• Tom Storm
    2.9k
    I am not sure what you mean.Raymond

    What I mean is that (like anyone) artists start from a point of view. The one you mentioned sounds perfectly fine. An artist's personality or motivations or background have no impact on whether or not they make great things. Some great art is made by despicable people. And sometimes great art is made from despicable subjects.
  • Raymond
    649


    When I hear the word dogma the first thing that springs to my mind is the mother of a dog, then the movie, and then religion. It gives a feeling of something that is unmovable and thus unshakable. You can shake me! I just state what I think art is. Not how it should be.
  • Raymond
    649
    What I mean is that (like anyone) artists start from a point of view. The one you mentioned sounds perfectly fine. An artist's personality or motivations or background have no impact on whether or not they make great things. Some great art is made by despicable people. And sometimes great art is made from despicable subjects.Tom Storm

    Ah yes. Making art and getting money for it is very nice actually. And creating it at the wishes of people is great too. You can give an artistic form to their vision. When I look at art it doesn't really matter to me what character the artists has or had. If their story is well told, who cares? You can question what well told is or if you like the story or not, but for me the story is what counts. You can even ask if there is a real story told. A cartoon strip tells a story too. Are there more and less artistic strips? Dunno. I think every attempt to tell a story is already art. Not all attempts succeed though. I like the story of Dick Lundy's Donald Fauntleroy better than the Nachtwacht cartoon. They are both succeeded attempts. So it boils down eventually to: has the attempt succeeded and do I like the story told?
  • Tom Storm
    2.9k
    Which thread were you meaning? There are a number featuring Collingwood. Just read some of Collingwood's Aesthetics from the SEP. Brings back memories of just how deep the proper art versus craft and lesser arts rabbit hole can get. The idea that art is that which expresses the emotion of the artist is something I need to sit with again.

    I think my early view has generally been that art communicates an emotion or idea for the purposes of sharing and transforming others (in some way) even if only in the moment. It seems to me that art is often about dramatizing/stylizing a worldview to influence the thinking of others, stopping just short (in most cases) from propaganda. Then big question here is what was the artist's conscious intent and how we could ever know we are right?

    I've tried to cogitate over these themes without being too influenced by some 'proper' thinkers.
  • javra
    1.5k
    I hear you.Tom Storm

    Cool. Glad I didn’t come off as too much of a jerk in saying what I said.

    Only by exposing yourself to new things and sticking with them and, perhaps reading about them, can one come to appreciate their subtleties or lack there of. This means sticking with things you are not drawn to and possibly dislike. Subjectivity is something we can overcome. I gradually 'discovered' a lot of music, novels and movies by doing this.Tom Storm

    Got to understand and appreciate traditional African artwork that way. More recently also contemporary minimalism, which I wanted nothing to do with before understanding what others saw in it as a genre. So, yea.

    The challenge with an overly personal or subjective account of art is it tends to render Citizen Kane equivalent with an Adam Sandler movie (or insert piece of shit of your choice). I guess a criterion of value is usually established by a community of shared understanding. Which kind of leaves us to talk inside to our bubbles.Tom Storm

    Going back a bit to what I was saying about commonly shared tastes in relation to food and the exception of some humans somewhere finding human shit to be a delicacy: if what is shit (in terms of art out there) to the vast majority of us is deemed a sublime delicacy by some select few, this doesn’t change the fact that it doesn’t serve the vast majority’s affective appetites any. (I know. I'll try to fully stop my chastising of much of modern art with this last comment on it. :smile: ) But could we in any way address this and like issues outside of our intersubjective bubbles?

    I'd really like to hear a few choice navigation points from a phenomenological approach to artistic value.Tom Storm

    As regards art's aesthetic rather than monetary value (the two often do not coincide) as a generalized topic for philosophy: I think any phenomenological approach would have to first find the universalizing principle to aesthetics in all of us, in all beings capable of the experience for that matter, this just as much as it does with the principle of aboutness. Then again, I'm not a phenomenologist, just have certain affinities to some of it.
  • T Clark
    7.6k
    Which thread were you meaning?Tom Storm

    You mentioned it on this thread previously. I also thought I remembered you writing about it in the thread we participated in on interpretation last week, but I couldn't find it.

    The idea that art is that which expresses the emotion of the artist is something I need to sit with again.Tom Storm

    Yes, I'm just getting into "The Principles of Art." Collingwood seems to be headed toward defining art as an expression of the artists emotion. I'm not sure if I like that. We'll see as I get further in.
  • T Clark
    7.6k
    Going back a bit to what I was saying about commonly shared tastes in relation to food and the exception of some humans somewhere finding human shit to be a delicacy: if what is shit (in terms of art out there) to the vast majority of us is deemed a sublime delicacy by some select few, this doesn’t change the fact that it doesn’t serve the vast majority’s affective appetites any. (I know. I'll try to fully stop my chastising of much of modern art with this last comment on it. :smile: ) But could we in any way address this and like issues outside of our intersubjective bubbles?javra

    I've been pushing the definition of art as something without meaning beyond the viewer's experience. That leads to the same contradiction you're talking about above. How do I turn that personal, idiosyncratic standard into something a community can share? So far, the only answer I've come up with is unsatisfying - Quality of art is a measure of the extent to which a specific community consistently has positive experiences. Yeah... I don't like that much.
  • javra
    1.5k
    I've been pushing the definition of art as something without meaning beyond the viewer's experience.T Clark

    Think back to what we were all discussing in terms of differentiating art from non-art - this irrespective of its aesthetic standing. In order to be art some being must have intended it to be art and, in so intending, that being must have meant it to so be - thereby imparting it with this meaning. Hence, even in this basic facet of it, for X to be art it must have the minimal meaning of having been intended to so be by someone - and this fully independent of any viewer's experience of it.

    Otherwise:

    How do I turn that personal, idiosyncratic standard into something a community can share?T Clark

    Though taken a bit out of context here: That's the rub of it all, I think. Even in assuming that the prototypical artist intends to convey some affective state to other(s) - something I myself champion - the same question holds.

    [...] Quality of art is a measure of the extent to which a specific community consistently has positive experiences [...]T Clark

    I'd embellish this by saying that quality of art is a measure of the extent to which a specific community consistently is brought closer to eudemonia - to a flourishing of being - by said artwork (regardless of whether its pretty or morbidly grotesque, initially appealing or revolting, and so forth). How would that work?
  • T Clark
    7.6k
    I've been pushing the definition of art as something without meaning beyond the viewer's experience.
    — T Clark

    Think back to what we were all discussing in terms of differentiating art from non-art - this irrespective of its aesthetic standing. In order to be art some being must have intended it to be art and, in so intending, that being must have meant it to so be - thereby imparting it with this meaning. Hence, even in this basic facet of it, for X to be art it must have the minimal meaning of having been intended to so be by someone - and this fully independent of any viewer's experience of it.
    javra

    I've been endorsing two meanings of the word "art." 1) Something artificial without meaning beyond the viewers experience and 2) Something offered for aesthetic judgement or, as you expressed it, intended by some being to be art. I think they both work and I don't think they contradict each other.

    Otherwise:

    How do I turn that personal, idiosyncratic standard into something a community can share?
    — T Clark

    Though taken a bit out of context here: That's the rub of it all, I think. Even in assuming that the prototypical artist intends to convey some affective state to other(s) - something I myself champion - the same question holds.
    javra

    Yes, this was the main point I was trying to make with my response to this comment of yours:

    Going back a bit to what I was saying about commonly shared tastes in relation to food and the exception of some humans somewhere finding human shit to be a delicacy: if what is shit (in terms of art out there) to the vast majority of us is deemed a sublime delicacy by some select few, this doesn’t change the fact that it doesn’t serve the vast majority’s affective appetites any.javra

    I was agreeing with you and saying that it was a problem for my definitions.
  • javra
    1.5k
    I've been endorsing two meanings of the word "art." 1) Something artificial without meaning beyond the viewers experience and 2) Something offered for aesthetic judgement or, as you expressed it, intended by some being to be art. I think they both work and I don't think they contradict each other.T Clark

    I don't mean to pester but to better understand: How do you discern artificial from non-artificial in definition (1) if not by that which is artificial occurring (necessarily but not sufficiently) on account of a persons' (or cohort's commonly shared) intent that it occurs? In other words, if you can't discern whether it was intended to be by one or more persons, how can you discern it to be an artifact?

    I ask because if intent is inherent to what artifacts are, then all artifacts would yet have a meaning in so being: they all signify being the outcome of some intent. And this again gets to the issue of how an artifact can be devoid of all meaning outside of the viewer's experience - if meaning of "being a creation" is innate to being an artifact.

    In which case, some might not help but wonder why the creator(s) of the artifact bothered to create it - for it then is factual that it was the result of intentions - which again speaks to the intentions of those who produced it.

    I'm probably missing something, but I'm not getting what that is. ... You're of an engineering background, so I'm thinking of buildings, which are functional artifacts. Can you find it possible that an engineer could design a building in manners perfectly devoid of aesthetic properties? I'm here thinking of the proverbial notion that form follows function: when this occurs, the end result would be aesthetic in the sense of elegant (or something to that effect).
  • T Clark
    7.6k
    I don't mean to pesterjavra

    This has been one of the most enjoyable discussions I've participated in in a long time. I came in with ideas that I know need to be tested about something I think is important. If I can't explain them to you and others, how can I say I understand them myself. All of which means your questioning my statements is not pestering. I'm trying to work this out for myself.

    How do you discern artificial from non-artificial in definition (1) if not by that which is artificial occurring (necessarily but not sufficiently) on account of a persons' (or cohort's commonly shared) intent that it occurs? In other words, if you can't discern whether it was intended to be by one or more persons, how can you discern it to be an artifact?javra

    All I mean by "artificial" is that it was made by human beings. I think that's consistent with what you are saying.

    I ask because if intent is inherent to what artifacts are, then all artifacts would yet have a meaning in so being: they all signify being the outcome of some intent. And this again gets to the issue of how an artifact can be devoid of all meaning outside of the viewer's experience - if meaning of "being a creation" is innate to being an artifact.

    In which case, some might not help but wonder why the creator(s) of the artifact bothered to create it - for it then is factual that it was the result of intentions - which again speaks to the intentions of those who produced it.
    javra

    I don't understand how the fact that something was made intentionally gives it meaning. I think we may be about to fall into the "What does 'meaning' mean" abyss."

    I'm probably missing something, but I'm not getting what that is. ... You're of an engineering background, so I'm thinking of buildings, which are functional artifacts. Can you find it possible that an engineer could design a building in manners perfectly devoid of aesthetic properties? I'm here thinking of the proverbial notion that form follows function: when this occurs, the end result would be aesthetic in the sense of elegant (or something to that effect).javra

    I addressed my uncertainty about this issue in a recent post addressed to @Tom Storm. I don't know if you saw it.

    https://thephilosophyforum.com/discussion/comment/642426
  • Tom Storm
    2.9k
    I was reading the philosopher of aesthetics, Theodore Gracyk, on the functionalist understanding of art - eg - art functions to elicit an aesthetic experience. Under this category, enjoying African or Pre-Columbian art (for instance) is incorrect or ill judged, as these objects were not intended to be appreciated aesthetically but played a vital role in a culture in connecting to ancestors and spirits. Approaching them aesthetically and divorced from function could be seen as a form of disrespectful cultural appropriation and trivialization.

    This is relevant to me for 2 reasons 1) I am fascinated by objects that start as one thing and end up as art. And 2) I am particularly keen on ethnographic art. I would rather have African and Oceanic sculpture in my home than a Rodin....
  • T Clark
    7.6k
    I was reading the philosopher of aesthetics, Theodore Gracyk, on the functionalist understanding of art - eg - art functions to elicit an aesthetic experience. Under this category, enjoying African or Pre-Columbian art (for instance) is incorrect or ill judged, as these objects were not intended to be appreciated aesthetically but played a vital role in a culture in connecting to ancestors and spirits. Approaching them aesthetically and divorced from function could be seen as a form of disrespectful cultural appropriation and trivialization.Tom Storm

    I think this is related to our craft discussion. I guess the Africans and Pre-Columbians who created the objects you are talking about were doing just what the Greek craftsmen Collingwood discussed were. They were making useful things and; because those things were a powerful, intimate part of their daily lives; they made them with care. Their beauty is a reflection of that care.

    I would rather have African and Oceanic sculpture in my home than a Rodin....Tom Storm

    I guess that explains why you dumped "The Thinker" at that construction site.
  • Tom Storm
    2.9k
    I guess that explains why you dumped "The Thinker" at that construction site.T Clark

    Damn right, it just reminded me of how thoughtless I am.
  • javra
    1.5k
    I addressed my uncertainty about this issue in a recent post addressed to Tom Storm. I don't know if you saw it.

    https://thephilosophyforum.com/discussion/comment/642426
    T Clark

    Saw it, and I've re-read it. Here's my own current take. All (created; human made) form follows function - with "function" being in this context a fancy word for "intent, purpose, hence, in this way, use (i.e. the purpose for which something is employed)". Maybe debatable but I'll uphold it. When it comes to fine art, the product, or artifact, as form is a result of the designer's/producer's functional/intentional usage of what is to become the artistic form as vehicle to express something more or less personal, if not idiosyncratic, so that a community might understand it. So all fine art as product is there because it was deemed useful in this sense: it, as form, is supposed to be a vehicle for conveying that which the artist intents to communicate.

    Let me know the extent to which we might disagree on this.

    I don't understand how the fact that something was made intentionally gives it meaning. I think we may be about to fall into the "What does 'meaning' mean" abyss."T Clark

    But then, any artifact as form follows function - its intended usage. So I figure that any artifact, by shear virtue of so being a form that is resultant of some function, or intended use, carries as part of it this very meaning to anyone who discerns it to be an artifact: an artifact, of itself, in part means "some thing that was intended to be for some usage, hence purpose, and thereby is".

    You were saying it is possible for artifacts to have no meaning outside of a viewing audience - which I implicitly take to not be the artifact's creators. Yet artifacts as forms always are due to the intent, purpose, usage ascribed to them by those who create them. And so artifacts are always meaningful in so being artifacts in this sense which is intrinsic to our very notion of what an artifact is. Hence, they have meaning outside of the viewing audience's particular attribution of meaning to them: they always signify, minimally but then also necessarily, "a form that follows the function assigned to it by its creator(s)"; i.e., a person-caused, hence made, functional form.

    Then, given that we recognize artifacts as "forms that follow the functions given to them by their creators" we can then assume they were given functions that they in fact were not. Thereby unintentionally forsaking their original intent, hence their original meaning*, and imbuing them with novel meanings based on the functionality we attribute to them.

    Nevertheless, the task of distinguishing non-art from art and craft and fine-art is the task of figuring out if the object, firstly, occurs due to an intended usage and, if so, secondly, determining what its intended usage as object originally was.

    At least that's what I'm currently entertaining.

    * Footnote: as to meanings' meaning, it always pivots around intent, hence purpose, hence function - this either literally or metaphorically. Or so I'm thinking. E.g., A sign's significance, or meaning, is that which is intended by the sign. An example of it being metaphorical: when the sign is heavy clouds, the sign's significance is probable rain - heavy clouds can mean probable rain - in so far as heavy clouds (metaphorically) intend for there to be rain. But if this gets debatable, I understand what you mean by "the abyss".
  • T Clark
    7.6k
    So all fine art as product is there because it was deemed useful in this sense: it, as form, is supposed to be a vehicle for conveying that which the artist intents to communicate.javra

    I think I understand what you're saying, but I also think are using the term "useful" in a different sense than I am. I'm getting a bit overloaded with aesthetics, so let's leave it at that for now.

    So I figure that any artifact, by shear virtue of so being a form that is resultant of some function, or intended use, carries as part of it this very meaning to anyone who discerns it to be an artifact: an artifact, of itself, in part means "some thing that was intended to be for some usage, hence purpose, and thereby is".javra

    I don't think art is intended to be for some usage or purpose. Or at least that's the position I am investigating.

    And so artifacts are always meaningful in so being artifacts in this sense which is intrinsic to our very notion of what an artifact is.javra

    If I understand what you're saying, and it is very possible I don't, I disagree.

    Footnote: as to meanings' meaning,javra

    Not a chance am I going over this waterfall right now.

    As I noted before, I'm reading Collingwood's "Principles of Art" and I'm really enjoying it. Some of what he writes makes me think I am on the right track. Other things make me think I don't have a clue. One thing it does show is that I've done enough talking about this for a while and I've gotten a bit lost. I'm going to leave the discussion for now, finish the book, and think about other things for a while.
  • Raymond
    649
    All stuff created by men is art(ificial). What is considered art as art is quite arbitrary. A packet of cigarettes can be art just like Duchamps' piss pot, a knife, a painting, or a Dada manifest. The statues on Easter Island or the equipment on CERN. Library books, computers, a Renoir, a first twitter message, a wig, artificial organs, or artificial intelligence, a mathematical expression, TV, a house, a bridge, a plane, a car, and in fact all technological products, which is the kind of art present in all corners of the globe. In principle you can put all of these forms of art in a museum.
  • javra
    1.5k
    And so artifacts are always meaningful in so being artifacts in this sense which is intrinsic to our very notion of what an artifact is. — javra

    If I understand what you're saying, and it is very possible I don't, I disagree.
    T Clark

    Fair enough. To try to clarify my meaning: “artifact” as word to us means/signifies the following concept: “an object that was made by some person(s) hand or labor intentionally (this rather than accidentally, or else not as a byproduct of some other process(es) the person engages in)” If this word “artifact” has real-life references, then that which the word references will be concrete instantiations of “an object that was intentionally made by persons' hands or labor”. Hence, all concrete instantiations of artifacts are discerned to so be because we find them to mean that somebody made them with intent by hand or labor. I might be going in circles, my bad if I am, so here’s an example: You’re in a desert and you come upon a watch on top of a rock. Naturally, the watch you deem to be an artifact; the rock you don’t. When you see the watch, your implicit thought is, “someone made this thing with intention (rather than accidentally or as a byproduct of some other activity) by hand or labor”. The rock you deem to not be made by anybody, intentionally or otherwise, irrespective of the means available to them. Therein lies the watch’s pivotal meaning to you as an artifact: it’s something that someone intentionally made by hand or labor. And even devoid of an audience, the artifact would have this same meaning to its creator(s). Devoid of this meaning it holds relative to us, no one would be able to discern it as an artifact. The watch would just be a more intricate rock.

    If this doesn’t make my position clearer, bummer, but so be it. I get your intention to head off.

    As I noted before, I'm reading Collingwood's "Principles of Art" and I'm really enjoying it.T Clark

    Sounds good. Hope you enjoy it through to the end.
  • Raymond
    649
    As I noted before, I'm reading Collingwood's "Principles of Art"T Clark

    Now that sounds dogmatic: "THE principles of art".
  • Bitter Crank
    10.3k
    Art, deface →Acid AttackAgent Smith

    That's a very sick pun.
  • Agent Smith
    1.2k
    That's a very sick pun.Bitter Crank

    What's art without beauty? What's beauty without women?
  • Agent Smith
    1.2k
    The female form is known for its (aesthetic) curves; curves are redundancies for a straight line suffices to traverse the distance between two points. Women are redundancies, beauty is superfluous, they're an unnecessary burden; a beautiful woman makes no sense, they're, as Boethius said of God, inscrutable!
  • Raymond
    649
    The female form is known for its (aesthetic) curves; curves are redundancies for a straight line suffices to traverse the distance between two points. Women are redundancies, beauty is superfluous, they're an unnecessary burden, a beautiful woman makes no sense, they're, as Boethius said of God, inscrutable!Agent Smith

    Like I wrote, you're a funny guy!
  • Agent Smith
    1.2k
    Like I wrote, you're a funny guy!Raymond

    Next time, you find me funny, I'll have to charge you for it!
  • Raymond
    649
    Next time, you find me funny, I'll have to charge you for it!Agent Smith

    I can't help it! It just made me laugh. I couldn't hold it, like now! Damn you! I make a fair deposit! You deserve it.
  • javra
    1.5k


    Psychopathology turned into an artform. This artform affectively speaking only to … psychopaths. Not inscrutable by a long shot. Still, this gives no contribution to the thread's question of what art is, never mind good art.
  • T Clark
    7.6k
    Psychopathology turned into an artform. This artform affectively speaking only to … psychopaths.javra

    Philosopaths perhaps? I think there might be quite a few here on the forum.
  • javra
    1.5k
    No doubting that.
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