpled paper. Naturally, I have very little expectation that you would actually talk about any real Art in a thread about Art...good heavens...you might have to use the imagination (its that thing in your head that can make pictures of things you may not have seen) that you have so ostentaeously neglected with the pie and the crumpled paper scenarios.

robeiae
04-27-2007, 09:01 PM
You left out the pie. Again.

ETA: Oops. You posted again, this time with the pie. Thank you.

robeiae
04-27-2007, 09:20 PM
You could try saying something about some real Art (by which I mean Art that could have a "proper name" as in "Florentine Art" or "Neoclassical Art") instead of making up utterly trivial scenarios involving pies and crumpled paper. Naturally, I have very little expectation that you would actually talk about any real Art in a thread about Art...good heavens...you might have to use the imagination (its that thing in your head that can make pictures of things you may not have seen) that you have so ostentaeously neglected with the pie and the crumpled paper scenarios.Why?

And anyway, I don't know anything about all that fancy art stuff. I just like paintings of dogs playing poker. (see, that's sarcasm--you've missed pretty much every other time I have used it)

But the thread is about what art is, what it is not, and what the word means, imo, since it is in a subforum devoted to the Philosophy of Language. I'll address it exaclty how I want to--you are free to do the same. Why is that a problem for you?

However, you seem utterly distraught by my unwillingness to see things your way or at least have the discussion on your terms, to the point that you actually claimed that I "demanded" an answer to a question from you by "repeated askings," a claim that is demonstrably false. When called on it, you just got wound up even tighter, then fixated on "trivialities" as a means to somehow ridiucule/insult me. But it's not working for you, since I don't feel insulted.

But don't worry, it's all good. :)

Higgins
04-27-2007, 10:12 PM
Why?

And anyway, I don't know anything about all that fancy art stuff. I just like paintings of dogs playing poker. (see, that's sarcasm--you've missed pretty much every other time I have used it)

But the thread is about what art is, what it is not, and what the word means, imo, since it is in a subforum devoted to the Philosophy of Language. I'll address it exaclty how I want to--you are free to do the same. Why is that a problem for you?

However, you seem utterly distraught by my unwillingness to see things your way or at least have the discussion on your terms, to the point that you actually claimed that I "demanded" an answer to a question from you by "repeated askings," a claim that is demonstrably false. When called on it, you just got wound up even tighter, then fixated on "trivialities" as a means to somehow ridiucule/insult me. But it's not working for you, since I don't feel insulted.

But don't worry, it's all good. :)

I think your whole approach to cultural objects is misguided and when somebody (like me) tries to look into what the point is of coming up with increasingly trivial "definitions" that relate only to totally imaginary scenarios...you just go on generating more and more totally trivial and imaginary scenarios. I don't see why the fact that the subform is called Critical Theory etc. (which includes all approaches to all cultural objects, not just your schemas for trivializing things) should justify not addressing issues in a critical way. You've just run from one vacuous exercise to another and no amount of "sarcasm" has made your scenarios any more relevent to any real Art (by which I mean Art that might have a proper name such as "Renaissance Art"). It is very odd that you think I'm trying to insult you when I am actually suggesting that you might give up the trivia and address some real issues. Perhaps you sensed this when you did not feel insulted.

robeiae
04-27-2007, 11:39 PM
I think your whole approach to cultural objects is misguided and when somebody (like me) tries to look into what the point is of coming up with increasingly trivial "definitions" that relate only to totally imaginary scenarios...you just go on generating more and more totally trivial and imaginary scenarios. I don't see why the fact that the subform is called Critical Theory etc. (which includes all approaches to all cultural objects, not just your schemas for trivializing things) should justify not addressing issues in a critical way. You've just run from one vacuous exercise to another and no amount of "sarcasm" has made your scenarios any more relevent to any real Art (by which I mean Art that might have a proper name such as "Renaissance Art"). It is very odd that you think I'm trying to insult you when I am actually suggesting that you might give up the trivia and address some real issues. Perhaps you sensed this when you did not feel insulted.
Perhaps you could actually try explaining your points, rather than being so clever, hmmm?

"More and more totally trivial and imaginary scenarios"? See, it's at points like this where your rhetoric really falls apart. Look back through the thread. I see a couple of examples and one "scenario" in my posts. So why do you persist in presenting a false view of what I have said? "Demands," "repeated askings," now "more and more scenarios." At least when I respond to you, I do so with regard to what you have actually said, not with regard to an IMAGINARY construct of what you said. If nothing else, this habit makes you disingenuous in this thread, so it's a little hard for me to take anything else you say as constructive or meaningful.

But really, trying to claim that you are merely being suggestive, with no intent to insult or belittle is so just much nonsense, it's a joke. However, since I don't feel insulted (since you are approaching such attempts from a misinformed perspective, ala missing my point, more often than not), we can just let it go. Okay-dokey?

I'll even let you have the last word, here. This will be my last post in this thread. Now, make it a good one! :)

McDuff
04-28-2007, 02:41 AM
The computer ate my response!

I can't be bothered to write it again now. Maybe I'll get back to it tomorrow.

It was bloody awesome, though, and not only answered all your questions but also contained a marvellous recipe for apple strudel.

pdr
04-28-2007, 05:21 AM
stop nitpicking and mucking around.

Come on I'd like to know why our different societies have defined ART as a they have. And why certain creative people are included and others are not.

Define ART please if you disagree, as disagree you seem to, with the comment in the original post.

McDuff
04-28-2007, 05:49 AM
I don't disagree! I agree with you. I mean, I agree with the OP. I'm not sure you get the full implications of what you've posted. It's not as if people saying Picasso is awesome stops you disliking Picassos, does it?

rubarbb
04-28-2007, 06:07 AM
There are those of us who create art, not only for ourselves, but also for others. Those who can't, criticizeritize or write about it. The way of the world it is.

pdr
04-29-2007, 06:27 AM
define what ART is, rubarbb.

McDuff, you still haven't told me what is ART as defined by society. The fact that I am lacking in ART appreciation because I cannot see Picasso as a great artist seems bloody cheek to me.

The fact that the majority of the British public were not happy to see money spent on half a dead cow as ART is not seen democratically as: It
is their money, they have a right to say. No it was seen as: Well, they are ignorant peasnats who don't know about ART.

Rob: come on, define ART and stop enjoying your fight with SOKAL.
Why do you seem to think that society, i.e. art experts, can define ART even though the general public say That's not ART.

We get it in the writing world. Some writers are held up as greats and others are not. Personal preference doesn't seem to be allowed. Some idiot in a University Lit department claims that XYZ is the new great English language novelist and we are all supposed to agree. I am always amazed that other Universities then join in. Readers vote with their pockets and don't buy the great writer's works yet we are still told XYZ is the new great English language novelist. Sigh!

Sohia Rose
04-29-2007, 06:55 AM
define what ART is, rubarbb.

McDuff, you still haven't told me what is ART as defined by society. The fact that I am lacking in ART appreciation because I cannot see Picasso as a great artist seems bloody cheek to me.

The fact that the majority of the British public were not happy to see money spent on half a dead cow as ART is not seen democratically as: It
is their money, they have a right to say. No it was seen as: Well, they are ignorant peasnats who don't know about ART.

Rob: come on, define ART and stop enjoying your fight with SOKAL.
Why do you seem to think that society, i.e. art experts, can define ART even though the general public say That's not ART.

We get it in the writing world. Some writers are held up as greats and others are not. Personal preference doesn't seem to be allowed. Some idiot in a University Lit department claims that XYZ is the new great English language novelist and we are all supposed to agree. I am always amazed that other Universities then join in. Readers vote with their pockets and don't buy the great writer's works yet we are still told XYZ is the new great English language novelist. Sigh!

There are actually rules of thought on what universities say is art and what museums say. Or simply what the artist says.

I remember in philosophy class, I challenged that Andy Warhol's Brillo pads and Campbell's soup cans we're simply grocery items (I know, I was asking for it. :) ).

McDuff
04-29-2007, 07:00 AM
McDuff, you still haven't told me what is ART as defined by society. The fact that I am lacking in ART appreciation because I cannot see Picasso as a great artist seems bloody cheek to me.
Well, I didn't tell you that. I think that Picasso was one of the most influential artists of the 20th century and that can be one measure of greatness. On the other hand if you don't like his work you don't like his work. I don't care. I'd far rather you paid attention to art that you liked rather than tried to force yourself to like Guernica.

As far as Hirst is concerned, "The British Public" is hardly a monolithic block. Plenty of people like Hirst -- I'm one of them. Newspapers like the Sun and The Mail make lots of hay about conceptual artists and, while they sometimes have a point, there's no reason that lowest-common-denominator populism is actually a better metric than elitism. In my personal opinion pretty much everything by the Pre-Raphaelites was soulless, pretentious dreck, but most people like it all well enough because the dudes could mostly paint a pretty lady fairly well. I'm not going to ban it from galleries because I don't like it and the peasants should know better, but nor am I going to cream my jeans because there's a pre-Raph exhibition in Manchester or Liverpool.

My whole definition of art is that there kinda isn't one, and nor does there really need to be. You can go to all the art galleries in the world without once having a discussion about what art is, and you'll have a good enough idea and expectation from art that you'll know in your own mind what it is, even if you can't define it.

Nolita
04-29-2007, 06:09 PM
"I don't know if it's art. But I like it." Somebody said that, I'm just repeating.

If it's any consolation, I love Picasso. It's good to look at paintings from the full scope of his work though. He evolved so much.

But when I look at a Pollack, all I can think is "breakdancing, schizophrenic, pidgeon with diarrhea". It's better than parroting what art historians and critics tell me to think. At least I'm being honest. At least I'm admitting what I see. Sometimes the emperor is strutting around starkers. Someone has to be the child who calls him on it.

rubarbb
04-29-2007, 06:58 PM
[quote=pdr;1298741]define what ART is, rubarbb.

Hello, I will define what art is im my mind. There are many types of art, writing being one of them. I prefer to paint as well as write. I create something from nothing that evokes a feeling or sends you on a mind trip. Something you can look at and say "wow, I really like that". Not all people will like my art (which doesn't bother me as I can't please everyone) and that is fine. I still evoked a feeling even if it is of unpleasure. As they say, art is in the eye... Question: Do you not appreciate art? rubarbb

McDuff
04-30-2007, 06:46 PM
I think that people here are having a difficult time separating "art" from "stuff I like." A bad painting is still art. Novels you dislike are still art. A play you find tedious is still art.

Higgins
04-30-2007, 08:30 PM
I think that people here are having a difficult time separating "art" from "stuff I like." A bad painting is still art. Novels you dislike are still art. A play you find tedious is still art.

There is currently an immense range of confusion where any culturally-based, symbolically-mediated, personally significant, more or less meaningful things are concerned. I'm sure I'm not immune from this problematization of all things cultural; it is hard to avoid. My attempt at not being confused makes me think it is important not to let things run together, and above all, to avoid posing problems or questions in such a way that the particular problem is obviated by a generic gesture at the general confusion. After all, there are plenty of ways that the determination of what constitutes "stuff I like" is a lot like determining what constitutes an Art (as in an Art that can have a proper name and an implied aesthetic, such as "Mannerist Art"...or "High Renaissance Art" both of which owe a lot to being stuff that Vassari liked). This parallelism between the aesthetics of "stuff I like" and the aesthetics of a particular Art (that is an Art that can have a proper name) is in many ways far more instructive than the other point that seems to confuse people which is that the appellation "art" confers an indefinite and weirdly confusing extra value to any object (however unworthy) to which it is applied.
Now, I know that the lack of some special extra value's being conferred by the appellation "art" is totally counter-intuitive since the designation of an object as "art" seems to confer the value of a lot of money on odds and ends if the designation is made by say Duchamp...but note that (maybe even more paradoxically) the designation still happens within a particular aesthetic frame and that is as fragile as any other aesthetic frame. A revealing negative parallel example (and one that is almost equally counter-intuitive) is the one I'm trying to point out (see my attempts in "Starting from Nothing" and "A Beard of Mary Beards") --
which is that Classic Art is an utterly traditional area of art, seemingly in no way arbitrarily designated as such by anyone, that is effectively losing its aesthetic frame (or in fact is an Art that generated Art History by the progessive loss of a whole series of aesthetic frames for the same set of objects).
Well...I seem to have generated yet another confusing term: "Aesthetic Frame"...but I hope it amounts to a gesture at the body of aesthetic terms that Art History has put forward for different Proper Arts (such as "Classical Art" or "Hellenistic Art" or "Mannerist Art")...

pdr
05-02-2007, 04:47 AM
there seems to be, in most Western societies, some definition of ART. So who came up with it an dwhat is it?

Higgins
05-02-2007, 05:58 AM
there seems to be, in most Western societies, some definition of ART. So who came up with it an dwhat is it?


How would a general definition help you with the aesthetic judgements needed for particular cases? For example, if you wanted to articulate why you don't like Picasso much, what would you do? And which definition would you apply to which object if there were different possibilities? Suppose for example, Vasari said that the valuable essence of painting (and painting in his view was the highest art), was in the underlying assembly of recognized subelements in terms of inventiveness of design. This would be hard on Picasso, and easy on Bronzino, but why would it make sense to apply Vasari's artistic theories to Picasso? Not that there may not be a good way to do that, but it is not inherent in any overall definition.
So, it seems to me, that, if you want to know what is up with an Art, you have to look at what lies behind its assemblage and assessment under a limited set of aesthetic frames. Since there are cases where the same objects were assessed and assembled (forged and copied if necessary) in totally different successive sets of interpretive frames (or even altered to fit a new frame), the particular sets of interpretive or aesthetic or evaluative frames takes precedence over any overall definition of art, which at best can only give you a very rough and abstract idea of what might be going on over time and space with different assemblages and different interpretive frames.

pdr
05-03-2007, 05:52 AM
I think, Sokal.

And I agree. How can one definition of ART cover everything and everyone yet we are assured that there is one and it does.

That's why I like the original post's comment.

I can say clearly why I don't find Picasso's work 'great', ditto Hemingway. They are my opinions and should be as acceptable as those from people with opposing opinions.

Why aren't they? In a culture that is supposed to value individual freedom why are we not free to make assessments for ourselves?

Higgins
05-03-2007, 07:40 AM
In a culture that is supposed to value individual freedom why are we not free to make assessments for ourselves?

Our culture is like any other, only moreso. In any culture there are areas that are in flux and areas that are relatively fixed. It's nearly impossible to even traverse the fixed areas at all in terms that are engaging for most of the participants. Look at what happens whenever I post about Classical or Mayan Art in this subforum. Zero. That's all obviously in a fixed area. There's nothing engaging about it. Kind of strange. It may be that since our culture at least seems to have methods for representing aspects of other cultures (such as the Classic Mayan Art) or cultures that are not quite entirely other cultures (such as Classic Art) this very apparent ability has to be to some degree frozen or fixed or ignored or else this culture would become something other than a culture. A non-cultural post-culture or a purely technical realm with its own very rapidly evolving ways of evaluating things. Well...sort of like parts of the online world already are. Sort of like an Art or a Science at the moment they move into new territory with new techniques.
But what about an idea about re-evaluating Picasso? Let's suppose Picasso is still in a part of some culture that is in flux (but not either in the frozen realm that must be kept at bay if cultures are to remain cultural and not in the possibly post-cultural realm)...how do people manipulate their own cultures without introducing anything from "elsewhere" (the frozen nothing inside or the outside altogether)? I'm thinking there are some well-known possibilities:

Via personal power and influence (say when Saatchi buys some of Hirst's stuff)
Via symbolic manipulations such as myth or religion or purity cults or Ghost Dances
Via entertaining manipulations such as paintings or hallucinagens or online games or writing
Via statelike ideological power (as in the authorities burn all paintings of type x or command a pyramid to be errected or )
Via an address to the structural relations between reality and culture (science and scholarship)

Of course you can mix and match these options and have say an Entertaining Cult of Saatchi or a church with mosaics of the Empress Theodora...but those are the universal options. Individual freedom is a legal theory, not a cultural one.

louiscypher
05-04-2007, 09:02 AM
‘art is anything that anyone has ever considered a work of art, though it maybe a work of art only for that one person.’


Well that throws all democratic rights/writes out the window in favour of platonistic narcissism - don't it just?

But then that too would make 'the family an art'... seeing a tyranny is always ruled by its weakest link and all (Bourke)

J