• baker
    3.7k
    Quality and effort shows whether it's Mozart's Requiem or the latest chart topper, and so do a lack of quality.Bitter Crank

    What is now called "classical music" (or in German: ernste Musik, 'serious music') used to be popular music back at the time when it was first composed and played. Composers and solo artists back then had the same type of status as music celebrities do nowadays. Note that the relatively few pieces that are now considered the canon of classical music (perhaps a thousand pieces) are actually the the-best-of a few hundred years.

    So we cannot rightfully compare a piece from the classical canon and just any piece that is now played a lot on the radio or YT. The latter hasn't yet stood the test of time, while the former has.
  • baker
    3.7k
    For me a key question isn't merely whether the art is any good but what the consumers of that art are getting out it. Maybe mediocre art provides transcendence for mediocre people?Tom Storm

    Lady Gaga said that her aim has been to become a star. She consciously chose the genre of pop music to achieve this aim.
    She is fluent in several genres, but she specifically chose pop music to perfect this form, for the purpose of her aim.

    I think much pop music is subversive. Sometimes, musicians will openly admit to this, other times hint to it. One also needs to master the art of subversion to "enjoy" this music as a listener.


    Except Thomas Kinkaid: His gooey, treacly, cloying sentimental village scenes are a criminal aggravation of the diabetes epidemic.Bitter Crank

    See, his pictures don't bother me at all. I view them the same way I view any art. I assume subversion. (After all, Kinkade was an alcoholic and died as a consequence of it.)
  • baker
    3.7k
    I'm asking you. You're the one making claims about merit that seem to hint at some kind objectivity.Tom Storm

    Or are you suggesting with your term 'collective process' that there is an intersubjective agreement about what art can be considered good? If so, then we might still need to work out how we arrive at good or bad if we are going to communicate about art.Tom Storm

    Then who cares what you or I think? And we can stop making judgements about what is art, except to ourselves.Tom Storm

    I think art is in the discourse about certain media products.

    Art has to do with being social in a very specific way (of the "you know it when you see it" variety).
    It's not simply about one's subjective experience or subjective opinion about a media product. It's about one's subjective experience or subjective opinion about a media product, while this subjective experience or subjective opinion is embedded in a particular social, cultural, economic context, and it is done so for real, with real stakes, in the sense that one having said subjective experience or subjective opinion functions in these contexts as a person; ie. as someone who has certain social, cultural, and economic needs, interests, concerns, roles, obligations, functions, prospective advantages and disadvantages.


    There is nothing mysterious about how this process works: we are social animals and we do look for clues among our people, our milieu, about what is considered good and not good.
    — Bitter Crank

    Sure, you're not wrong, but in the context of a philosophy forum and arguments about a subject, we can do better, no? Our job here is to transcend the gravitational pull of enculturation and group mores.
    Tom Storm

    My assumption is that the gravitational pull of enculturation and group mores is actually all there is to art.
    On their own, pictures are just shapes and colors; music is just sound frequencies of particular dynamics and duration; and so on.

    We need to venture firmly into the mystical to be able to make claims such as "red is the color of anger, and when the painter painted the woman's dress in red, he wanted to thereby express the frustration that women feel at being treated as sex objects".
  • Bitter Crank
    10.3k
    Yes, I agree that "classical music" appealed to many more people than the elite who could hire a composer to produce work for them. Bach wrote music that was performed for the rank and file in Lutheran churches (and elsewhere). The music swerves back and forth between clear statement of text (recitative) and the often thrilling chorales, with added instrumental interludes. A performance of a Bach passion, in English; excellent choir and soloists; a baroque orchestra, preacher -- et al, is still a pretty good show (if one is in the right mood, the setting is ecclesiastical, etc.)

    I don't know how much access the larger part of the population of Europe had access to Mozart's or Haydn's, Handel's or Beethoven's music, and in what form they heard it when they did have access. Later on, opera composers sometimes kept selected parts of a new opera under wraps until shortly before the premiere, in order to prevent musicians and opera house workers from taking the piece into the streets, spoiling the surprise for the paying audience. I don't know how fast Haydn's Piano sonata #35 (one of my favorites) published in 1780 diffused into the parlors of Europe and America.

    18th and early 19th century Americans were eager to hear 'new music' from Europe. Benjamin Franklin recommended attending Moravian church services because the Moravians used small orchestras and choirs in their services (no organs) and regularly used fresh music from their homeland, composed in the latter 1700s. "The first known public performance in the US of an instrumental work by Mozart took place on December 14, 1786, in one of the Twelve City Concerts at the City Tavern in Philadelphia."

    One way classical music diffused was through small amateur groups, cheaper sheet music, and later, cheaper pianos which "middle class" people could afford.

    So we cannot rightfully compare a piece from the classical canon and just any piece that is now played a lot on the radio or YT. The latter hasn't yet stood the test of time, while the former has.baker

    No, there is no comparing The Magic Flute and rap. There's no comparing a Bergman film and a porno, even if we may prefer a porno to The Seventh Seal or Winter Light on a given occasion. There's no such thing as 24 hour Bergman coin operated video parlors--perish the thought!
  • Bitter Crank
    10.3k
    After all, Kinkade was an alcoholic and died as a consequence of itbaker

    The gods of art criticism are just!
  • Bitter Crank
    10.3k
    music is just sound frequencies of particular dynamics and duration; and so on.baker

    'Too many notes, dear Mozart, too many notes' is what Emperor Joseph II supposedly said after the first performance of the Entfuhrung aus dem Serail [Escape from the Seraglio--harem] in Vienna's old Burgtheater. Mozart's reply was: 'Just as many as necessary, Your Majesty. Or, as in Amadeus,

    "Just cut a few!"
    "Which ones did you have in mind, your majesty?"
  • T Clark
    7.6k
    No, there is no comparing The Magic Flute and rap. There's no comparing a Bergman film and a porno,Bitter Crank

    Just showing your old white guy prejudice.
  • Bitter Crank
    10.3k
    Pretty much the case.
  • baker
    3.7k
    Let's get one thing straight: Classical music (and classical Western art) aren't goddam capitalist, it isn't something for only the rich for starters, so don't be against it!

    Why wouldn't we like the music of our own heritage?
    ssu

    We shouldn't, insofar as we don't belong to the socio-economic class in whose domain classical Western art is nowadays, ie. the elite.


    You cannot just go to a classical concert if you don't have the appropriate socio-economic status for it. It can even happen that people will hiss behind your back, "What is she doing here?!" At least in Europe, people have a very sharp sense of socio-economic class and can recognize a person's class just by looking at them.

    Valery Gergiev and the Mariinsky Orchestra once gave a performance here. It was a considerable media event with a lot of VIP's in the audience. The main piece of the evening was Tchaikovsky's Sixth Symphony. At the end, the audience didn't applaud. Gergiev looked at the audience with worry. Then, finally, someone started, a standing ovation ensued.

    I put on my best clothes, but it was clear that I was gravely underdressed for the event. The ladies behind me commented on this or that woman, the importance of wearing fancy dresses and high heels (despite the damage they do to the knees and backbone, they said).

    I know the Sixth by heart. I bought my ticket long in advance, with an empirically tested best seat in the hall. I felt entirely out of place, and I felt sorry for going.

    (Although I didn't applaud for my own reason -- I was going through a funk at the time, where I couldn't quite figure out how there can be life after being in a state of the Sixth. Classical concerts can be good in a sense, because the formality of the affair can help one gain distance from the emotional-cognitive state of or induced by the music, so as to not become sentimental/pathetic.)
  • baker
    3.7k
    I can't relate to the fascination some people have with Bergman. I actually think his films are nothing special. But of course, I'm speaking from the perspective of someone who has first seen a rich film tradition, some of it inspired by Bergman, and only then ventured into seeing his films. From that perspective, Bergman indeed doesn't seem all that special.

    The order in which one becomes acculturated does make a difference to the way one experiences media products.
  • baker
    3.7k
    What is it we are prepared to countenance as art and therefore assess as an aesthetic work or statement and how do we make an assessment of its relative merits?Tom Storm

    That which we have learned to do so, and to the extent or expanse which our learning permits.

    I dislike most contemporary art I have seen. Mainly because I find it dull.Tom Storm

    That's because you're not getting involved in it, you don't bother to empathize with it, and most of all, you see no problem with such non-involvement. Because you're still approaching art as a _consumer_ -- a term you used yourself.

    If you were to find the work 'Equivalent V111' by Carl Andre (basically 120 house bricks arranged in a pattern) dumped on a building site it would just be a pile of bricks. If you found a Rodin sculpture dumped in the same location it would still be art despite being context free. Does this add anything to our understanding of definitions?Tom Storm

    The Rodin is not context free, though, the viewer provides the context via his previous education/enculturation.


    As does everything else. But can't we still make a case for who is the greatest ancient Greek writer and why, even though their civilisation and tradition is extinct?

    Yes, we can, because for those old texts, we know the rules for what counts as good and what doesn't.
  • Bitter Crank
    10.3k
    Order of experience, setting, context -- all important,

    In my youth, ending in let's say, 1968 at 22. I had not seen much in the way of serious films or serious dramatic or cinema art. I grew up in a very small town in rural Minnesota and attended a state college in a relatively small college town. "Art films" were few and far between. But about this time a boyfriend in Madison, Wisconsin introduced me to Bergman. Madison was then a much more radical left bohemian place than in recent years. Leonard was trying to educate me into being a more sophisticated boyfriend. I appreciated it.

    The upper midwest, places like Minnesota and Wisconsin, are kind of Bergman territory -- chilly Scandinavian influence all over the place. Maybe that has something to do with it.

    Fanny and Alexander and Secenth Seal are my favorites. But since the early 70s I've seen hundreds of film, most of which were not particularly Bergmanesque, and my tastes aren't the same now. Bergman got at a kind of gloomy religiosity which feels very familiar to me. Winter Light, as one theologian said, is the perfect depiction of a church so dead that not even God showed up.
  • Tom Storm
    2.9k
    Yes, we can, because for those old texts, we know the rules for what counts as good and what doesn't.baker

    Many think they do but the debate is irresolvable and acrimonious. No one (even 'experts') can agree on anything so the 'rules' are elusive if they exist at all.
  • Tom Storm
    2.9k
    That's because you're not getting involved in it, you don't bother to empathize with it, and most of all, you see no problem with such non-involvement.baker

    I disagree. I have several friends who I adore who make make such art and i totally empathise with them and their projects. I still find it dull.

    I love your line 'you see no problem with such non-involvement' at some point I'd like to explore this.
  • Tom Storm
    2.9k
    Lady Gaga said that her aim has been to become a star. She consciously chose the genre of pop music to achieve this aim.
    She is fluent in several genres, but she specifically chose pop music to perfect this form, for the purpose of her aim.

    I think much pop music is subversive. Sometimes, musicians will openly admit to this, other times hint to it. One also needs to master the art of subversion to "enjoy" this music as a listener.


    ↪Tom Storm
    Except Thomas Kinkaid: His gooey, treacly, cloying sentimental village scenes are a criminal aggravation of the diabetes epidemic.
    — Bitter Crank

    See, his pictures don't bother me at all. I view them the same way I view any art. I assume subversion. (After all, Kinkade was an alcoholic and died as a consequence of it.)
    baker

    I find your ideas here very interesting.

    I wonder if Kinkade drank out of self-hatred for his debased artworks... (sorry, that was just a cheap line). Lady Gaga is talented but I don't follow her work.

    Why do you assume subversion?

    I find it interesting that some art can only be understood as subversion or ironically for it to be 'enjoyed' by people. If they thought the artist was totally sincere the work would be hated. I think Warhol fits into this and so do some mid century singers like Dean Martin. The idea of art which is camp or kitsch has fascinated me for years. (setting aside what Susan Sontag wrote about this).
  • Amity
    2.7k
    Brilliant ! :sparkle:

    https://thephilosophyforum.com/discussion/comment/642270

    Sorry, I haven't been following this thread. Brought here by:
    The Short Story competition comments @jamalrob:
    https://thephilosophyforum.com/discussion/comment/643376

    I have never learned the art of review. My read-a-long feedback to the stories is nowhere near a proper review. I felt uncomfortable with that description by some.
    For me, it was just like being in a discussion. Relating and trying to understand the text. Asking questions of the author and self. Interacting with other readers. Viewing other perspectives.
    Mostly, this led to greater understanding and appreciation of the writers' own process.

    For me, the Short Story Competition was/is an inspirational learning experience.
    It has its frustrations, yes. However, overall it proved to be most worthwhile.
    Thanks to all who made it so :sparkle:

    So, I missed reading this thread. Will rectify soon as...
  • Raymond
    649


    Same happened to the Nachtwacht:

    "On 6 April 1990, an escaped psychiatric patient sprayed acid onto the painting with a concealed pump bottle. Security guards intervened, stopping the man and quickly spraying water onto the canvas. Ultimately, the acid only penetrated the varnish layer of the painting, and it was fully restored."

    Now why did he do that?

    The painting, by the way, was stored for years "in the cellar". Van Rijn's work didn't satisfy the watchers. The place where it was stored is even visited by tourists! "Here stood the Nachtwacht".
  • T Clark
    7.6k
    Brilliant !Amity

    Thank you.

    I have never learned the art of review. My read-a-long feedback to the stories is nowhere near a proper review. I felt uncomfortable with that description by some.
    For me, it was just like being in a discussion. Relating and trying to understand the text. Asking questions of the author and self. Interacting with other readers. Viewing other perspectives.
    Mostly, this led to greater understanding and appreciation of the writers' own process.
    Amity

    I really like writing reviews if it's a book that really moved or influenced me. I almost always write positive reviews. I wrote the one for "Titus Groan" because it's a hard book to stick with and I wanted to give it people as a gift. I thought if I gave them that review it might inspire them to read it. I also write reviews to examine my own experience of reading. Why did I like this book so much? Just like the writing I do here on the forum, it is a way to become more intellectually self-aware.

    @Bitter Crank says he started this thread as a joke. He, and I, are surprised how interesting and enlightening it has turned out to be. There are a few people here who seem really interested in the philosophy of art; including literature, poetry, music, architecture, visual arts, sculpture. There have been a couple of good threads recently. I'd like to see more.
  • ssu
    4.9k
    We shouldn't, insofar as we don't belong to the socio-economic class in whose domain classical Western art is nowadays, ie. the elite.

    You cannot just go to a classical concert if you don't have the appropriate socio-economic status for it. It can even happen that people will hiss behind your back, "What is she doing here?!" At least in Europe, people have a very sharp sense of socio-economic class and can recognize a person's class just by looking at them.
    baker
    Seems you don't go to classical concerts, I presume, when you write it like that. :snicker:

    And just how many teenagers have the money to get tickets to a Rock concert of some "Superstar", especially with prime seats? The vast majority of people listen to music, not go to live concerts. And that kind of attitude "What is she doing here?!" is quite present in any kind of pop / trance / hip hop / whatever concert. If everybody is far younger than you, then obviously you will stick out like a sore thumb. And many people will have the feeling that they don't "belong" there.

    That music would have "appropriate socio-economic status" is one way we build up these perceptions of others. Basically it's nonsense. I do admit that there might be differences by country, but that just shows how far the social classes are from another in a specific country. For example, the UK is extremely class conscious society compared to the Nordic countries. In the British society ALL social classes are hostile if someone from another class tries to "join them". However the differences aren't there as they were before. At least where I live and on the occasions when I've gone to classical concerts people look suspiciously if a person would be "overdressed". Ties aren't used, as people are on their spare time. Talk about rigid 'casual clothing'.

    In fact it's an old stereotype, the rich and classical music, as trendy (rich) people are more for things like jazz. The old stereotype is something that was depicted in cartoons of Robert McManus of "Jiggs and Maggie" (or Bringing up Father), which was started in 1911:

    bottom+26.jpg

    People don't actually dress up for classical concerts as they did earlier, the slavish formality on proper clothing is what you see in heavy rock concerts and the like.
  • Amity
    2.7k
    I wrote the one for "Titus Groan" because it's a hard book to stick with and I wanted to give it people as a gift. I thought if I gave them that review it might inspire them to read it. I also write reviews to examine my own experience of reading. Why did I like this book so much? Just like the writing I do here on the forum, it is a way to become more intellectually self-aware.T Clark

    I'm glad I found your review, thanks to @jamalrob.
    I now have the trilogy on my kindle.

    Also found an audio version of 'Titus Groan' on YouTube:
    https://thephilosophyforum.com/discussion/comment/643484

    Chapter 1
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=llnS_w1bWXU&list=PLJhs8srQkUbL2ooUwsu4BT9MCZ7kFPYnG

    For me, the narration is marvellous and saves my weary eyes.
    So far, I've listened to 3 of the 40 chapters. I have no idea how I missed this delight until now...
    The narrator, with his fantastic range of voice, brings the characters to life in their vivid, magical world.

    It's a shame your review is hidden away here; I think more would enjoy this book.
    I can understand how it inspired @jamalrob to write his winning story :cool:

    Appreciate the generous sharing on TPF :sparkle:
  • jamalrob
    3.7k
    So far, I've listened to 3 of the 40 chaptersAmity

    Don't worry, the plot will get going in a couple of chapters. :lol:

    Seriously though, I never even found it slow when I was reading it. Just totally absorbing.
  • Amity
    2.7k
    Bitter Crank says he started this thread as a joke. He, and I, are surprised how interesting and enlightening it has turned out to be. There are a few people here who seem really interested in the philosophy of art; including literature, poetry, music, architecture, visual arts, sculpture. There have been a couple of good threads recently. I'd like to see more.T Clark
    :up:
    Agree that the creative aspect of philosophy could be explored more. Encouraging to see an increase in interest. Thanks @Bitter Crank for starting this thread, even as a joke :sparkle:
  • Amity
    2.7k
    Seriously though, I never even found it slow when I was reading it. Just totally absorbing.jamalrob

    Same here.
    If I'm not around for the next few months, you'll know why...just dropped by to let you know :wink:
  • T Clark
    7.6k
    I now have the trilogy on my kindle.Amity

    I loved "Titus Groan" but have been afraid to read "Gorhemgest." Yes, I know that's ridiculous. I started it once, but was daunted even though I knew what to expect. Maybe now I'll be inspired. You have me thinking about listening to it instead, although I usually would rather read.

    Agree that the creative aspect of philosophy could be explored more. Encouraging to see an increase in interest. TAmity

    I'm surprised by how much I've enjoyed it. I haven't paid attention to aesthetics as a serious philosophical subject before, but, if, as I believe, philosophy is about increasing self-awareness, understanding why we think things are beautiful is central to what makes us human.
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