Essence of art

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Reply Thu 17 Jul, 2008 04:07 pm
lets hear some of the opinions

I am kinda new to this study just want to hear peoples perspectives
 
GoshisDead
 
Reply Thu 17 Jul, 2008 06:07 pm
@OntheWindowStand,
Art = That which is created simply so that it might exist.
 
nameless
 
Reply Sun 20 Jul, 2008 01:08 pm
@GoshisDead,
I think that Tolstoy'a opinion is well reasoned and interesting;

"What Is Art?" (excerpts)

by Leo Tolstoy


Editor's Note: This essay (originally published in 1896) and the translation by Alymer Maude (first published in 1899) are in the public domain and may be freely reproduced.

About the Author: Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910), although best known for his literary works, also wrote various essays on art, history, and religion.


CHAPTER FIVE (excerpts). . .

#1. In order correctly to define art, it is necessary, first of all, to cease to consider it as a means to pleasure and to consider it as one of the conditions of human life. Viewing it in this way we cannot fail to observe that art is one of the means of intercourse between man and man.

#2. Every work of art causes the receiver to enter into a certain kind of relationship both with him who produced, or is producing, the art, and with all those who, simultaneously, previously, or subsequently, receive the same artistic impression.

#3. Speech, transmitting the thoughts and experiences of men, serves as a means of union among them, and art acts in a similar manner. The peculiarity of this latter means of intercourse, distinguishing it from intercourse by means of words, consists in this, that whereas by words a man transmits his thoughts to another, by means of art he transmits his feelings.

#4. The activity of art is based on the fact that a man, receiving through his sense of hearing or sight another man's expression of feeling, is capable of experiencing the emotion which moved the man who expressed it. To take the simplest example; one man laughs, and another who hears becomes merry; or a man weeps, and another who hears feels sorrow. A man is excited or irritated, and another man seeing him comes to a similar state of mind. By his movements or by the sounds of his voice, a man expresses courage and determination or sadness and calmness, and this state of mind passes on to others. A man suffers, expressing his sufferings by groans and spasms, and this suffering transmits itself to other people; a man expresses his feeling of admiration, devotion, fear, respect, or love to certain objects, persons, or phenomena, and others are infected by the same feelings of admiration, devotion, fear, respect, or love to the same objects, persons, and phenomena.

#5. And it is upon this capacity of man to receive another man's expression of feeling and experience those feelings himself, that the activity of art is based.

#6. If a man infects another or others directly, immediately, by his appearance or by the sounds he gives vent to at the very time he experiences the feeling; if he causes another man to yawn when he himself cannot help yawning, or to laugh or cry when he himself is obliged to laugh or cry, or to suffer when he himself is suffering - that does not amount to art.

#7. Art begins when one person, with the object of joining another or others to himself in one and the same feeling, expresses that feeling by certain external indications. To take the simplest example: a boy, having experienced, let us say, fear on encountering a wolf, relates that encounter; and, in order to evoke in others the feeling he has experienced, describes himself, his condition before the encounter, the surroundings, the woods, his own lightheartedness, and then the wolf's appearance, its movements, the distance between himself and the wolf, etc. All this, if only the boy, when telling the story, again experiences the feelings he had lived through and infects the hearers and compels them to feel what the narrator had experienced is art. If even the boy had not seen a wolf but had frequently been afraid of one, and if, wishing to evoke in others the fear he had felt, he invented an encounter with a wolf and recounted it so as to make his hearers share the feelings he experienced when he feared the world, that also would be art. And just in the same way it is art if a man, having experienced either the fear of suffering or the attraction of enjoyment (whether in reality or in imagination) expresses these feelings on canvas or in marble so that others are infected by them. And it is also art if a man feels or imagines to himself feelings of delight, gladness, sorrow, despair, courage, or despondency and the transition from one to another of these feelings, and expresses these feelings by sounds so that the hearers are infected by them and experience them as they were experienced by the composer.

#8. The feelings with which the artist infects others may be most various - very strong or very weak, very important or very insignificant, very bad or very good: feelings of love for one's own country, self-devotion and submission to fate or to God expressed in a drama, raptures of lovers described in a novel, feelings of voluptuousness expressed in a picture, courage expressed in a triumphal march, merriment evoked by a dance, humor evoked by a funny story, the feeling of quietness transmitted by an evening landscape or by a lullaby, or the feeling of admiration evoked by a beautiful arabesque - it is all art.

#9. If only the spectators or auditors are infected by the feelings which the author has felt, it is art.

#10. To evoke in oneself a feeling one has once experienced, and having evoked it in oneself, then, by means of movements, lines, colors, sounds, or forms expressed in words, so to transmit that feeling that others may experience the same feeling - this is the activity of art.

#11. Art is a human activity consisting in this, that one man consciously, by means of certain external signs, hands on to others feelings he has lived through, and that other people are infected by these feelings and also experience them.

#12. Art is not, as the metaphysicians say, the manifestation of some mysterious idea of beauty or God; it is not, as the aesthetical physiologists say, a game in which man lets off his excess of stored-up energy; it is not the expression of man's emotions by external signs; it is not the production of pleasing objects; and, above all, it is not pleasure; but it is a means of union among men, joining them together in the same feelings, and indispensable for the life and progress toward well-being of individuals and of humanity.

#13. As, thanks to man's capacity to express thoughts by words, every man may know all that has been done for him in the realms of thought by all humanity before his day, and can in the present, thanks to this capacity to understand the thoughts of others, become a sharer in their activity and can himself hand on to his contemporaries and descendants the thoughts he has assimilated from others, as well as those which have arisen within himself; so, thanks to man's capacity to be infected with the feelings of others by means of art, all that is being lived through by his contemporaries is accessible to him, as well as the feelings experienced by men thousands of years ago, and he has also the possibility of transmitting his own feelings to others.

#14. If people lacked this capacity to receive the thoughts conceived by the men who preceded them and to pass on to others their own thoughts, men would be like wild beasts, or like Kaspar Houser.

#15. And if men lacked this other capacity of being infected by art, people might be almost more savage still, and, above all, more separated from, and more hostile to, one another.

#16. And therefore the activity of art is a most important one, as important as the activity of speech itself and as generally diffused.

#17. We are accustomed to understand art to be only what we hear and see in theaters, concerts, and exhibitions, together with buildings, statues, poems, novels. . . . But all this is but the smallest part of the art by which we communicate with each other in life. All human life is filled with works of art of every kind - from cradlesong, jest, mimicry, the ornamentation of houses, dress, and utensils, up to church services, buildings, monuments, and triumphal processions. It is all artistic activity. So that by art, in the limited sense of the word, we do not mean all human activity transmitting feelings, but only that part which we for some reason select from it and to which we attach special importance.

#18. This special importance has always been given by all men to that part of this activity which transmits feelings flowing from their religious perception, and this small part of art they have specifically called art, attaching to it the full meaning of the word.

#19. That was how man of old -- Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle - looked on art. Thus did the Hebrew prophets and the ancient Christians regard art; thus it was, and still is, understood by the Mohammedans, and thus it still is understood by religious folk among our own peasantry.

#20. Some teachers of mankind - as Plato in his Republic and people such as the primitive Christians, the strict Mohammedans, and the Buddhists -- have gone so far as to repudiate all art.

#21. People viewing art in this way (in contradiction to the prevalent view of today which regards any art as good if only it affords pleasure) considered, and consider, that art (as contrasted with speech, which need not be listened to) is so highly dangerous in its power to infect people against their wills that mankind will lose far less by banishing all art than by tolerating each and every art.

#22. Evidently such people were wrong in repudiating all art, for they denied that which cannot be denied - one of the indispensable means of communication, without which mankind could not exist. But not less wrong are the people of civilized European society of our class and day in favoring any art if it but serves beauty, i.e., gives people pleasure.

#23. Formerly people feared lest among the works of art there might chance to be some causing corruption, and they prohibited art altogether. Now they only fear lest they should be deprived of any enjoyment art can afford, and patronize any art. And I think the last error is much grosser than the first and that its consequences are far more harmful.

CHAPTER FIFTEEN

#24. Art, in our society, has been so perverted that not only has bad art come to be considered good, but even the very perception of what art really is has been lost. In order to be able to speak about the art of our society, it is, therefore, first of all necessary to distinguish art from counterfeit art.

#25. There is one indubitable indication distinguishing real art from its counterfeit, namely, the infectiousness of art. If a man, without exercising effort and without altering his standpoint on reading, hearing, or seeing another man's work, experiences a mental condition which unites him with that man and with other people who also partake of that work of art, then the object evoking that condition is a work of art. And however poetical, realistic, effectful, or interesting a work may be, it is not a work of art if it does not evoke that feeling (quite distinct from all other feelings) of joy and of spiritual union with another (the author) and with others (those who are also infected by it).

#26. It is true that this indication is an internal one, and that there are people who have forgotten what the action of real art is, who expect something else form art (in our society the great majority are in this state), and that therefore such people may mistake for this aesthetic feeling the feeling of diversion and a certain excitement which they receive from counterfeits of art. But though it is impossible to undeceive these people, just as it is impossible to convince a man suffering from "Daltonism" [a type of color blindness] that green is not red, yet, for all that, this indication remains perfectly definite to those whose feeling for art is neither perverted nor atrophied, and it clearly distinguishes the feeling produced by art from all other feelings.

#27. The chief peculiarity of this feeling is that the receiver of a true artistic impression is so united to the artist that he feels as if the work were his own and not someone else's - as if what it expresses were just what he had long been wishing to express. A real work of art destroys, in the consciousness of the receiver, the separation between himself and the artist - not that alone, but also between himself and all whose minds receive this work of art. In this freeing of our personality from its separation and isolation, in this uniting of it with others, lies the chief characteristic and the great attractive force of art.

#28. If a man is infected by the author's condition of soul, if he feels this emotion and this union with others, then the object which has effected this is art; but if there be no such infection, if there be not this union with the author and with others who are moved by the same work - then it is not art. And not only is infection a sure sign of art, but the degree of infectiousness is also the sole measure of excellence in art.

#29. The stronger the infection, the better is the art as art, speaking now apart from its subject matter, i.e., not considering the quality of the feelings it transmits.

#30. And the degree of the infectiousness of art depends on three conditions:
On the greater or lesser individuality of the feeling transmitted;
on the greater or lesser clearness with which the feeling is transmitted;
on the sincerity of the artist, i.e., on the greater or lesser force with which the artist himself feels the emotion he transmits.

#31. The more individual the feeling transmitted the more strongly does it act on the receiver; the more individual the state of soul into which he is transferred, the more pleasure does the receiver obtain, and therefore the more readily and strongly does he join in it.

#32. The clearness of expression assists infection because the receiver, who mingles in consciousness with the author, is the better satisfied the more clearly the feeling is transmitted, which, as it seems to him, he has long known and felt, and for which he has only now found expression.

#33. But most of all is the degree of infectiousness of art increased by the degree of sincerity in the artist. As soon as the spectator, hearer, or reader feels that the artist is infected by his own production, and writes, sings, or plays for himself, and not merely to act on others, this mental condition of the artist infects the receiver; and contrariwise, as soon as the spectator, reader, or hearer feels that the author is not writing, singing, or playing for his own satisfaction - does not himself feel what he wishes to express - but is doing it for him, the receiver, a resistance immediately springs up, and the most individual and the newest feelings and the cleverest technique not only fail to produce any infection but actually repel.

#34. I have mentioned three conditions of contagiousness in art, but they may be all summed up into one, the last, sincerity, i.e., that the artist should be impelled by an inner need to express his feeling. That condition includes the first; for if the artist is sincere he will express the feeling as he experienced it. And as each man is different from everyone else, his feeling will be individual for everyone else; and the more individual it is - the more the artist has drawn it from the depths of his nature - the more sympathetic and sincere will it be. And this same sincerity will impel the artist to find a clear expression of the feeling which he wishes to transmit.

#35. Therefore this third condition - sincerity - is the most important of the three. It is always complied with in peasant art, and this explains why such art always acts so powerfully; but it is a condition almost entirely absent from our upper-class art, which is continually produced by artists actuated by personal aims of covetousness or vanity.

#36. Such are the three conditions which divide art from its counterfeits, and which also decide the quality of every work of art apart from its subject matter.

#37. The absence of any one of these conditions excludes a work form the category of art and relegates it to that of art's counterfeits. If the work does not transmit the artist's peculiarity of feeling and is therefore not individual, if it is unintelligibly expressed, or if it has not proceeded from the author's inner need for expression - it is not a work of art. If all these conditions are present, even in the smallest degree, then the work, even if a weak one, is yet a work of art.

#38. The presence in various degrees of these three conditions - individuality, clearness, and sincerity - decides the merit of a work of art as art, apart from subject matter. All works of art take rank of merit according to the degree in which they fulfill the first, the second, and the third of these conditions. In one the individuality of the feeling transmitted may predominate; in another, clearness of expression; in a third, sincerity; while a fourth may have sincerity and individuality but be deficient in clearness; a fifth, individuality and clearness but less sincerity; and so forth, in all possible degrees and combinations.

#39. Thus is art divided from that which is not art, and thus is the quality of art as art decided, independently of its subject matter, i.e., apart from whether the feelings it transmits are good or bad.

#40. But how are we to define good and bad art with reference to its subject matter?

This page was put on-line and is maintained by Julie Van Camp, Professor of Philosophy, California State University, Long Beach.
 
Master Pangloss
 
Reply Fri 25 Jul, 2008 11:49 am
@GoshisDead,
GoshisDead wrote:
Art = That which is created simply so that it might exist.


Are you suggesting "art for art's sake"? If not, that's very well. But if so, then I disagree. Even the most undefinable art exists for some purpose, even if that purpose is to challenge the proposition that art must have a purpose, even if the purpose is nothing more than that it gives the artist pleasure. Nothing is done for it's own sake, especially art. And I would challenge you to show even a single example which cannot be said to have a reason behind it.
 
GoshisDead
 
Reply Fri 25 Jul, 2008 11:55 am
@Master Pangloss,
No not art for art's sake. I'm just abstracting the purpose for art's existence back as far as i can get it. That which is created simply because the artist desires that it exists.
 
Master Pangloss
 
Reply Fri 25 Jul, 2008 04:23 pm
@GoshisDead,
Then we are of one mind.
 
Fido
 
Reply Fri 25 Jul, 2008 04:33 pm
@OntheWindowStand,
OntheWindowStand wrote:
lets hear some of the opinions

I am kinda new to this study just want to hear peoples perspectives

Art is first, subject; second, skill, and third, truth. What does one see, and does it have of itself more meaning? How well do one create the work, so that it adds not, nor takes from the subject? And, How is the subject concieved, because it must be concieved of truthfully before it can be expressed with verasity. To say truth, one must know truth, and art must reveal reality.
 
boagie
 
Reply Fri 25 Jul, 2008 10:25 pm
@Fido,
Smile
If one had read nameless's previous post, it would seem evident that art is communication on an emotional level.
 
BrightNoon
 
Reply Tue 26 Aug, 2008 01:47 pm
@boagie,
Art is whatever is called art; consider Dada. According to my taste, good art, that which I would call art, attempts to express nothing beyond itself; its value and meaning is in itself, not in some political/social/religious implication elsewhere. Of course, there are always relations that come to mind when observing anything; my point is that they are not the primary source of enjoyment, awe, sublimity.
 
Fido
 
Reply Tue 26 Aug, 2008 04:41 pm
@BrightNoon,
BrightNoon wrote:
Art is whatever is called art; consider Dada. According to my taste, good art, that which I would call art, attempts to express nothing beyond itself; its value and meaning is in itself, not in some political/social/religious implication elsewhere. Of course, there are always relations that come to mind when observing anything; my point is that they are not the primary source of enjoyment, awe, sublimity.

Nonsense bn. Your art is not art at all unless you consider it so, because if all it is, is self expression, every one who talks, and every baby who cries the blues is doing art. If it has no implications, and if it is not dangerous, and if there is no conception behind it, or a worthy subject; then it is not art. In any event, it is not the relation that is art, at least not all of art; but art is a form of relationship. What artist does art for himself? It is meant to be shared, and we share our best, our best skill, and our best insight into what we see and concieve. Life itself would be art if it could fit in a museum. Instead, we take humanity as our subject because all we know of drama, comedy, pathos, and tragedy is all bound up with humanity. We cannot recreat reality without, in some senses, recreating ourselves, So the meaning of art never come only from the art. It it does not engage us in the relationship, and if it does not make of humanity and the artistic vision something grand, that we are proud to be a part of, then it has failed. If your art is only about itself, it is about nothing.
 
BrightNoon
 
Reply Tue 26 Aug, 2008 07:14 pm
@Fido,
Fido wrote:
Nonsense bn. Your art is not art at all unless you consider it so, because if all it is, is self expression, every one who talks, and every baby who cries the blues is doing art. If it has no implications, and if it is not dangerous, and if there is no conception behind it, or a worthy subject; then it is not art. In any event, it is not the relation that is art, at least not all of art; but art is a form of relationship. What artist does art for himself? It is meant to be shared, and we share our best, our best skill, and our best insight into what we see and concieve. Life itself would be art if it could fit in a museum. Instead, we take humanity as our subject because all we know of drama, comedy, pathos, and tragedy is all bound up with humanity. We cannot recreat reality without, in some senses, recreating ourselves, So the meaning of art never come only from the art. It it does not engage us in the relationship, and if it does not make of humanity and the artistic vision something grand, that we are proud to be a part of, then it has failed. If your art is only about itself, it is about nothing.


I agree with you on one point, life is art and the very best. Life is a unity, however, which means that it is about itself and not something else (there is nothing else); by your definition, that would make it about nothing. I won't stand by and have you demean life; life's the ****. Very Happy

Also, who are you to judge what is dangerous, what is a worthy subject, etc.? Perhaps you are an art critic...
 
Fido
 
Reply Wed 27 Aug, 2008 09:08 am
@BrightNoon,
BrightNoon wrote:
I agree with you on one point, life is art and the very best. Life is a unity, however, which means that it is about itself and not something else (there is nothing else); by your definition, that would make it about nothing. I won't stand by and have you demean life; life's the ****. Very Happy

Also, who are you to judge what is dangerous, what is a worthy subject, etc.? Perhaps you are an art critic...

Everybody is a critic; but yes, I look at art with a critical eye, and with a very critical eye at that. And yet, I like some art, and I go to museums some times, and I say: who invited that piece to the party?

Life is about life, but all of existence, which would not be existence without us, what ever it may in fact be, is not nothing. Even if it is pointless, and if we are the point we cannot call it that, then still, it is not nothing. Life is all. When the last eye of life goes dim in death, there may be something left behind, but it will be less than dead. It will be without meaning because without humanity to see the meaning it is nothing.
Let me tell you about Van G. whose name I now feel compelled to learn to spell. I look at his art long after his passing and it scares me. I can only imagine the horror with which people of his day viewed his work. But I get the same sense from Nietzsche, or Baudelaire, or Poe. It is like a girl friend of mine once, who told me of when she was still hooking, and her trick was gone to his nice hotel room, and left her in a cab. And out side of the hotel that night there was a lunatic who had taken off all his clothes, and she told me of how upset it made everyone, like that Randy Newman song: Who is afraid of the naked man. This look into the madness of our reality; and it is often nothing less than cruel, vulgar madness on display before every sensitive child in our souls, that we learn to look away from because it is too terrible to bear, too upsetting of our moral prejudices is one of those things that art is for. Now; I see forms, and what the Greeks called forms, I expect the Latins called orders. And philosophy wants to deliver an ordered world for people to study, and to believe they can master. The truth is much more sublime, and as tender as rotten flesh.

There is a dangerous side to humanity. There is a side that is all emotion, confounded by the loneliness and lack of love, the cruelty I have already mentioned, and the fear of death which all deny and know is certain. Clearly philosophy, as we have had it, is not looking at the whole human. Art can only tell the tale before it. People in their lives and loves and relationships always find themselves between these poles of emotion, and of reason. I think art should not deny the life in the corps philosophy would vivisect.

Once all of humanity was an artist colony. The savage traveling light, made a canvas of his body. No object of utility was left unadorned. How have we come to dispise our own art, our own labor, our own story, our own place in the grand cascade of life. Now, We see only through telescopes because each in turn contributes but a small part of the whole. What that fraction means, is shown in economic terms, is shown in social terms, in unhappiness, frustration, injustice, and eventually, in war. People cannot survive on dreams, and on other people's pictures of life. When they watch people on tv they no longer live their own lives, and yet their life ticks on. They wish for a better life, for a better job, for more money, for pay day, for retirement, and death while they still have enough to buy a funeral, and it is only, so much, of wishing their lives away when that is all they have. And this is done to people. This is a result of the world philosophy has made for them. This is a part of why people are so normally cruel, and unforgiving. They are miserable. And you cannot give them enough money to not be miserable. Money is a part of the problem. There is something about this day and age, just as for many other days and ages that robs people of their meaning along with their lives. And art is one sign of that theft; because when people quit creating for their own pleasure, as gifts, or signs of caring, even of enthusiasm for life, then they are all done, waiting only for death. Mankind does not exist for philosophy, but philosophy for mankind. To date, in giving birth to law and hard science it has nearly destroyed mankind, beginning with our humanity. What will philosophy do to make things right? Thanks
 
BrightNoon
 
Reply Wed 27 Aug, 2008 01:56 pm
@Fido,
I hope all that you wrote, which was quite interesting by the way, was not intended as a response to what I had said. If so, you totally missed and inverted my point.

You said If your art is only about itself, it is about nothing.

and also, Life itself would be art...

In an attempt to show that your first statement is false, I said that these two taken together would mean that life is nothing, a statement with which i'm sure be both disagree. This would be so because life is alone, by itself and about itself, as life is inclusive of everything.

Good art, according to my taste, stands alone in the same way. It may be capable of reminding one of something else, but that should not be its intent. For example, a cezzanne pleases me a great deal, in the image itself there is a beauty; a work by the russian marxists does nothing for me, because instead of standing in awe of the world created on the canvass, I am thinking about the inequity of peasant/farmer relations in honduras or some such thing. Its point should be in itself. This is analagous to the difference between reason and passion. Reason is about relations, ghosts. Passion is about something entirely irrational, something which is whole without any relations to something else.

As for the depression typical in the post-modern world, there is too much to say. However, the primary cause, I think, is the increasingly ideological nature of the world. In other words, people have to be concerned with an increasing number of issues, things, tasks, etc., which exist only as ideas, which someone else produced. They do not have enough visceral experience. Actual experience is living, thoughts are dead. The world is dying of the sickness of reason. Even worse off are those who understand the final truth, the fallacy of reason, and have yet to overcome the implications of this fact. Intellectually, the age of beleif and universal meaning is past; most, I think, have yet to find which is the suceeding age and, in any case, our mass civilizations are not moving in that new direction, but pressing foreward with progress, "perched headlong on the edge of boredom," and one who understands once said.
 
Fido
 
Reply Thu 28 Aug, 2008 05:49 am
@BrightNoon,
BrightNoon wrote:
I hope all that you wrote, which was quite interesting by the way, was not intended as a response to what I had said. If so, you totally missed and inverted my point.

You said If your art is only about itself, it is about nothing.

and also, Life itself would be art...

In an attempt to show that your first statement is false, I said that these two taken together would mean that life is nothing, a statement with which i'm sure be both disagree. This would be so because life is alone, by itself and about itself, as life is inclusive of everything.

Good art, according to my taste, stands alone in the same way. It may be capable of reminding one of something else, but that should not be its intent. For example, a cezzanne pleases me a great deal, in the image itself there is a beauty; a work by the russian marxists does nothing for me, because instead of standing in awe of the world created on the canvass, I am thinking about the inequity of peasant/farmer relations in honduras or some such thing. Its point should be in itself. This is analagous to the difference between reason and passion. Reason is about relations, ghosts. Passion is about something entirely irrational, something which is whole without any relations to something else.

As for the depression typical in the post-modern world, there is too much to say. However, the primary cause, I think, is the increasingly ideological nature of the world. In other words, people have to be concerned with an increasing number of issues, things, tasks, etc., which exist only as ideas, which someone else produced. They do not have enough visceral experience. Actual experience is living, thoughts are dead. The world is dying of the sickness of reason. Even worse off are those who understand the final truth, the fallacy of reason, and have yet to overcome the implications of this fact. Intellectually, the age of beleif and universal meaning is past; most, I think, have yet to find which is the suceeding age and, in any case, our mass civilizations are not moving in that new direction, but pressing foreward with progress, "perched headlong on the edge of boredom," and one who understands once said.

What I was trying to say I will say larger. Art can be viewed as a mirror of reality. As a mirror of reality it can reflect itself into an infinity of sorts; but that misses the point. I am an old iron worker. I have put up a few buildings. There is much art in the design, manufacture, and ******** of buildings; but it is hard to judge the art because there are so many hands. It is not an individual conception being turned into an object of reality in its own right. As art is. A simple, individual, conception added to the artistic ability of the artist to create a new reality that can be measured against the old reality. And some art does become more a measure of the individual than of the conception. But to me, that sort of introspection is boring. The artist should have his introspection behind him, and step into art with certain bold strokes. So, if you see what I am trying to say, if art is just about us, it is about futility, and mortality, and frailty. Art should reach for the eternal just as humanity should strive for the same, and not give up existence to chance.

So I stand by both statements, and will even agree that from certain perspectives life is nothing since, in the form we know it, it does not last. But life is art, impossible without all the arts of mankind, and the result of arts passed by and long discarded. We are art. Life is art. The good life is good art. We as life, are the product in many senses of art because life alone, without art, may be as cute as a baby, but equally defensless.

I would not say art ever stands alone, but is a lens of sorts through which we can see through the eyes of others. Can it be ideological? I guess it some times is. But ideas are not reason. As in politics, accepted ideas are the enemy of reason. Ideas can also be the enemy of social rehabilitation, as when it casts one class in the role of victim and the other class as villans. The truth is harder to digest. In many places where the rich feed upon the poor, they are all that is keeping the poor from breeding themselves into starvation; and the fact that the poor often live painful, demoralized lives only adds to their desire to breed.

A simple idea is no cure for a complex problem. An understanding of all ideas, as forms, and as forms of relationship, I think, is the key. Art is a form. So is politics. So is everything. Slavery is a form of relationship most people have known, and know yet. But the form is just a form, and people actively engage in relationships within the form unless the form has become so decrepit that it attacks the life within. So, I like Cezzanne too. But I also see the form in that, as in some polemic. Thanks
 
Fido
 
Reply Thu 28 Aug, 2008 06:05 am
@Fido,
If I may add... Ideas are the enemy of reason. We all use ideas to think, but once we have reached a sense of the ideal, the best, the ideology; we give up on looking at ideas as the means by which we know and reason, and put them beyond ourselves, as goals. Human beings are not ideas, and are not ideal. We are dynamic, and in our relationships, which are our human environment, even while constantly surrounded by forms, the formal aspects fall away, and we relate, which is to say, We Live. If this idealogy is not working, trash it. That is how humans progress: by change of forms. To see all things clearly through time is to not be blinded by forms. Fight the form and die miserable. Negotiate the form. Make it work, or dismantle it. Build another form as all humans have always done. But, make certain your form facilitates the relationship. Judge all forms by whether they feed the relationship or starve it. Do not let the ideal be your goal. Let the relationship be your goal. A soft shelled crab does not fight the shell he has out grown. He sets out to find a better fitting shell.
 
BrightNoon
 
Reply Thu 28 Aug, 2008 08:56 pm
@Fido,
Not to discourage you, but once again you have completely missed my point and made rather long arguments about various completely unrelated topics.

Dialogue is not working, let's try example.

Surrealism is the perfect example of what I am talking about. It's forms do not represent anything; the artists goal is precisely that. The form itself, not its reference to something in the 'real' world is its meaning. This is analagous to passion and reason, as I said before, because passion stands alone; reason requires, for lack of a better word, a reason! And how are ideas antithetical to reason; reason is nothing but ideas! Reason is spectral, vacuous and unable to stand alone because it relies on refernce to other things (arguments, premises, etc.), which themselves are in the same predicament: consider causation and the eternal problem of a first cause.

Obviously, a great deal of art, especially in the more distant past, was intended and enjoyed as representational. However, in my opinion, the better art is that which does not represent. I can enjoy the representation, but more often, even if i'm looking at the david or some such classical work, I am primarily enjoying the beauty of the work itself and not pondering its relation to what it is supposed to represent.
 
Fido
 
Reply Fri 29 Aug, 2008 07:21 am
@BrightNoon,
BrightNoon wrote:
Not to discourage you, but once again you have completely missed my point and made rather long arguments about various completely unrelated topics.

Dialogue is not working, let's try example.

Surrealism is the perfect example of what I am talking about. It's forms do not represent anything; the artists goal is precisely that. The form itself, not its reference to something in the 'real' world is its meaning. This is analagous to passion and reason, as I said before, because passion stands alone; reason requires, for lack of a better word, a reason! And how are ideas antithetical to reason; reason is nothing but ideas! Reason is spectral, vacuous and unable to stand alone because it relies on refernce to other things (arguments, premises, etc.), which themselves are in the same predicament: consider causation and the eternal problem of a first cause.

Obviously, a great deal of art, especially in the more distant past, was intended and enjoyed as representational. However, in my opinion, the better art is that which does not represent. I can enjoy the representation, but more often, even if i'm looking at the david or some such classical work, I am primarily enjoying the beauty of the work itself and not pondering its relation to what it is supposed to represent.


I have to get out of town. On Labor day I get a chance to walk the Bridge, and my father helped to build it, so it is a pride and a pleasure to do so. And I hope to get back to this discussion, later. I will say that in regard to ideas they they are seldom reason. Ideas are like pieces on a chess board, from which we can draw certain conclusions regarding armies and feudal society. They are not an army or a feudal society in fact, and the conclusion of the game does not represent a loss of power, or land. The ideas we manipulate on a chess board are not reason; but reason is how the ideas are manipulated. When we hold set ideas of society and mentally manipulate them to achieve a certain ideal goal we are using reason, which would be impossible without imagination, and ideas we can form images of, but again, the reason is human agency. Reason is what people do.

So soon as they begin to get an idea that they think they know they know nothing. Everyone has an idea of what water is, but the idea is as muddy as the thing in fact, as it should be, open ended, without a final, fixed definition. And this is because we can never know what water is, really; but only take what we think we know and wrap it up into an idea of water, which should be in part, open ended.

Now, most of our ideas are handed to us complete. Every word is an idea, or at least a pointer to an idea, and we have lots. Now, given certain life experiences, and a pile of ideas, and the conclusions we might draw from the ideas are limitless. If the conclusions are about the best sort of dog to own; then what is the harm? If they are about moves on a chess board; what is the harm? When people take their ideas, which properly speaking, are not fixed; and try to draw fixed conclusions from them, and hold these ideas, these forms, over everyones head, and try to make humans con-form to them, then they do everyone an injustice. The object of thought is life, a better life, better ideas, and more accurate, and good relationships. The object of ideas, and that is hard to say since ideas stand for objects, is only a better grasp of objective reality, so that we can manipulate reality in our minds rather than with our muscles.

We see that social forms are built on a certain understanding of mental forms, ideas. These forms, these institutions, like government, or education, or religion are not made so much to manipulate physical reality to produce a desired end; but to manipulate people, to reform them to fit the idea, or ideal of the better man. I see that we are beyond change. You can teach a dog new tricks, but you cannot remake the dog. We have been essentially human for a long time, not better or worse than we are now.

As we have changed it has been the result of taking up better and newer ideas. We have an idea of government. Do we have an idea of better government? As long as it is an imposition upon people it will not work. If, as Jefferson suggests, people change their forms when they must it does not mean that they change themselves, or the form exactly. If a man needs gloves in the winter, he will need them even if the ones he has are worn out.

Our need for government does not end because one government is worn out, and yet that happens out of fixed ideas. The more fixed ideas people force on government the sooner it is done feeding the relationships between people. Fixed ideas of marriage as a form of relationship do not make the perfect marriage. People do, and usually without a fixed idea of what a marriage is supposed to be. So; do you see my point? Thinking is good, and is the proper use of ideas. As soon as people have an idea, they have ceased to think, and they have lost the dynamic of thought.

What is that? A Jim Morrison quotation; or was he quoting some one else?
 
BrightNoon
 
Reply Fri 29 Aug, 2008 11:43 am
@Fido,
Nno...Nnno...Bad dog!

:brickwall:
 
nameless
 
Reply Fri 29 Aug, 2008 12:08 pm
@GoshisDead,
GoshisDead;19531 wrote:
because the artist desires that it exists.

'Art' is an odd thing. As are artists. Perhaps 'art' is whatever a loonatick produces? Value indexed to depth of loonacy?
Ok, where am i going? It seems that many people see me as an 'artist', from 'their' Perspective, of course. They call that which I produce, 'art'.
I don't define myself. I am..
I don't 'desire' to do anything, 'it' seems to 'grow' in me until 'giving birth' is the only thing to do. There it is, often a 'surprise', in all it's gooey newness. I clean it up a bit and 'parent' it a bit, and eventually, it leaves home. Maybe i pop out a few more in the meantime... (Hmmm, parenting an art?)
I dont see myself as an 'artist', nor do I see what I have no choice but to produce, as 'art' (I just do as I must, like everyone else!). Others do.
I guess it depends on who you ask, Perspective.
Peace
 
Fido
 
Reply Fri 29 Aug, 2008 01:37 pm
@nameless,
nameless wrote:
'Art' is an odd thing. As are artists. Perhaps 'art' is whatever a loonatick produces? Value indexed to depth of loonacy?
Ok, where am i going? It seems that many people see me as an 'artist', from 'their' Perspective, of course. They call that which I produce, 'art'.
I don't define myself. I am..
I don't 'desire' to do anything, 'it' seems to 'grow' in me until 'giving birth' is the only thing to do. There it is, often a 'surprise', in all it's gooey newness. I clean it up a bit and 'parent' it a bit, and eventually, it leaves home. Maybe i pop out a few more in the meantime... (Hmmm, parenting an art?)
I dont see myself as an 'artist', nor do I see what I have no choice but to produce, as 'art' (I just do as I must, like everyone else!). Others do.
I guess it depends on who you ask, Perspective.
Peace

Purhaps there is value in another point of view. Parent has to do with the branches of a tree, and the parental in English law has to do with determining inheritance rights by the nearest branch to the original owner in fee simple. I'll check to make sure.
 
 

 
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