What is art?

What is art? What is beauty?

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Nick_A
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Re: What is art?

Post by Nick_A » Sun Jun 11, 2017 2:29 am

Greta
If you think that 'expert" opinion doesn't matter, try competing for gigs with those whom expert musicians consider a superior musician. You soon find out that post-modernism is a game for theoreticians.
Of course expert opinion matters. It got Socrates killed. The Oracle had the audacity to assert that Socrates had wisdom because he knew he knew nothing. Socrates had consulted the experts and soon realized they knew nothing. Socrates had the advantage of knowing what the experts didn’t. But this kind of knowledge will get you killed so it is best to admit that expert opinion does matter if you wish to stay alive
Nick_A wrote:Classic examples are the Sphinx, the Cathedral of Notre Dame, and The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci. They are all based on objective principles we are only beginning to understand.

:)))) Most of these are exactly the art of your "Great Beast". It's exactly why I say that the GB is not all bad.


No, The Sphinx and the Cathedral of Notre Dame exist in the world as well as the Great pyramid. They have relationships built into them which didn’t come from the Beast but from conscious influences or esoteric schools within the Beast which the Beast is unconcerned with. They may be meaningless to most but are important for those within the Great Beast but not a slave to it so are in the process of evolving from its confines
Sometimes, Nicholas, you are as deep as a puddle, so caught up with the argument that actual reality is ignored. Who here cares if something is "old fashioned" or not? Anyone?? Art can provide both artifice and authenticity, from popularity-seeking to soul searching, the profane to the inspirational. Artists balance expression and impression.

Why go to the trouble of defining and trying to nail down the word "art"? In everyday communication the conventional definitions will tend to get the point across most smoothly.

Why gatekeep the term? Snobbery and elitism (aka insecurity)? Reviewers and middlemen keeping themselves employed or dealers' affiliates talking down the competition? In truth it's all art. Just because something is "art" doesn't mean it is good art, ie. satisfying, interesting, pleasing, amusing, inspiring, affecting, etc.

In truth, "art" is such a broad term that we can put any spin on it that we please. "Art", as noted by Condor above, includes the overlapping fields of fine art, commercial art, pop art, naive art and the artistry that passionate practitioners of any field apply to their efforts.

Arguments often happen when people try to define heavily overlapped arenas; it often involves the unwarranted exclusion of legitimate players in a field, eg. claims that splatter art can never be art, that discordant music is not music, etc.
As a secularist the word “quality” has only a subjective meaning for you. Objective quality is not a concept you will have any respect for. At best it is only associated with technique. Art is a means for expressing emotional quality a person can experience and compare with their normal emotional states. A person can sense how emotionally ignorant they are. This humility is part of the beginning of awakening to reality you deny. You are representative of what I call a spirit killing influence. Quality in art must be rejected as snobbish. A person is part of the Great Beast, nothing more nothing less. The Beast and its experts will define objective quality and objective art as characteristic of the whims of the Beast. I oppose the spirit killers and support those helping the young to experience objective quality which is a natural inclination of the soul. The experience can come through ideas, art, and sensory experience of a certain quality while developing the ability for conscious attention. Spirit killers must oppose these experiences since they threaten the supremacy of the Beast and its self glorification. If too many people begin to experience that the emperor has no clothes, the empire is threatened. It cannot be allowed. They threaten the youth of Athens and like Socrates must be eliminated.

I find it interesting that people respect quality in intellectual communication. Without a certain quality nothing can be understood intellectually. Without quality in communication It is just BS. Sometimes BS is all that is wanted. If a man is trying to coax a woman into bed, BS is far more important than quality of communication.

But for some reason it is normal to reject objective emotional quality much less what makes it possible. That is why blind morality and the now famous political correctness has replaced the human potential for objective conscience as an attribute of the human soul. Is it any wonder that the silliest things are called art and considered insulting to call them expressions.

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Greta
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Re: What is art?

Post by Greta » Sun Jun 11, 2017 8:39 am

Nick_A wrote:
Sun Jun 11, 2017 2:29 am
Art can provide both artifice and authenticity, from popularity-seeking to soul searching, the profane to the inspirational. Artists balance expression and impression.

... In truth, "art" is such a broad term that we can put any spin on it that we please. "Art", as noted by Condor above, includes the overlapping fields of fine art, commercial art, pop art, naive art and the artistry that passionate practitioners of any field apply to their efforts.

Arguments often happen when people try to define heavily overlapped arenas; it often involves the unwarranted exclusion of legitimate players in a field, eg. claims that splatter art can never be art, that discordant music is not music, etc.
As a secularist the word “quality” has only a subjective meaning for you.
You are basically saying that the Bible or the Koran provide the only objective standards. No other objective standards seem to occur to you.
Nick_A wrote:Objective quality is not a concept you will have any respect for. At best it is only associated with technique. Art is a means for expressing emotional quality a person can experience and compare with their normal emotional states.
If you say so :lol:

Seriously, it's not complicated, Nicholochevsky. The ones who gatekeep what is "art" or not are the professionals ie. experts, ie. people who deal with it every day, ie. people who actually know more than almost everyone else on the topic. I sometimes disagree with their inclusions and classifications but there's no accounting for taste (and no doubt there's at least as much corruption in the various music industries as in many other fields).

When it comes down to objective quality and taste, what do you find easier to listen to?

White Stripes - Ball and Biscuit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xMZh9OtAeSY
or
Ornette Coleman - Free : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CoJpDPx_qNo

I know that, as a musician, I'm supposed to prefer Ornette - it's much more advanced music - but I find the WS tune easier on the ear. Ornette's is "better" music by a range of standards, including depth of message (the dream of freedom and equality for blacks in the US not so long ago), but ...

Nick_A
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Re: What is art?

Post by Nick_A » Sun Jun 11, 2017 4:51 pm

Greta
N: As a secularist the word “quality” has only a subjective meaning for you.

G: You are basically saying that the Bible or the Koran provide the only objective standards. No other objective standards seem to occur to you.
Man made standards often have nothing to do with objective quality. Objective quality is a universal concept so always was. Man made interpretations come and go. For a secularist to contemplate the ladder of objective quality requires abandoning secularism so is too insulting to even consider. Art or philosophy which supports becoming aware of the expanse between objective and subjective quality must be ridiculed out of existence. For example:
"If men learn this, it will implant forgetfulness in their souls; they will cease to exercise memory because they rely on that which is written, calling things to remembrance no longer from within themselves, but by means of external marks. What you have discovered is a recipe not for memory, but for reminder. And it is no true wisdom that you offer your disciples, but only its semblance, for by telling them of many things without teaching them you will make them seem to know much, while for the most part they know nothing, and as men filled, not with wisdom, but with the conceit of wisdom, they will be a burden to their fellows." ― Plato, Phaedrus
Objective conscience as opposed to programmed standards is remembered. This is offensive to you. You need to be told by experts what to think and do. Yet art worthy of the name invites us to remember. The experts who speak for the Great Beast must be considered the ultimate authority by secularism. Socrates was wise enough to see that they were empty shells. I’ll stick with Socrates and you will support the shells and close your being to “remembering.”

White Stripes is prevented from playing in the States. Coleman was just performing pure subjective expression. I see no reason to relate it to art.

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Harbal
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Re: What is art?

Post by Harbal » Sun Jun 11, 2017 8:25 pm

Philosophy Explorer wrote:
Mon Jan 09, 2017 11:45 am
Does that make my local prostitute "art?"
I don't know, Phil, what can she do and how good is she at it?

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Re: What is art?

Post by Philosophy Explorer » Sun Jun 11, 2017 8:37 pm

Harbal wrote:
Sun Jun 11, 2017 8:25 pm
Philosophy Explorer wrote:
Mon Jan 09, 2017 11:45 am
Does that make my local prostitute "art?"
I don't know, Phil, what can she do and how good is she at it?
Quite good actually. When I was by her apartment, she rubbed Mr. Buddha and I cautioned her not to let her hand slip, but it slipped anyway. It went on for awhile and she spoiled it when she wanted to bring up the subject of money.

She might be more your speed Harb.

PhilX

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Harbal
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Re: What is art?

Post by Harbal » Sun Jun 11, 2017 8:41 pm

Philosophy Explorer wrote:
Sun Jun 11, 2017 8:37 pm

She might be more your speed Harb.
Yes, I'm afraid that, these days, she could probably quite easily catch me if she put her mind to it. Whether or not it would be worth her while is another matter.

Pluto
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Re: What is art?

Post by Pluto » Wed Jun 21, 2017 8:46 pm

this is just coming back to artist as celebrity guru - today we need the work to look different

Above us only sky
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Re: What is art?

Post by Above us only sky » Thu Jun 22, 2017 4:12 am

Greta wrote:
Wed Jun 07, 2017 6:28 am
Art is 1) in the doing, as Nick mentioned (one can even apply artistry to any activity, from music to accountancy to house cleaning). 2) Art is in the eye of the beholder. So attractive people or scenery may affect someone as if they were works of art.

Ultimately art, sport, games, pastimes, crafts, socialising and science/philosophy are the same thing - the things we enjoy when free from compulsory group-oriented tasks, eg. work, domestics.

Then is porn art?

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Greta
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Re: What is art?

Post by Greta » Fri Jun 23, 2017 1:06 am

Above us only sky wrote:
Thu Jun 22, 2017 4:12 am
Greta wrote:
Wed Jun 07, 2017 6:28 am
Art is 1) in the doing, as Nick mentioned (one can even apply artistry to any activity, from music to accountancy to house cleaning). 2) Art is in the eye of the beholder. So attractive people or scenery may affect someone as if they were works of art.

Ultimately art, sport, games, pastimes, crafts, socialising and science/philosophy are the same thing - the things we enjoy when free from compulsory group-oriented tasks, eg. work, domestics.

Then is porn art?
If violence can be portrayed artistically, then so can lovemaking. However, porn is generally pure rationalism. It skips all the "peripherals" and gets down to business, so to speak. Porn and sex generally is its own category - a tangential interest to the usual animal obsessions with safety, consumption and growth.

I find it interesting that, with reproduction, animals sacrifice their initial obsessions to focus on reproductive activities, maximising their spread of influence. Energetic vs informational growth, the former seemingly aimed at preparing for the latter. So there is a common attitude during people's reproductive stages of life that sex and relationships trump everything else. Sex becomes the central hub around which societies revolve. For the sake of modesty, society at large denies their Freudian fixations. However, by not acknowledging our uncontrolled animal idiocy, we fail to transcend it. You have to see a problem to fix it. Ifyou don't face your mistakes then you're more likely to repeat them.

So porn and snuff material is a pure rationalisation and crystallisation of our idiot brute animal selves. It is art, but most of it is base and largely parasitic and/or toxic. Obviously I do not see "art" as inherently lofty as such; there is good and bad art, with much of that assessment being subjective, though not all.

Above us only sky
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Re: What is art?

Post by Above us only sky » Fri Jun 23, 2017 6:30 am

Greta wrote:
Fri Jun 23, 2017 1:06 am
Obviously I do not see "art" as inherently lofty as such; there is good and bad art, with much of that assessment being subjective, though not all.
By 'good and bad art', you consider porn as art, at least bad art.

Therefore art is not necessarily good?

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Greta
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Re: What is art?

Post by Greta » Fri Jun 23, 2017 11:31 pm

Above us only sky wrote:
Fri Jun 23, 2017 6:30 am
Greta wrote:
Fri Jun 23, 2017 1:06 am
Obviously I do not see "art" as inherently lofty as such; there is good and bad art, with much of that assessment being subjective, though not all.
By 'good and bad art', you consider porn as art, at least bad art.

Therefore art is not necessarily good?
Yup. Good art and bad art. Haven't you noticed, for instance, that some music is amazing and some is pure commercial shlock?

Being an artist does not mean that one has talent, only that one makes art. Not all art made by great artists is good either - everyone has their "stinkers". Every artist starts out as an incompetent, a beginner. Meanwhile one needs the effort, courage and learning from failures to grow. Much play and experimentation over the years underpins the eventual creation of good things in art. Every work of genius is elevated by virtue of standing atop a huge pile of lesser works.

Nick_A
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Re: What is art?

Post by Nick_A » Sat Jun 24, 2017 12:13 am

It is astounding how quickly art has lost its objective meaning and value. It has been reduced to expression which anyone can call art. Is there any better indication for how society has devolved?

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Greta
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Re: What is art?

Post by Greta » Sat Jun 24, 2017 12:39 am

Nick_A wrote:
Sat Jun 24, 2017 12:13 am
It is astounding how quickly art has lost its objective meaning and value. It has been reduced to expression which anyone can call art. Is there any better indication for how society has devolved?
So "art" can only be good? Bad art is not art? So music we don't like is not actually music? Paintings that don't move us are not art? You're just a snob. A gatekeeper.

Who actually cares if you would deem hacks to be "non artists" while I'd deem them "bad artists"? Does that make a difference? neither of us are about to go out and buy the latest pop hit or a clichéd factory print. It's just labels.

Nick_A
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Re: What is art?

Post by Nick_A » Sat Jun 24, 2017 1:43 am

Greta wrote:
Sat Jun 24, 2017 12:39 am
Nick_A wrote:
Sat Jun 24, 2017 12:13 am
It is astounding how quickly art has lost its objective meaning and value. It has been reduced to expression which anyone can call art. Is there any better indication for how society has devolved?
So "art" can only be good? Bad art is not art? So music we don't like is not actually music? Paintings that don't move us are not art? You're just a snob. A gatekeeper.

Who actually cares if you would deem hacks to be "non artists" while I'd deem them "bad artists"? Does that make a difference? neither of us are about to go out and buy the latest pop hit or a clichéd factory print. It's just labels.
You lack recognition of human value so cannot differentiate between art and expression. Fadeyev explains what I mean but I fear it will just go in one eye and out the other;

http://fadeyev.net/what-is-art/

.
..............................Now that we have a definition of value, we can give a definition for “art”: Art is transmission of human value. It is not necessary to go beyond this, but if we wanted a more specific definition we could say that: Art is a method of transmitting human value by means of images, sound and language (language being also accessible through touch).

Three points:

The word “value” here is used in the original context of my definition above – it is something one can feel rather than something that one only states on paper. Thus, it is imperative that the artist feels the object of their work, or else it is not a work of art but an illustration, or some other material output which can be created just as well by a robot or a force of nature.

Art is transmission of the artist’s perception of value, a transmission of his feelings to another person. If a work cannot transmit the intended feeling of value to at least one other person, then it cannot be identified as art. It will be expression without an audience, and so, just as above, it will be merely an illustration or some other object that generates no feeling from the observer, or generates a feeling not intended by the artist.

The value being transmitted must be human, i.e. an ethical value. As mentioned above, animals also have “values”, but they are very basic values that we call drives and instincts. For example, one can easily generate the feeling of surprise or shock in an individual by using some sudden loud noise or some other powerful audio or visual effect. That the artist felt the same emotion of shock as the observer does not make the work art because the feeling is animalistic rather than human.......................................
Porn, the aim of which is to diminish human being, is no more a value than the joy of destruction. Porn can be good technical expression but cannot be considered art. It lacks human value

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Re: What is art?

Post by davidm » Sat Jun 24, 2017 6:16 am

I’d like to ask Nick some questions.

When asked for examples of objective art, you cite the Sphinx, the Notre Dame cathedral and Da Vinci’s painting The Last Supper. What connects these three? You don’t say, other than that: “They are all based on objective principles we are only beginning to understand.”

What are those objective principles? But you just admitted that we don’t understand them! Or that we are only beginning to understand them — but even if we are only beginning to understand them, then you yourself do not understand them by definition, so your claim is empty. We would have to go beyond your “beginning” and actually understand them for your claim to have force. But actually there is nothing to understand. Nothing ties together your three examples, except that all are manifested expressions of the human intellect and imagination. And that is all that visual art (and art in general) is. There is nothing beyond that.

Everything else is subjective, whether you like it or not. The Sphinx is impressive, but I can think of much better sculptures. Notre Dame is impressive, but I can think of better temples, including plenty of mosques with their mind-blowing artistic (nonrepresentational) interiors. The Last Supper is a fine piece or representational art depicting a fable in a book of fantasies. Its real cache derives from Da Vinci’s fame, including in other areas besides art.

What are other examples of “objectively” great art? The cave paintings of Lascaux? Van Gogh’s portrait of the postman Roulin? Guernica? What? You have no metric. You only imagine that you do.

I read the Fadayev essay that you linked. He’s not wrong. He’s just not right. He’s certainly right that Crime and Punishment is a great work of art. He’s wrong to say that art is transmission of human value. Whose values? Values differ.

Art is the free and uncompelled expression of the imagination, the inner life and the intellect of an individual human being. That would be my definition of art, and it’s a big tent.

I agree with everything Greta has written in this thread. This problem of “what is art” parallels the problem of “what is science?” In science this is known as the demarcation problem, and if it’s a problem in something as seemingly objective as science, just imagine what a problem it must be in something as nonobjective as art. I fully agree with Greta that we should be talking about good art and bad art as opposed to “art” and “non-art,” as you would have it.

In art, as in life, we do not need gatekeepers or smug authoritarians.

Your Ninth Wave painting utterly bores me. Without question it is technically well executed and beautiful in a conventional bourgeois sense. It’s art. It’s just not close to being great art. It is all surface and cheap, banal emotion. It is exactly what the non-representationalists of the 20th century rightly rebelled against, and it’s exactly the kind of sentimentalist claptrap that the salons of 19th-century Europe pawned off on pious idiots while poor Van Gogh starved.

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