Art is something we do, a verb. Art is a reflection of emotions, our thoughts, intuitions, and desires, but it is even more private than that: it is about sharing the way we encounter the world, which for many is an extension of character. It is the communication of romantic concepts that cannot be faithfully portrayed by words. And because words are not enough, we must find another vehicle to carry our intent. However, the content that we instill on or in our chosen media is not in itself the artwork. Art is available in how the media is used, the way in which the material is expressed.
What is beauty? Beauty is much more than cosmetic: it isn't about prettiness. There are plenty of pretty pictures available in the neighborhood home furnishing store; but these we may not refer to beautiful; and it's not difficult to discover works of expression that we might agree are beautiful which are not necessarily pretty. Beauty is quite a measure of affect, a measure of emotion. In the context of art, beauty is communication between participants' indicator -- a theory between the artist and the perceiver's conveyance. Beautiful artwork is successful in portraying the artist's most deep intended emotions, the concepts that are desired, whether they're dark and menacing, or bright and pretty. But neither the artist nor the observer can be certain of successful communication in the long run. So beauty in art is forever subjective.
Missouri, wm. Joseph Nieters, Lake Ozark
Works of art may elicit a sense of wonder or cynicism, hope or despair, adoration or spite; the work of art may be direct or complex, subtle or explicit, intelligible or obscure; and the topics and approaches to the creation of art are bounded only by the imagination of the artist. I believe that defining art based upon its content is a doomed enterprise.
Presently a theme in aesthetics is the claim that there is a detachment or space between the flow of life and works of art. Works of art rise from a current of concerns that are pragmatic. When you step out of a river and on an island, you've reached your destination. Similarly, the aesthetic attitude requires experience to be treated by you artwork asks us to arrive empty of preconceptions and attend to the way in. And even though a person can have an'aesthetic experience' of flavor, a natural spectacle or texture, art differs in that it's produced. Art is the deliberate communication of an adventure as an end-in-itself. The content of that experience in its cultural context may determine whether the art is trivial or ridiculed, significant or popular, but it's art either way.
Among the initial reactions to this approach could be that it seems too broad. An older brother who sneaks up behind his younger sibling and shouts"Booo!" Can be said to be creating art. But isn't the difference between a Freddy Krueger movie and this one of degree? On the other hand, my definition would exclude graphics used in advertising or political propaganda, since they are made as a means to an end rather than for their sakes. Additionally,'communication' isn't the word for what I have in mind since it suggests an unwarranted intention about the content. Aesthetic responses are underdetermined by the artist's intentions.
Everett, mike Mallory, WA
The fundamental difference between art and beauty is whereas attractiveness depends on who is looking, that art is about who has produced it.
Naturally there are criteria of beauty -- that which is seen as'traditionally' beautiful. The game changers -- the square pegs, so to speak -- are those who saw traditional standards of beauty and chose specifically to go against them, perhaps merely to prove a point. Take Picasso Schoenberg. They have made a stand against these norms. Otherwise their art is similar to all other art: its only purpose is to be experienced, appraised, and understood (or not).
Art is a way to state an opinion or a feeling, or else to create a different perspective of the world, whether it be inspired by the work of other people or something invented that is entirely new. Beauty is whatever facet of that or anything else that makes an individual feel grateful or positive. Beauty alone isn't art, but art can be made of, about or for things that are beautiful. Beauty is found in a snowy mountain scene: art is the picture of it revealed to family, the oil interpretation of it hung in a gallery, or the music score recreating the scene in crotchets and quavers.
However, art isn't necessarily positive: it can be deliberately hurtful or displeasing: it can cause you to think about or think about things that you would rather not. But if it evokes an emotion in you, then it's art.
Art is a method of grasping the world. Not only the physical world, which is what science tries to perform; but the entire world, and especially, the human world, the world of society and spiritual experience.
Art emerged around 50,000 years ago, long before cities and civilisation, yet in forms to which we could nevertheless directly relate. The wall paintings in the Lascaux caves, which so startled Picasso, have been carbon-dated at about 17,000 years old. Now, following the invention of photography and the devastating attack made by Duchamp on the self-appointed Art Agency [see Brief Lives this issue], art cannot be simply defined on the basis of concrete tests like'fidelity of representation' or vague abstract concepts like'beauty'. To do this we will need to ask? And the answer is that it provokes an emotional, instead of a simply cognitive response. One method of approaching the issue of defining art, then, could be to say: Art is composed of shareable ideas which have a shareable emotional effects. Art need not create beautiful objects or events, because a great piece of art could validly arouse emotions other than those aroused by beauty, such as terror, anxiety, or bliss. Yet to derive an acceptable philosophical concept of artwork from this understanding means tackling the idea of'emotion' thoughts on, and philosophers have been notoriously reluctant to do this. However, not all of them: Robert Solomon's book The Passions (1993) has made an exceptional beginning, and this seems to me to be the way to go.
It will not be easy. Poor old Richard Rorty was jumped from a very great height when all he said was that literature, poetry, patriotism, love and stuff like that were philosophically important. Its pedigree long predates doctrine, which is only 3,000 years old, and science, which is a mere 500 years old. Art deserves far more attention from philosophers.
Alistair MacFarlane, Gwynedd
Some years ago I went looking for art. To begin my trip I went to an art gallery. At that point artwork to me was whatever I found in an art gallery. I found paintings, mostly, and because they had been at the gallery I recognized them as artwork. A specific Rothko painting was one color and large. I observed a further piece that did not have an obvious label. It was also of one colour -- white -- and gigantically large, occupying one complete wall of the very large and spacious room and standing on little roller wheels. Why could one piece of work be considered'art' and the other not?
The reply to this question may, perhaps, be found in the criteria of Berys Gaut to decide if some artefact is, indeed, art -- that art pieces work only as pieces of art, just as their creators intended.
Did they evoke an emotional response in me? Beauty is associated with art. There is sometimes an expectation of encountering a'beautiful' object when going to find a work of art, be it painting, sculpture, book or performance. As one widens the range of installations encountered, Naturally, that anticipation quickly changes. The classic case is Duchamp's Fountain (1917), a somewhat un-beautiful urinal.
Can we define beauty? Allow me to try by indicating that beauty is the capacity of an artefact to elicit a pleasurable response. This may be categorised as the'like' response.
I didn't like Fountain. There was skill, obviously, in its construction. But what was the skill in its demonstration as art?
So I started to reach a definition of art. A work of art is that which asks a question which a object like a wall does not: What am I? The responses, both of the founder artist and of the receiver audience, change, but they involve a conclusion, a reply to the invitation to reply. The answer goes towards deciphering that question -- the'Who am I?' Which goes towards defining humanity.
'Art' is where we create meaning beyond language. Art consists of meaning through intelligent agency, eliciting an response in the making. It's a means of communication where language is not sufficient to explain or describe its content. Art can leave visible and known what was unspoken. Because what art expresses and evokes is in part ineffable, we find it tough to define and delineate it. It is known through the experience of the audience as well as the intention and expression of the artist. The meaning is created by of the participants, and so can never be known. It is multifarious and on-going. Even a debate is a tension which is a reflection of something.
Art drives the development of a civilisation, both supporting the institution and also preventing subversive messages from being silenced -- artwork leads, mirrors and reveals change in politics and morality. Art plays a central role in the creation of civilization, and is an outpouring of thought and ideas from it, and so it cannot be fully understood in isolation from its context. However, art can communicate beyond language and time, linking disparate communities and appealing to our common humanity. Perhaps if broader audiences engaged with a greater assortment of the world's artistic traditions it could engender increased tolerance and mutual respect.
Another facet of art is that it is a commodity. The commodification of art also affects who is considered qualified to create art, comment on it, and even specify it, as those who benefit most strive to keep the value of'art objects' high. But this commodification and the consequent closely-guarded role of the art critic also gives rise to a counter culture in art culture, often expressed through the creation of art that cannot be sold. The stratification of art by the tension and value also adds to the meaning of art, and its significance to society.
Catherine Bosley, Monk Soham, Suffolk
First of all we have to recognize the obvious. 'Art' is a word, and words and concepts are organic and change their meaning through time. So in the olden days, craft was meant by art. It was something that you could excel at through practise and hard work. You learnt how to paint or sculpt, and you learnt the symbolism of your era. Through arrival of individualism, art came to mean creativity. To do something new and never-heard-of defined the artist. Their character became basically as important as the artwork itself. During the era of Modernism, the search for originality led artists to reevaluate artwork. What could it represent? Could you paint movement (Cubism, Futurism)? Could you paint the non-material (Abstract Expressionism)? Basically: could anything be considered as art? A way of trying to figure out this problem was to look beyond the work itself, and focus on the art world: art was what the establishment of art -- artists, critics, art historians, etc -- was ready to regard as art, and which was made public through the establishment, e.g. galleries. That's Institutionalism -- made famous.
Institutionalism has been the prevailing belief through the later part of the twentieth century, at least in academia, and I'd say it still holds a firm grip on our conceptions. One example is the Swedish artist Anna Odell. Her movie sequence Unknown woman 2009-349701, for was debated, and by many wasn't regarded as art. But it succeeded in breaking into the art world, because the art world debated it, and is today considered art, and Odell is considered an artist.
Of course there are people who attempt to break out of the hegemony, such as by refusing to play with the art world's unwritten rules. Andy Warhol with his Factory was one, even though the art world totally embraces him. Another example is. He sells his items to private individuals, and doesn't use other art world-approved arenas and galleries to market. This liberal approach to capitalism is 1 way of attacking the art world's hegemony.
What does all this teach us? Probably that art is a idea that is chimeric and fleeting. We will always have art, but in retrospect we'll really learn for the most part what the art of our age was.
Art periods such as Classical, Byzantine, neo-Classical, Romantic, Modern and post-Modern reflect the changing nature of art in cultural and social contexts; and shifting values are evident in varying content, styles and forms. These changes are encompassed, more or less in sequence, by Expressivist, Emotionalist, Imitationalist, Formalist and Institutionalist theories of art. In The Transfiguration of the Commonplace (1981), Arthur Danto claims a distinctiveness for art that inextricably links its cases with acts of observation, without which all that could exist are'substance counterparts' or'mere real things' instead of artworks. Notwithstanding the competing theories, works of art can be seen to have'family resemblances' or'strands of resemblance' linking quite different instances . Instances of art is simple, but a definition of art that contains all cases is elusive. Art has been claimed to be an'open' concept.
Based on Raymond Williams' https://www.virtosuart.com/blog/beautiful-art-always-relevant-or-something-of-the-past Keywords (1976), capitalised'Art' appears in general use in the nineteenth century, with'Fine Art'; whereas'art' has a history of previous applications, such as in music, poetry, humor, tragedy and dancing; and we should also mention literature, media arts, even gardening, which for David Cooper in A Philosophy of Gardens (2006) can provide"epiphanies of co-dependence". Art, then, is possibly"anything presented for our aesthetic contemplation" -- a term coined by John Davies, former tutor at the School of Art Education, Birmingham, in 1971 -- although'anything' may seem too inclusive. Gaining our aesthetic interest is a requirement of art. Sufficiency for something to be art demands significance to art appreciators which endures as long as tokens or types of the artwork persist. Paradoxically significance is sometimes attributed to items neither intended as art, nor meant to be perceived for instance, votive, devotional, commemorative or utilitarian artefacts. Furthermore, aesthetic pursuits can be eclipsed social kudos and by dubious investment practices. When combined with celebrity and harmful types of narcissism, artistic authenticity can be egregiously affected by them. These interests spawn products masquerading as art, and can be overriding. Then it is up to discerning observers to spot any Fads, Fakes and Fantasies (Sjoerd Hannema, 1970).
For me art is nothing less and nothing more than individuals' creative ability to express their understanding of some aspect of life that is private or public, like love, conflict, fear, or pain. As I read a war poem by Edward Thomas, enjoy a Mozart piano concerto, or contemplate a M.C. Escher drawing, I am often emotionally motivated by the moment and intellectually stimulated by the thought-process that follows. At this moment of discovery I humbly realize my views may be those shared by thousands, even millions across the globe. This is due in part to the mass media's ability exploit and to control our emotions. The commercial success of a performance or production becomes the metric by which artwork is now gauged: quality in art has been sadly reduced to equating art that is great with sale of books, number of views, or the downloading of recordings. Too bad if sensibilities about a specific piece of artwork are lost in the rush for immediate acceptance.
Where does that leave the subjective notion that beauty can still be seen in art? If beauty is the result of a process by which art gives pleasure to our perceptions, then it should remain a matter of personal discernment, even if forces clamour to take control of it. To put it differently, nobody, including the art critic, should be able to tell what's not and what is beautiful to the person. The world of art is one of a constant tension between maintaining tastes and promoting acceptance.
Ian Malcomson, Victoria, British Columbia
Us doesn't offend on any level. It's a personal judgement, a subjective opinion. A memory from once we gazed upon something a sight ever so pleasing to the eye, oft time remains with us to the senses forever. I shall never forget walking into Balzac's home in France: the scent of lilies was so overwhelming that I had a moment that is numinous. The power of the emotion evoked may not be possible to explain. I don't feel it's important to debate the way the light streaming through a stained-glass window is beautiful or why I feel painting, a flower, sunset. The ability of the sights create an emotional reaction in me. I don't expect or concern myself not or that others will agree with me. Can all agree that an act of kindness is beautiful?
A thing of beauty is a complete; elements coming together which makes it. A single brush stroke of a painting does not alone create beauty's effects, but all together, it becomes beautiful. When the petals all together form its devotion, A blossom is beautiful ; a pleasant scent is also part of the beauty.
, I've just come away with the notion that I am. Suffice it to say, of what strikes me as amazing, my private assessment is.
Kenilworth, cheryl Anderson, Illinois
Whose beauty are we talking about? Whose happiness?
Whether a snake made art consider. What would it believe to be beautiful? Snakes detect the world largely through a chemosensory organ, the Jacobson's organ, or via pits and have bad eyesight. Can a movie in its human form even make sense to a snake? So their attractiveness, their art, would be entirely alien to ours: they'd be overseas, even if they had songs, and it wouldn't be visual they sense vibrations. So fine art would be sensed, if it's even possible to conceive this idea and tunes would be felt.
From this standpoint -- a view low to the floor -- we could see that beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder. It may cross our lips to speak of the nature of beauty in language, if we do seriously, but we do with a tongue. The joys of representing beauty ought not to fool us into thinking attractiveness, as some abstract concept, truly exists. It needs a viewer and a context, and the value we place on certain combinations of sounds or colours over others speaks of nothing more than preference. Our desire for pictures, moving or otherwise, is because our organs evolved in such a way. A snake would have no use for the world.
I would be amazed at art, although I'm thankful to have art over snake art. It would need an intellectual sloughing of conceptions we take for granted. If snakes can write poetry for that, thinking about the possibility of the extreme idea is worthwhile, what could it be?
Derek Halm, Portland, Oregon
[A: Sssibilance and sussssuration -- Ed.]
Are types that are different and should not be conflated.
Into a' relative-off' , almost all discussers of artwork lapse with boring predictability , whereby they move to annoying lengths to demonstrate how loose that is ineluctably the concept of art is and they are. Can we not just end the conversation there if art is just whatever you want it to be? It's a done deal. Playdough'll throw on to a canvas, and we can pretend to exhibit our modern credentials of acceptance and insight. This doesn't work, and we know it. There has to be some working definition of what it is if artwork is to mean anything. Then there ends the discussion if art can be anything to anybody at anytime. What makes art particular -- and worth discussing -- is that it stands above or outside regular things, paintwork, such as meals, or sounds. Art comprises paintings, exceptional or special dishes, and songs.
So what, then, is my definition of art? Briefly, I think there should be at least two considerations to label something as'art'. The first is that there must be something recognizable in the manner of'reception'. I mean to say, there must be the recognition that something was made for an audience of some kind discuss, to get or enjoy. Implicit in this point is the evident recognizability of what the art is -- in other words, the author doesn't have to tell you the art when you otherwise wouldn't have any idea of it. The second point is the recognition of skill: some skill that is obvious has to be involved in creating art. This, in my view, would be the minimum requirements -- or definition -- of artwork. Some definition must earn anything at all art, if you disagree with the particulars. Otherwise, what are we even discussing? I'm breaking the mold and ask for brass tacks.
Tennessee, brannon McConkey
Writer of Student of Life: Why Becoming Engaged in Life, Art, and Philosophy Can Cause a more happy Existence
Human beings seem to have a compulsion to categorize, define and to organize. However, especially in the past century, we have also learned to take pleasure from unstructured perceptions' manifestation; our ways of listening and seeing have expanded to encompass disharmony and irregularity. In between there are many that both locate and provide, and who abjure both extremes pleasure both in craftsmanship and in defining a vision that is personal.
There will always be a challenge to traditional concepts of art from the shock of the new, and tensions around the appropriateness of our understanding. As innovators push at the boundaries That's how things should be. At exactly the exact same time, we will continue to relish the beauty of a mathematical equation, a finely-tuned machine, a successful scientific experiment, the technology of landing a probe on a comet, an accomplished poem, a striking portrait, the sound-world of a symphony. We apportion value and meaning to what we find of value and want to share with our fellows. Our art and our definitions of beauty reflect our human nature and the multiplicity of our efforts.
In the long run, because of our individuality and our histories and traditions, our disagreements will always be inconclusive. If we're wise, we will look and listen with an open spirit, and occasionally with a wry smile celebrating the diversity of achievements and individual imaginings.