• Pop
    1.5k
    ↪Pop Good luck! :sparkle:Wheatley

    :up: Gonna need it. :smile:
  • Tom Storm
    5.8k
    I find this a really interesting subject and I've thought about it a lot. Once, while visiting a contemporary art museum with a visual artist friend, we got in a discussion with one of the museum guides about what art means. I took the position that art doesn't mean anything.T Clark

    Thanks for the thoughtful comments. Yes, I share Praxis' view and I was just throwing out a quick and dirty definition, mainly because I was slightly dismayed by the needlessly mystifying and lengthy account provided earlier. Second to religion, there is probably more cloying nonsense written about art than any other subject.
  • Tom Storm
    5.8k
    Incidentally, it interests me how often the question 'what is good art?' is often mistaken for the question, 'what is art?'. It’s as if a work can only be classified as art if it is 'good' - whatever that means. Which is why you might hear some person fulminate about Jackson Pollock - ‘That’s rubbish, my 8 year-old does better work!’ and all the usual inchoate cliches about the decadent and bereft qualities of modern, non-representational art.

    Orson Welles, who I consider to be one of the great artists of the 20th century, stated in an interview (was it with Dick Cavett?) that he was one of those people of whom - 'I don't know anything about art but I know what I like.' - applies. If it's good enough for him...

    John Dewey has interesting things to say about art.

    "Art is not the possession of the few who are recognized writers, painters, musicians; it is the authentic expression of any and all individuality. Those who have the gift of creative expression in unusually large measure disclose the meaning of the individuality of others to those others. In participating in the work of art, they become artists in their activity. They learn to know and honor individuality in whatever form it appears. The fountains of creative activity are discovered and released. The free individuality which is the source of art is also the final source of creative development in time." Time and Individuality
  • T Clark
    10.7k
    Incidentally, it interests me how often the question 'what is good art?' is often mistaken for the question, 'what is art?'. It’s as if a work can only be classified as art if it is 'good' - whatever that means. Which is why you might hear some person fulminate about Jackson Pollock - ‘That’s rubbish, my 8 year-old does better work!’ and all the usual inchoate cliches about the decadent and bereft qualities of modern, non-representational art.Tom Storm

    This makes me think of what Robert Pirsig said about art in "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance." He said "Art is high quality endeavor." I used to like that, but now I find t doesn't represent what I want to say about art. Art is something, not just a quality of something. That's what I like about your and @praxis's way of seeing things. There can be low quality art. Bad art. I think that's important.

    There used to be a Museum of Bad Art in Massachusetts. I never visited. It's closed now, but it still has a web page:

    http://museumofbadart.org/

    Orson Welles, who I consider to be one of the great artists of the 20th century, stated in an interview (was it with Dick Cavett?) that he was one of those people of whom - 'I don't know anything about art but I know what I like.' - applies. If it's good enough for him...Tom Storm

    Charles Montgomery Burns on the Simpson's said "I'm not art critic. I don't know anything about art, but I know what I hate."

    Art is not the possession of the few who are recognized writers, painters, musicians; it is the authentic expression of any and all individuality. Those who have the gift of creative expression in unusually large measure disclose the meaning of the individuality of others to those others. In participating in the work of art, they become artists in their activity. They learn to know and honor individuality in whatever form it appears. The fountains of creative activity are discovered and released. The free individuality which is the source of art is also the final source of creative development in time.Tom Storm

    This is a bit too close to Pirsig's definition of art to me. I'm a pretty creative person. During most of my adult life, the primary place that came out was in my work. As an engineer, I did many things that I thought showed my individuality, creativity, but I don't think any of them were art. They were generally technical reports. They required as much of my creativity as the poetry I've written did.
  • Pop
    1.5k
    Art is not the possession of the few who are recognized writers, painters, musicians; it is the authentic expression of any and all individualityTom Storm
    The free individuality which is the source of art is also the final source of creative development in time."Tom Storm


    :up: Yeah - Self organization!.

    "The term self-organization refers to the process by which individuals organize their communal behavior to create global order by interactions amongst themselves rather than through external intervention or instruction" - sciencedirect
  • Tom Storm
    5.8k
    Cool, maybe we'll crash into each other using Dewey as a banana peel...
  • Pop
    1.5k
    ↪Pop Cool, maybe we'll crash into each other using Dewey as a banana peel..Tom Storm

    :lol: Yeah, we were bound to self organize. :joke:
  • praxis
    5.6k
    They were generally technical reports. They required as much of my creativity as the poetry I've written did.T Clark

    Cool to hear someone describe it this way, as being creative is so commonly only associated with the arTIST.
  • Thunderballs
    204
    Orson Welles, who I consider to be one of the great artists of the 20th century,Tom Storm

    I think his fooling of a whole nation was his biggest piece of art! Though as that citizen, Kane, he performed pretty good too. I have never understood though why that movie is considered the best of all times! I even rather look at the short movie of two men meeting at a deserted bar. They don't say a word (not exactly my style though) but their actions speak louder. Very loud! They start to undress, shit away on the bar, and even eat it! Made an impression on me! Is it realism? Is it a film noir? Fiction? Science fiction maybe? Or just shit?
  • Thunderballs
    204
    Yeah, we were bound to self organizePop

    Pop! Enough! Go self-organize yourself! :joke:
  • RussellA
    660
    Art is an expression of human consciousnessPop

    "Art" is expressed in human consciousness
    My belief is that "art" is a combination of an aesthetic and representation. As "aesthetic" and "representation" are human concepts, then "art" is also a human concept. As humans are conscious of their concepts, then humans are conscious of "art" as a concept. IE, I agree that "art" is expressed in human consciousness.

    But - every observed object is an "artwork"
    As everything observed has some degree of aesthetic and representation, then everything observed is an artwork - a Rembrandt, a leaf on the ground, a sunset, a Renault Kangoo, a Derain, a computer keyboard, a Falcon Heavy, a sunset, a tin of baked beans, an unmade bed, a Picasso.

    Though - artworks don't even need to be physical objects
    Artworks can exist as an idea or a concept. My description of a sunset over a Norwegian forest is also an artwork. In 1960, the artist Stanley Brouwn declared that all the shoe shops in Amsterdam constitute an exhibition of his artwork. In conceptual art, the idea or concept behind the work is more important than the finished art object.

    However - all artworks have a quality as all objects have a temperature
    I am following previous comments to make my point.
    TheMadFool - "Yet, someone can present anything under the sun as art"
    Praxis - "If art is anything an artist presents as art then anything can be art, and by extension, anyone can be an artist"
    Tom Storm - "it interests me how often the question 'what is good art?' is often mistaken for the question, 'what is art?"
    T Clark - "There can be low quality art".

    As every observed object has an aesthetic and representation, the terms aesthetic and representative are not binary, but rather have a subjective "quality". IE, as every object has a temperature, and this temperature can range from extreme heat to extreme cold, a Derain has a greater aesthetic than two sticks on the ground artistically placed, and a Thomas Cole has a greater representative content than two sticks on the ground in the shape of a mountain.

    However - an artwork's quality is subjective
    I agree that as aesthetic and representative content is subjective, there can never be an absolute standard by which artworks are judged, and there will always be argument as to the quality of an artwork. However, this being said, the degree of aesthetic and representative content does vary between artworks, even if there can never be any absolute agreement as to which of two artworks is the better.

    In summary - the definition of art should include a reference to "quality"
    As with Wittgensteins' "game", I agree with Wheatly that "I don't think Art (with a capital 'A') can be boiled down to a definition." As every observed object is an artwork, the definition "Art is the expression of human consciousness" is far too broad to be useful. The next step in improving the definition would be to include reference to a major distinguishing feature of art, ie, its quality. This is easier said than done, as, for a Modernist quality in art means one thing, and for a Postmodernist quality in art means something totally different.

    IE, improving any definition of art by including reference to quality is perhaps where the task of defining art gets a bit tricky
  • TheMadFool
    13.9k
    :up: Now that I gave this some thought, I fully agree with you. The reason is this :point: fountain (Marcel Duchamp)



    The artwork in this case went through the following process:

    Porcelain urinal (before) (not art) -> Marcel Duchamp's consciousness -> Porcelain urinal (after) (art)

    The only difference between the porcelain urinal (before) [not art] and the porcelain urinal (after) [art] is Marcel Duchamp's consciousness.

    Can you imagine what power artist's wield? What's next? Shit art? I'm serious of course.
  • Constance
    1.1k
    Art is humanities expression of itself.

    Art gives us insight into the artist,



    Art is a concrete manifestation of human thought – a manifestation into concrete form, of something that is ( ungrounded / virtual / computed / experienced emotionally / believed / valued / perceived / subconscious ) - consciousness
    Pop
    But then, what of the part of art that is not concrete? What of conceptual art? Sure, something concrete there, but the artwork is not just this; it is a concept. Isn't thought all by itself inherently art? Why do we need the concrete?
  • Thunderballs
    204
    The only difference between the porcelain urinal (before) [not art] and the porcelain urinal (after) [art] is Marcel Duchamp's consciousness.TheMadFool

    Imagine my reconstruction of modern sex-dolls in the not so distant future. "Dada...dada..."

    And how appropiate the video after the urinoir: Echoes, Pink Floyd
  • Pop
    1.5k
    "Art" is expressed in human consciousnessRussellA

    :up:

    But - every observed object is an "artwork"RussellA

    :up: If deemed to be so.

    Though - artworks don't even need to be physical objectsRussellA

    :up:

    However - all artworks have a quality as all objects have a temperatureRussellA

    :chin: Only when they are being observed, or when the temperature is measured.

    However - an artwork's quality is subjectiveRussellA

    :up:

    In summary - the definition of art should include a reference to "quality"RussellA

    :chin: I understand what you mean. It is a good point. It is the normal interpretation that leads people to think art is about aesthetics. Most art theory would say art objects posses innate qualities, but In consciousness theory, quality or qualia exists in the mind of the observer and not the object. This way the same work of art can be beautiful to one person, and ugly to the next. ( there is room for interpretation ) ( Colour, according to science, is not present in the external world.)

    You bring up a great thread topic - "Does the quality of an artwork reside in the art work itself, or in the mind of the observer, or artist?"

    This is a similar question to: Is the world mind dependent?

    If we decide the quality of the art work resides in the mind of the artist, or observer, then this would invalidate probably 90% of historical art theory and definitions, and validate my own - in that an artwork is a meeting of one consciousness and another.

    :up: I can see now how I haven't explained it very well.
  • Pop
    1.5k
    But then, what of the part of art that is not concrete? What of conceptual art? Sure, something concrete there, but the artwork is not just this; it is a concept. Isn't thought all by itself inherently art? Why do we need the concrete?Constance

    This is best answered through information theory. It seems information is something concrete such that it changes our neurology, such that we become conscious of it. So, an artwork can not be immaterial, it needs to be in the form of something material, including sound, such that we can perceive it. The form of the artwork interacts with the form of our consciousness - this interaction creates an experience, where the quality of the experience is normally attributed to the artwork, however we ourselves play the major role in creating it.

    A thought itself is not immaterial either, it has it's neural correlates. This definition is an artwork. It comes close to what you are describing.
  • Pop
    1.5k
    The only difference between the porcelain urinal (before) [not art] and the porcelain urinal (after) [art] is Marcel Duchamp's consciousness.

    Can you imagine what power artist's wield? What's next? Shit art? I'm serious of course.
    TheMadFool

    Duchamp was a great art thinker - a philosopher of art. Modern art asked the hard questions - where are we, who are we, why are we? And what is art? It turns out art can be anything deemed to be art. This is necessary so as not to restrict it, but it can also make it arbitrary, as Duchamp pointed out.

    Whilst Duchamp's urinal is not obviously aesthetically pleasant as an artwork, as a statement it has been tremendously influential - far more successful then any of Duchamp's more traditional pieces. For many artist's - this urinal is a Mona Lisa! - a Masterpiece!
  • Thunderballs
    204
    What about fame? Banksy stood in an artmarket selling his paintings. Nobody wanted to buy them. Even not with a discount. If only they knew...

    And what about his landscape with an uniformed nazi sitting relaxed on a bench, enjoying the landscape? The homeless center he hang it in got 300 000 pop for it.
  • Constance
    1.1k
    This is best answered through information theory. It seems information is something concrete such that it changes our neurology, such that we become conscious of it. So, an artwork can not be immaterial, it needs to be in the form of something material, including sound, such that we can perceive it. The form of the artwork interacts with the form of our consciousness - this interaction creates an experience, where the quality of the experience is normally attributed to the artwork, however we ourselves play the major role in creating it.

    A thought itself is not immaterial either, it has it's neural correlates. This definition is an artwork. It comes close to what you are describing.
    Pop

    I would put the entire enterprise of art creation in the mind. An object in the world is nothing at all until it is invested with meaning by an interpretative agency. You and I see the same cloud, but you see a camel, I see poodle. But wherein does the poodle/camel difference lie? A piece of driftwood floats by unremarkably, then I say, observe the contours, the way the shadows play on the surface, isn't the aesthetic affect interesting? The whole matter of what makes something art lies in the interpretative taking the object "as" art. The material presence is simply the medium, which is incidental.
    Not sure why 'information' is helpful. Information is an affect-neutral term, and its connotative values are entirely counter to aesthetic possibilities.
  • Constance
    1.1k
    1.    Art is an ungrounded variable mental construct: Objects are arbitrarily deemed to be art. Art’s only necessary distinction from ordinary objects is the extra deemed art information. Art can be anything the artist thinks of, but this is limited by their consciousness.Pop

    Arbitrarily? That would mean art is nothing at all. Take a signifier in language: entirely arbitrary whether it is 'tree' or 'namu' that is used to designate that tall thing with leaves. Interchangeable, making no important distinction as a phoneme simpliciter. But when I take up an object as art, the "as art" is contingent on certain distinct features of the way it is taken up.
    So no, not arbitrary at all.

    Consciousness is not just awareness but all mind activity, interwoven with the subconscious. What art can be cannot exceed consciousness.Pop

    Now THAT is arbitrary, to pin art's limitations on what one is consciously capable of: Who? My possibilities are different from others'. What is consciousness if not an historically constructed agency? Thus, it is unfinished, indeterminate.

    Everything is reducible to information, as it is only from information that we can create mental constructs. This is widely accepted in science, and a grounding for the definition. 

    4.   If everything is reducible to information, then so is art. It is true to say: art work is information.
    Pop

    I can't imagine a worse word for talk about art. Plain, connotatively UNaesthetic. Like describing a fresh spring morning in terms of molecular bonding.

    5.   Art work information is imbued with the artist's consciousness:  it arises out of their consciousness, and reflects their consciousness, and is limited in scope by their consciousness, in the past, present, and the future.Pop

    Why not all this, but leave the artist's consciousness out of it? After all, art is as it is perceived, and the artist is just ONE perciever.
  • Thunderballs
    204
    What about animal art? They build pretty things.
  • Thunderballs
    204
    . Like describing a fresh spring morning in terms of molecular bondingConstance

    Oh how fresh and anew this springy information structure tickling my sensory forms, making my emotion entropy rocketing skinfo high. My emotional neuronal patterns run bezerk when I breath in these moisty misty forms. Whirlings of bloodflows inside me respond intensely to the morning magic sunlight waves entering me through my glassy eyeball spheres. Projected widely and vast over the retina in full formation. I wished I could make all other structures in formation experience the same conscious patterns I experience in-and outside me, my body structure being their willing and voluntary in-between prisinor. O jah! All formations in the world, rejoyce! And be in!
  • Pop
    1.5k
    You and I see the same cloud, but you see a camel, I see poodle.Constance
    :up: :lol: From my perspective I see the poodle.

    The material presence is simply the medium, which is incidental.
    Not sure why 'information' is helpful. Information is an affect-neutral term, and its connotative values are entirely counter to aesthetic possibilities.
    Constance

    Yeah, the material art form is a private ( but can be public ) language invented by an artist ( in modern art ) very similar to the words we now exchange, and also interpret.

    Information theory describes this same process of me imbuing a message with meaning, and you interpreting the message, but with slightly altered meaning. The information has to exist in some physical form in order for this to happen.

    So no, not arbitrary at all.Constance

    I understand where you are coming from, but strictly speaking, anybody can deem anything to be art.
    It doesn't happen often, but this is a definition of art, so this needs to be taken into account.

    Thus, it is unfinished, indeterminate.Constance

    That is the intention. Consciousness is endlessly variable and open ended - just like art. How about that? As consciousness changes, so does art historically. A different consciousness creates different art, etc. And on the audience side, it is the same ( as described above ) So art is a meeting of consciousness, where the success of a piece depends on this relationship, rather then on any particular form present in the art work.

    I can't imagine a worse word for talk about art. Plain, connotatively UNaesthetic. Like describing a fresh spring morning in terms of molecular bonding.Constance

    :rofl: I, on the other hand, get so tired of the subjective nonsense I hear about art. But you see, I need to be severely logical to define something. If done successfully, then a definition can be used to predict, and I think this one can do that. It is what makes it different, what makes it interesting, imo. The world is full of romantic drivel about art, what it lacks is a definition.

    Why not all this, but leave the artist's consciousness out of it? After all, art is as it is perceived, and the artist is just ONE perciever.Constance

    Art about art, creates a certain reality for art. Whereas a definition of art refocuses art to the question of "what is consciousness". And there starts a journey of self discovery, and perhaps discovery of what it is all about, such that it brings back some meaning to the question of what is art. As you have intimated, it is all consciousness, so there are no limits to this question absolutely. I have defined consciousness as a process of self organization, but I do not know what self organization is - the whole universe is self organizing. And this is also what all art is expressing. There are no limits to the form of self organization that we can take, but in understanding this we come to understand ourselves better, and perhaps also what it is all about??
  • Thunderballs
    204
    I understand where you are coming from, but strictly speaking, anybody can deem anything to be art.Pop

    One can deem indeed. The real art is to let others think this too

    .
    Art about art, creates a certain reality for art.Pop

    You must convince others first. Your information approach is not accepted by most people.
  • Constance
    1.1k
    Yeah, the material art form is a private ( but can be public ) language invented by an artist ( in modern art ) very similar to the words we now exchange, and also interpret.

    Information theory describes this same process of me imbuing a message with meaning, and you interpreting the message, but with slightly altered meaning. The information has to exist in some physical form in order for this to happen.
    Pop

    You say it has to have physical form, but does an idea have physical form? That's a loaded question; look: you set out to define art, that means talk about its essence, what makes art, art. You would need to do what holds for language: the medium is just the catalyst, the vehicle through which art is communicated. But the real event is interior, in the interpretative milieu of mind. Also, you would need to identify what this essence is. Is it form? And what is meaning as an aesthetic idea, not what language produces fit for a dictionary.
    See Dewey's Art as Experience or Clive Bell's Art. Perhaps you're aware of these. Have you read Danto, or George Dickey?
    The reason I am saying this is that art is certainly NOT information in its essence. There may be an informational dimension to it, just as classical music needs a score, but the score is not the art (though it may assessed on other aesthetic grounds). Sorry, but I just don't see this.

    I understand where you are coming from, but strictly speaking, anybody can deem anything to be art.
    It doesn't happen often, but this is a definition of art, so this needs to be taken into account.
    Pop

    Anything can be art, true. But what makes it art when we say, that's art? Driftwood in a pond is not art. But then, I say it is quite beautiful. This is an aesthetic judgment. What happened to the driftwood itself? Nothing. It happened in me.
    When I call the driftwood art, this is not an arbitrary judgment. The reason why anything can be art is that all things possess something that evoke an artistic response. What IS that?

    That is the intention. Consciousness is endlessly variable and open ended - just like art. How about that? As consciousness changes, so does art historically. A different consciousness creates different art, etc. And on the audience side, it is the same ( as described above ) So art is a meeting of consciousness, where the success of a piece depends on this relationship, rather then on any particular form present in the art work.Pop

    Grant you that. We don't know what art is in any definitive way (though, the metaphysics of art has a say here. After all, what is value, aesthetics?) But my point is that calling it information does not further enlightenment.

    I, on the other hand, get so tired of the subjective nonsense I hear about art. But you see, I need to be severely logical to define something. If done successfully, then a definition can be used to predict, and I think his one can do that. It is what makes it different, what makes it interesting, imo. The world is full of romantic drivel about art, what it lacks is a definition.Pop

    One don't want to say what art is with romantic drivel, but then, romantic drivel is amind the thing the definition has to address. And what does predicting something have to do with defining art? Does this mean with your theory, an object that comes up can be measured by a reliable standard to make the determination as to whether it is art or not? How?
    That subjective nonsense has to stay where it is, unless you go deeper into the foundation of art. The more your ideas rise above the particulars of cultural entanglements, the less contingent it gets. But here, the same objection comes up: The most general, foundational view of what art is, as with "art is significant form", has to be about what the aesthetic is and this is a question of value. Without talk of the aesthetic, then it might as well be talk about talk, about words, symbols, and their dictionary meanings. This is why Clive Bell insisted significant form was what evoked "aesthetic rapture" which, as you know, varies, hance that annoying subjective nonsense when you move from the general to the specific.

    Art about art, creates a certain reality for art. Whereas a definition of art refocuses art to the question of "what is consciousness". And there starts a journey of self discovery, and perhaps discovery of what it is all about, such that it brings back some meaning to the question of what is art. As you have intimated, it is all consciousness, so there are no limits to this question absolutely. I have defined consciousness as a process of self organization, but I do not know what self organization is - the whole universe is self organizing. And this is also what all art is expressing. There are no limits to the form of self organization that we can take, but in understanding this we come to understand ourselves better, and perhaps also what it is all about??Pop

    Art is a manifestation of self organizing, but so is language. And, of course, anything and everything can be art, and this is certainly true for language. But why do you think the analysis of the nature of art rests with organizing? The driftwood above is transformed into art at the immediate, perceptual level, and the receiving mind is an organized agency, but what is experienced is not organization.
    You sound like a formalist, like Clive Bell (above).

    Incidentally Pop, I can be pretty plain spoken and direct. Some can be offended. You handle this very well.
  • Constance
    1.1k
    Oh how fresh and anew this springy information structure tickling my sensory forms, making my emotion entropy rocketing skinfo high. My emotional neuronal patterns run bezerk when I breath in these moisty misty forms. Whirlings of bloodflows inside me respond intensely to the morning magic sunlight waves entering me through my glassy eyeball spheres. Projected widely and vast over the retina in full formation. I wished I could make all other structures in formation experience the same conscious patterns I experience in-and outside me, my body structure being their willing and voluntary in-between prisinor. O jah! All formations in the world, rejoyce! And be in!Thunderballs

    Oh freddled gruntbuggly, Thy micturations are to me, As plurdled gabbleblotchits, On a lurgid bee, That mordiously hath blurted out, Its earted jurtles, grumbling Into a rancid festering confectious organ squealer. [drowned out by moaning and screaming] Now the jurpling slayjid agrocrustles, Are slurping hagrilly up the axlegrurts, And living glupules frart and stipulate, Like jowling meated liverslime, Groop, I implore thee, my foonting turlingdromes, And hooptiously drangle me, With crinkly bindlewurdles,mashurbitries. Or else I shall rend thee in the gobberwarts with my blurglecruncheon, See if I don't!
    RIP Douglas Adams
  • baker
    4.9k
    Art is for snobs.
  • Thunderballs
    204
    Oh freddled gruntbuggly, Thy micturations are to me, As plurdled gabbleblotchits, On a lurgid bee, That mordiously hath blurted out, Its earted jurtles, grumbling Into a rancid festering confectious organ squealer. [drowned out by moaning and screaming] Now the jurpling slayjid agrocrustles, Are slurping hagrilly up the axlegrurts, And living glupules frart and stipulate, Like jowling meated liverslime, Groop, I implore thee, my foonting turlingdromes, And hooptiously drangle me, With crinkly bindlewurdles,mashurbitries. Or else I shall rend thee in the gobberwarts with my blurglecruncheon, See if I don't!
    RIP Douglas Adams
    Constance

    Is this someone's epitap (epithap?)?
  • Thunderballs
    204
    Art is a manifestation of self organizingConstance

    Please! Don't start also! I mean, @Pop is a nice guy (girl?) but one pop is more than enough... :grin:
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