View Full Version : Starting from Nothing

04-27-2007, 11:56 PM
I hope the prolonged agonies of the thread about the "definition of art" have suggested the pointlessness of discussing art from the point of view of some inexplicable need to get everything categorized as quickly as possible. First, I would suggest not using any terms for art in general except in the most vague terms such as might apply when referring to nature and culture or theory and practice. We use the term, but we don't expect it to instantly make sense in every particular circumstance...or in some, if at all, never.
Given this hygenic removal of art from genuinely elucidatory discourse, with what do we replace it? I suggest replacing "art" with "Art" where the capital indicates an empty functional category that would turn the "Art" into a proper noun when it is supplied. So when I say "Art"...I mean all the Arts that might exist as proper nouns: Venetian Art, Late Antique Art, Surrealist Art, Tang Dynasty Art, Constructivist Art, Objectivist Art, Op Art, Ego-Futurist Art. The good thing about that is that all those proper Arts have their own definitions and there is no need for a general definition.

One category that is deliberatly left aside from Art is the art that people feel the need to complain about as in "Why do people call that art?"...the reason is that I think that is a diverse topic that needs to be approached by looking at many varieties of Art and the interpretation of Art. This also removes the "what is wrong with our culture?" line of complaint until the basic analysis has reached the point that we can recognize the unprecedented variety of objects and interpretations that are being juxtaposed in the world as it is now. I will also suggest that these juxtapositionings are fundamental in the ways that different Arts coexist and that interpretations are forced into being as useful things but with no invariant applicability.

I also recommend using real examples of Art.

Anyway...to get things started...here is an image of a tiny landscape on a black wall that was found in a villa near Pompeii:


04-28-2007, 02:21 AM
And whom, exatcly, would be the judge of "Art" versus "art'? What's WITH all this capitalizing of words anyway? I say Capitalize Every Word And Let's Be Done With It.

Yes, I read through the other thread and recognized it for what I thought it really was; a lot of intellectual chest-pounding.

My pereception of "art/Art" is entirely subjective. Neither you, nor the artist him/her-self (IF still alive) will in any way be able to influence my perception of what is, or is not, art.

Though I fully agree with the fact that the artists intent should be part of the equation, I do not think that he/she has a right to even try to influence the beholder, other than perhaps to explain where that specific art-piece came from emotionally.

The subject of art/Art/ART is simply WAY to subjective. We could talk about it "till death did us part", and we still might not be able to agree. The infamous cigarrette butt, or even the pie, can be placed there, for all I care, for others to argue over, but I for one refuse to let myself be run over by some way-over-my-head intellectual simply because he/she feels a need to further their own schooled-to-the-core eloquence.

04-28-2007, 08:03 PM
And whom, exatcly, would be the judge of "Art" versus "art'? What's WITH all this capitalizing of words anyway? I say Capitalize Every Word And Let's Be Done With It.

I'm suggesting that it might be more instructive to set aside the problems of art in general and look at some segments of what might be called art that at least appear to be well-defined. And not by me.

However, to return to my problem with Classical Art (a proper noun and so it gets a cap or two...initial only...but still some caps) which I brought up in the thread in this subforum called "A Beard of Mary Beards"...anyway there is an series of objects that fall under the term Classical Art. The interesting thing about Classical Art is that it is both the area of concern where Art History originated with Winkelmann (see PP 68ff here:

http://www.powells.com/biblio?isbn=9780192842374 ) and an area that is now, more or less justifiably, of little interest as art. So the scandal about Classical Art is the opposite of the scandalous nature of some more recent art that people do not find compelling, because Classical Art is about as well-defined in terms of being art as any art could possibly be...indeed for centuries it was the absolute standard of what art should be...and yet it now seems to be relatively uninteresting as art. For various reasons, Classical Art seems to me to be as close to a neutral nothingness in terms of questions about art that one could possibly find. Think of it as a laboratory experiment: art with everything but the fact that it is art pumped out of it. Whatever you can see in Classical Art is not the primordiality of art, but the bare emblematic nothing that art sits on.