It is currently Sun Nov 23, 2014 9:04 pm

All times are UTC - 5 hours [ DST ]




Forum locked This topic is locked, you cannot edit posts or make further replies.  [ 39 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3  Next
Author Message
 Post subject: Does art exist?
PostPosted: Wed Apr 13, 2005 12:59 am 
Offline

Joined: Fri Apr 08, 2005 4:30 am
Posts: 19
Location: Tennessee, USA
Hello all,
First I would like to introduce myself. My name is Michael and I am not an "advanced" bonsai artist as most of the other people on this forum seem to be. In fact I have only been at this for a couple of months. I have a couple of trees started from nursery stock and a few more yamadori added to that in training.
I was directed to this forum by a link posted by Walter Pall in a discussion I was taking part in on another forum. I must admit that I am impressed by the idea and application of this idea. I am very intrigued by the artistic and philosophical aspects of bonsai.
I, myself, am an artist in the music field, I'm studying classical composition and performance currently at the Blair School of Music. One of the things I find most intriguing about this type of discussion on bonsai is that it all seems to be so readily applicable to composing music (but that's another topic all together).
With that little introduction out of the way I wanted to pose a subject for discussion to the assembled group. I have never really tried to write an article of this nature before, so please bear with me as I humbly present some thoughts that I've had while reading this very interesting forum.
Does art exist?
by Michael Thomas
The American Heritage Dictionary defines objectivity as a "judgment based on observable phenomena and uninfluenced by emotions or personal prejudices". Or the "external or material reality."
We are all art critics. As soon as we open our mouths or start typing words about someone else's art, whether to compliment or chastise we become a critic. There are many who will tell you that they are also objective in their observations. I do not believe that is possible.
Let us look again at the definition of objectivity. A Judgement based on observable phenomena, or the material or external reality. So Objective criticism would be criticism that was only influenced by the material reality of the art sitting in front of the viewer. Be it bonsai, a painting, a piece of music, or a sculpture, is it possible to judge a work of art solely on it's material reality?
What does this have to do with someone critiquing a piece of art? There are people who feel they have the authority in their field to decide whether or not something is of artistic value or if it isn't. Some would even go so far as to believe that they have the right to decide what is art, and what is not. I say that this just is not possible. If fact, perhaps art doesn't exist at all.
I would like to offer a hypothetical situation to all of you out there who are wondering what in the world I'm talking about. I want to present to you two characters. One is myself, you can read my introduction above to find out who I am. No one in the world of bonsai knows who I am, nor do they care. I have no vast gallery of work, I have not won any awards and there is no reason for anyone to respect me or play the sycophant in my presence.
The other character in this situation is Walter Pall. I don't believe any introduction is necessary, however if you require one, take a look at the description of myself in the last paragraph, only read the opposite of what is written. I want to propose to you that Walter Pall and I conspired together and we decided that I would pass one of his plants off as my own, then a few weeks later he would introduce one of his other trees to the world. What would the result be if the only people that knew of this was myself and Walter?
In http://artofbonsai.org/forum/viewtopic.php?p=435#435 Lisa Kanis said:
Quote:
I have seen lots of examples on the IBC Gallery, where Walter Pall showed some fabulous trees (sometimes a bit too "fantastic"), with the frequent result that people thought that as long as their own bulky tree had a tortuous shape and plenty of jins, it was a work of art comparable to Walter's.

Would Lisa see "my" tree as one of these "Walter Pall knock offs"? A tree that has no artistic merit or skill behind it and is simply a cheap copy of someone else's style? I'm not trying to pick on Lisa here, I don't even know her, just using her as an example because of this quote, I have no intent of malice here. I believe that the majority of people would indeed look at "my" tree this way. I believe that many of the flaws would be pointed out and picked on. If it wasn't said then most people would probably feel in their gut that I was a wanna be with no artistic vision.
At the same time, it's takes no stretch of the imagination to see that Walter's tree would be received with many accolades and congratulations. Of course there would be some of the always present grumbling about his "too fantastic" style, but over all it would still be viewed as a great work of art, or am I wrong?
So, this being the most likely scenario that I can see being played out, what makes Walter's tree art. If "my" tree is not art, but simply ignorant posturing without any knowledge of the classical techniques, when it is really Walter's tree, then what makes the tree Walter presented art. He did them both afterall.
One thing I realized when contemplating this scenario was that after it was revealed that both trees were Walter's, then the ones who had such harsh things to say about my tree would most likely become even more adamant about their position. In fact, perhaps the tree that Walter chooses to let me present as "mine" really is a bad tree. For the moment let's assume that that's not the case. Let's believe that both trees are of the highest "Pallsien" quality. So now, the naysayer is in a tough position isn't he? Had Walter presented this same tree would they have seen it as a viable work of art? If so why?
Let me propose another situation very similar too you. What if I allowed Walter to show one of my trees as his? Would my tree styled by inexperienced and untrained hands be viewed as art if people believed that Walter Pall had created it?
So what then gives anything artistic merit? Some would say that one is only considered an artist or his work only achieves artistic merit after he consistently produces works of the same caliber. But if that's the case then aren't you saying that the first tree, sonata, or sculpture isn't art until he produces x number of other pieces, then collectively they change from pretentious pandering into art. This seems highly illogical to me.
So, anyone who is knowledgeable in their field can not possibly criticize art objectively. They will always be prejudiced by their own egos, their awareness of technique, by their familiarity with the creator of said work and of of course their own ideas as to what constitutes a work of art (which we should all be in agreement is highly subjective).
So, if it is not possible to look at art objectively then the object itself is not the thing that lets you know if it is art. If all opinions on art are subjective and influenced by political and personal variables, then could it, in fact, be argued that in the external and material reality that there is no difference between the Mona Lisa and a single black line painted on white canvas. Could it be argued that since there are no tangible identifiers as to where artistic merit is present that "art" is only a concoction of the human psyche?
Does art exist at all, and can you prove it? Is there a work of art that is because it is? Is there any work of art out there that stands alone as a work of art without any subjective bias. Does art actually exist in the realm of reality? If it doesn't then what is the point of trying to classify it, criticize it, create or not create it and judge it as good, bad or indifferent?
Who has the authority or justification, then, to assign merit to something that doesn't even exist?


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Apr 13, 2005 2:13 am 
Offline
Editor

Joined: Thu Mar 03, 2005 12:20 pm
Posts: 494
Location: south of Munich, Germany
Michael,
most interesting thoughts you ar posting here.
We had a podium discussion with a famous trained painter, a well known gallerist, a bonsay nursery owner and myself about this subject.
Some of the outcomes:
All this applies first to the 'real' art world.
Art is what an artist makes.
If a non-artist makes exactyl the same thing it is not art. Maybe it becomes art later when the person is accepted as artist.
What is an artist is not decided by the crowds. It is only decided by a rather small in-group, consisitng of gallerists, museum directors, peers, magazine editores, big collectors etc. It does not matter at all what the general crowd thinks. It only mattes what the in-group thinks.
The value of a piece of art is decided by it's placement in museums, galleries, magazines , collections. The value is ulitmately decidd in rela money. Regardless of what is being discuse, the price in rela money decides about the quality.
A copy of an accepted masterpiece is always valued at a fraction of the original. Even if it is almost impossible for an expert to see the difference this is the case. A wonderful painting without a signature is worth only a fraction of exactly the same painting with the signature of a big name. Museums hate experts to discover that this 'wonderful piece of art' that they have hanging is not done by this big name. It meansthat it is almost worthless. But still the same painting!!!
Art is subjective. There is not objective art.
All this was mentioned as facts from the 'real' arts people. This is it, whether you like it or not. This all is prove that art is art and not craft.
The hypothetical case that Michael dscribes would well happen in the 'real' art world. It would NOT prove that art does not exist and that the real art world is rotten. It would prove that it is working as it should.
How about the bonsai world? I think it would happen as Micahel describes. I think it wuld prove that bonsai is art, has become art.
All those who think that this would not happen or should not happen probably somehow believe that bonsai is craft or are a bit naive.
Walter


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Apr 13, 2005 8:05 am 
Offline
Editor

Joined: Thu Mar 03, 2005 10:44 am
Posts: 269
Location: Huntersville, NC USA
Michael,
Your scenario is one I have mentioned in the past. Would "critics" be influenced by the "artist" more than the "art"? In some cases, I would say yes, but not always.
There is a limit. I hope Walter will allow me some leeway to make this remark:
Walter Pall is a professional. He is not going to display a stick in a pot and dub it as "art". His personal high level of taste and style is inherently "married" to the bonsai he publicly shows. This is the attribute discussed earlier about how a personal style is linked to subtle nuances that the artist's bonsai show because the artist has developed them over years of experience. Because of this, anyone who knows his (Walter's) work, will not be fooled. Granted, an example of a specimen bonsai that has its own noteworthy attributes could be inferred as Walter's, but then the true critiquing skills come to light. I have to think that if the known artist of a bonsai has world-wide acceptance as a true leader in the field, the pedigree of the individual bonsai tree will increase. That's a positive by-product of having a great reputation in a certain field of endeavor. Your work is viewed as superior, but if you try to dupe people into thinking "junk" is great art, your reputation will start to suffer, and then your work will not be viewed in the same light as it was before. Sort of like a child's slide; the climb up is a whole lot slower than the quick slide down. That's the key to professionalism; it's not just a matter of attaining a high level of competence, it's being able to consistently show that same high degree of quality.
I'm sure what I wrote is already known, but I felt it was important to post it here. I hope Walter was not offended by my remarks, as I have the highest regard for his skill. I meant no inference as to him trying to "tanuki" anyone. Quite the opposite.
Lastly, any critique is influenced by the critics' own personal beliefs/likes. It could be slight or great, but a strict, narrowly-determined set of rules for judging bonsai will also rule out too many great specimens that "break the rules". Since bonsai is such a visually-based art, the beauty is indeed in the eye of the beholder. That's very simplistic, but, in my opinion, the more we try to rationalize the art, the less attractive and moving it becomes. Bonafide "overall" critics of bonsai are not very numerous, to say the least. Lots of amateurs though. I am knowledgeable enough to know that I fall in the latter category.
A very nice post on your part. Well done.
Warmest regards,
John


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Apr 13, 2005 1:38 pm 
Offline
Editor

Joined: Sat Jan 29, 2005 2:13 am
Posts: 1190
Location: Los Angeles, California
Hi Michael,
Interesting subject and nice essay to present your question as to "does art exist?"
But you start and end with a false premise: subjective phenomena do not exist because cannot be observed objectively. This is not true, and I will show you later why.
But first, a step back to whether art is subjective or objective.
This should be a non-issue. Art is clearly subjective, and anybody who would claim otherwise is absolutely ignorant about art matters. A piece of rock lying on the surface of the moon is not art. It has nothing to do with art. But if a suiseki artist picks it up, puts it on a tray and declares that this is an exceptional suiseki, it instantly becomes art. All he did was to declare it a piece of art and present it as such. A textbook example on what is subjective.
Your next question "Is subjective real?" brings me to an example that can be very persuasive: Fear.
Is fear subjective? Yes. It is clearly in our mind, the next person standing next to us can observe the same thing and have absolutely no fear.
Is it real? It is very real to me, so real that it can stress me to the point of killing me. Psychosomatic diseases can do the same thing. Calling it unreal or non-existent something that can kill you would be foolish.
Subjective phenomena are part of us. Our mind is part of us. It is part of what we do and how we function. And we ARE real. Therefore, everything that's part of us IS real. If observing great art makes me jump up and down in ecstasy, the jumping is real. It is the result of my subjectivity that has an objective manifestation.
So, again, subjective is part of me, and I am real. Therefore, art is part of me, and it is real (has objective manifestations).
The influence of art has interesting implications on bonsai, though. As you've said, depending on who created it, bonsai can be high art or just a knock-off. As Walter said, with painting this is more obvious, the value of the same painting can change from a fortune to almost nothing just as the result of some new research deeming the work a clever copy.
So, clearly art is more than just the work itself. It also has to be the materialization of the original idea , a concept that is independent of the physical work itself. Copies are never looked at as works of art, just good craft. The work itself has to be the original one, created by the artist.
It looks like the formula of art is a function of three elements: f(actual work), f(original idea), f(artist) = work of art. All three elements are necessary for a work of art to be perceived as such. Forgive me the mathematical representation, it looks silly.
When we talk about bonsai exhibits, we often say, "it is all about the tree and not about who created it". But, if we look at the ingredients that makes art an art, we may have a problem with viewing bonsai this way. Because bonsai can change year after year, bonsai can be art today and an artless piece of plant tomorrow. Depending on who maintains it day after day.
The "Last Supper" by Leonardo is a mural that was renovated endlessly, since it is inevitably falling apart. Because it was renovated professionally and with great care, it is still perceived as a great piece of art, although pretty soon none of the paint on the wall may be the original one. The renovators painted practically all the painting.
I guess bonsai can be very similar. If maintained with skill year after year, it can remain a great piece of art. If changed by an artist, it can become a different work of art. But it can also degrade into nothing. It all depends on who is working on it.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Apr 15, 2005 1:02 am 
Offline

Joined: Sat Apr 02, 2005 6:53 am
Posts: 12
Location: Washington D. C.
I was once told, by a man (an artist in my eyes) that, "anything created by an artist, with artistic intent, is art."
He then explained, a person is a person, a rock is a rock, a tree is a plant growing in the ground. But if an artist (an artist being, essentially, any person creating any thing with artistic intent) comes along and paints that person, polishes that rock, or pots that tree with artistic intent, that person, rock or tree, become 'works,' thus becoming a work of art, by an artist.
To explain how this ties into the conversation. If I go to my nursery, field or tree farm, searching for a tree, with the intent of copying another artists (in this case Walter) tree, in the end, when I am satisfied with it, it will be a copy of Walters tree, not art, a copy. To me, art is all about intention, if you replace the intent to copy, with the intent to artistically create, the finished product will be a work (tree) of art by an artist (me).
This means that those horrible people on ebay who scavenge for dwarf alberta spruce, boxwoods and cheap pots, then sell that crap for 10x the material cost, are not selling art. They are selling plants in pots. But if some poor soul came along, purchased the overpriced plant in a pot, and nurtured it into creation, with artistic intent, it becomes art.
crabs><>


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2005 2:30 am 
Offline

Joined: Fri Apr 08, 2005 4:30 am
Posts: 19
Location: Tennessee, USA
Hello all,
I apologize for the long time it has taken me to reply to in this thread. I strongly agree with the creators of this site that all replies and ideas should be as well thought out as your brain allows before posting. The schedule restrictions I have imposed upon me with school and work leave me little time to compose my thoughts for a serious discussion, and as I consider posts on this BB a few notches above the, usually, thoughtless postings in your average forum, I wanted to take my time piecing together my next contribution to this line of thought. So, I've been piecing this together over the last few weeks. I hope you are all still interested in this.
I will reply and expound to your posts first.
Walter:
Quote:
All this was mentioned as facts from the 'real' arts people. This is it, whether you like it or not. This all is prove that art is art and not craft.

I know that art is art and not craft. Anyone who has studied art for any length of time realized quite soon that most of what makes art "art" is who it was created by and not always how or how well it was created. I believe whole heartedly that art is completely subjective. It's what lets me look at a painting or hear a piece of music that inspires me to the stars and beyond while someone else scoffs and walks away. One man's trash is another man's treasure, etc. The "experiment" that I proposed was a way to show exactly what you are saying.. That art is not craft. There is an element of craft involved, but it has nothing to do with what makes art "art".
Quote:
The hypothetical case that Michael dscribes would well happen in the 'real' art world. It would NOT prove that art does not exist and that the real art world is rotten. It would prove that it is working as it should.

Not only would it happen in the "real" art world, but it would also happen in the bonsai art world. It would happen in any art world. I'm not trying to prove that anyone is rotten or ignorant or anything else. If anything I'm just arguing that perhaps most of us have a little too high of an opinion of ourselves. I will expound on this later.
John Dixon:
Quote:
in my opinion, the more we try to rationalize the art, the less attractive and moving it becomes

Exactly! With the risk of floating off subject here, isn't the imposition of rules and forms and classifications one of the most excessive forms of rationalization? I find that pieces of music, art, or bonsai that try so hard to conform to the rules and conventions that make them the "art" they want to be are over sterilized and devoid of the limitless amount of feeling they could otherwise have. I realize, of course, that this is totally subjective. Some of you out there may feel that strict adherence to the rules is the only way to achieve the deep emotional connectivity to a piece of art. But isn't using those rules to guide your interpretation and appreciation of a piece of art a way of rationalizing that work as "art", instead of letting it speak for itself regardless of what the rules and rationalizations say?
Attila Soos
Quote:
But you start and end with a false premise: subjective phenomena do not exist because cannot be observed objectively. This is not true, and I will show you later why.
Is fear subjective? Yes. It is clearly in our mind, the next person standing next to us can observe the same thing and have absolutely no fear.
Is it real? It is very real to me, so real that it can stress me to the point of killing me. Psychosomatic diseases can do the same thing. Calling it unreal or non-existent something that can kill you would be foolish.

Fantastic argument! I have much respect for your logic. However what I first percieved as a disagreement to my point of view ends up further proving my point. Fear does not exist outside of our individual minds and consciousness. If I was deathly afraid of socks, then that fear would be real to me. I could qualify and quantify it within my own mind, but there would be no way that I could ever convince you that it was real. I would sound very silly trying to explain to you why socks are something that should be feared. To me this is what many people sound like when trying to prove or convince that one thing is or isn't a piece of art. "Art" is completely subjective, just like fear. It is only real to you, and to try and explain or justify what you feel or think you know about it is as ridiculous to everyone around you as if you were trying to explain why they should be fearful of socks. I hope you realize that when I refer to "you" I am speaking generally and not personally.
Richard W. Crabtree III
Quote:
I was once told, by a man (an artist in my eyes) that, "anything created by an artist, with artistic intent, is art."

This man is very wise. This is how I believe. If someone creates it with artistic intent, then it is art. If someone creates something without artistic intent and I come along and declare it art (much like Attila's moon rock example) then it becomes art. As soon as someone declares something to be art, then it is. To them.
Now, does art exist? Yes, I believe it does. My point is, that debates over whether or not something is art is pointless and derisory. Once someone declares or creates something to be art, then it is art. The only question that remains is whether or not it's good art or bad art. That too is subjective and there is no answer to that question. We are, yet again, forced to defer to the "in-crowd" that Walter referred to. But unless you enjoy being led around by the nose, then what the "in-crowd" says will have no effect on you and what you believe in your own subjective world will still be the only reality when it comes to art.
So, in closing and summary.
Even though art may exist within our own minds, just like fear. It is not a real thing. Professional and amateur critics alike would be well advised to keep this in mind before they let their ego take control. Some people out there feel like they have the authority to brand art and give it a value based on their own intelligence and what rules they may or may not deem important. They might convince some people that they know what they are talking about and they might even be respected, but a lot of times it sounds like they are trying to tell me to be afraid of socks.
Michael


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2005 12:00 pm 
Offline
Editor

Joined: Sat Jan 29, 2005 2:13 am
Posts: 1190
Location: Los Angeles, California
Michael Thomas wrote:
It is not a real thing.

Very good points, Michael.
Just wanted to comment on the above sentence. Art is not a real thing outside ourselves. It is not a reality on its own.
But it is a manifestation of the human mind. It's a collection of thoughts capable of expressing our relationship with the outside world.
When we ask the question "what is art ?", we inevitably have to answer the question "what is a thought?".


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Mon Sep 12, 2005 2:28 pm 
Offline

Joined: Mon Sep 12, 2005 4:00 am
Posts: 38
Attila Soos wrote:
Subjective phenomena are part of us. Our mind is part of us. It is part of what we do and how we function. And we ARE real. Therefore, everything that's part of us IS real. .

Yeah... we are real..... but hey..... there seems to be a philosophical problem that can not be solved here. Namely that nobody can be sure whether s(he) is dreaming of living a real life. What is our reality ? Its just a bounch of signals through/in our brains.... Can we jump out of our brain ? Immanuel Kant and Plato said NO, we can only experience the phenomena, not the real world. But in this case, we can live with it. We call it real but there must be another, higher level reality outside our reality. Excuse me for the philosophical intermezzo. Just can't stand the uppercases.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Mon Sep 12, 2005 2:47 pm 
Offline
Editor

Joined: Sat Jan 29, 2005 2:13 am
Posts: 1190
Location: Los Angeles, California
Ron_S wrote:
We call it real but there must be another, higher level reality outside our reality.

The level is irrelevant, you still called it "reality". The experience we re going through was initiated at some level, and that source level has to be real. Or could "nothing" dream up "something"?


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2005 2:10 am 
Offline

Joined: Mon Sep 12, 2005 4:00 am
Posts: 38
Attila Soos wrote:
The level is irrelevant, you still called it "reality". The experience we re going through was initiated at some level, and that source level has to be real. Or could "nothing" dream up "something"?

If you think of levels within a system, yes you are right. I shift to my language now and look what it says about ART.
In Dutch we have 6 different meanings of the word ART, ART-wise, or ART-like.
1. the proces of making creative and innovative products concerning thoughts and feelings
2. the fields within the artist work
3. one or more art works
4. by training and study achieved abilities or craftmanship
5. doing something that most of us consider as difficult
6. something created by men, not by nature
Remarks:
1th: yes, it's all about thoughts and feelings like you said above
4th: we don?t distinguish between art and craft
5th: we use the word to express very high quality or complexity, too
6th: bonsai is created by men ?nd nature. So in this definition it could not be ART


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2007 1:16 pm 
Offline

Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2005 12:41 pm
Posts: 34
Location: Ottawa, KS
Rather than copy and paste or just repeat myself, my reply (http://artofbonsai.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=751) to Will Heath's thread, "When does art become art?" must also pertain to this thread.
Michael, Attila, with all due respect, I think the logical fallacy was not that Michael was trying to objectively quantify a subjective phenomenon. The fallacy is accepting the idea that art is some sort of numenous unreality, a figment of the human mind.
In the fall 2006 issue of "The Objective Standard," Diane Durante (19th-Century French Painting and Philosophy) chronicles the rise of subjectivism in 19th century French thinking and how it affected art. The rise of Kantian philosophy, that reality is subjective and unknowable by man, gave rise to the same type of thinking in art. It's an interesting and scholarly read, and I highly recommend it.
Walter,
Quote:
All this applies first to the 'real' art world.
Art is what an artist makes.
If a non-artist makes exactyl the same thing it is not art. Maybe it becomes art later when the person is accepted as artist.
What is an artist is not decided by the crowds. It is only decided by a rather small in-group, consisitng of gallerists, museum directors, peers, magazine editores, big collectors etc. It does not matter at all what the general crowd thinks. It only mattes what the in-group thinks.
The value of a piece of art is decided by it's placement in museums, galleries, magazines , collections. The value is ulitmately decidd in rela money. Regardless of what is being discuse, the price in rela money decides about the quality.
A copy of an accepted masterpiece is always valued at a fraction of the original. Even if it is almost impossible for an expert to see the difference this is the case. A wonderful painting without a signature is worth only a fraction of exactly the same painting with the signature of a big name. Museums hate experts to discover that this 'wonderful piece of art' that they have hanging is not done by this big name. It meansthat it is almost worthless. But still the same painting!!!Art is subjective. There is not objective art.
All this was mentioned as facts from the 'real' arts people. This is it, whether you like it or not. This all is prove that art is art and not craft.

You quote these decisions from the "real" arts world, but make no conclusion as to whether you support them or not, unless your stating them thus implies tacit approval. I would concede that a copy of an original is worth a fraction of the original. However, that is not because it isn't a great painting, or that art is subjective. It is worth less because it is not an original thought, and the original thought is always of more value than the copy. It's the product of human mind, not human monkey, that has value.
It is my contention that art is not subjective. Art is an objective reality. What we take from art, is, to an extent, subjective, depending on our life experiences.
But art itself exists, and does not require recognition, or placement, or critics to be art.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2007 1:50 pm 
Offline
Editor

Joined: Sat Jan 29, 2005 2:13 am
Posts: 1190
Location: Los Angeles, California
Chris Johnston wrote:
But art itself exists, and does not require recognition, or placement, or critics to be art.

Hi Chris,
This subject is always fascinating to discuss (that's why you can find a whole section in the the bigger libraries, trying to define art). The problem I have with your conclusion that art is objective reality, is that if that's true, how come we cannot quantify it, measure it, or clearly define it?
Using scientific methods is the only way that an objective reality is can be proven. That is, within a controlled environment, we should be able to replicate it over and over again, the same parameters leading to the same result. This is called scientific experiment.
Using oxygen and hydrogen, we can always create water, regardless of how complex it's molecular structure is, and regardless of the fact that we don't understand the atomic structure at the most intimate level.
And yet, with art, this is not possible.
Throughout the centuries, every attempt to define art was destroyed by subsequent events in the art world. Does this mean that we are not technologically developed enough to define art? To me, the logical conclusion is that art has a strong subjective aspect to it, wich makes it impossible to define it objectively. Rather, it is one segment of our society that makes this determination. In other words, it's a social phenomenon, influenced by the culture of a particular society. It is a result of human interaction. A measuring instrument wouldn't register it.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2007 3:49 pm 
Offline

Joined: Mon Aug 08, 2005 8:04 pm
Posts: 244
Location: South San Francisco, CA
Scanning through the above posts, this thought occured to me:
Is it possible to define "art", without first defining "soul"?
I ask this question as one who has had no formal education in art. I have spent some years in music study when young, and have a lifelong appreciation of fine music. This however, is no help to me in gaining a better understanding of the meaning of art.
Mike


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2007 4:28 pm 
Offline
Editor

Joined: Sat Jan 29, 2005 2:13 am
Posts: 1190
Location: Los Angeles, California
Mike Page wrote:
Is it possible to define "art", without first defining "soul"?

"Soul" is a metaphysical term, and can be described according to various religious and philosophical traditions. There is no absolute, or objective definition, since in some schools of thought it is considered non-material (which leads to the realm of supernatural), while others claim that it might be measurable in energy units, if we had the technology.
It is also used figuratively, as the "essence" of something. Which is also highly dependent of what the user considers as essential.
So, if you want to define art using the term soul, then you are just defining one subjective term with another subjective one, making things even more obscure.
Remember that when you utter the word "soul", you have two options: you either use according to a specific tradition (such as Christian, Buddhist, etc) or you are using your own personal version, which only you know what exactly means, and nobody else knows what the heck you are talking about. In that case, you always owe an explanation as to what exactly you mean.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2007 9:11 pm 
Offline

Joined: Mon Aug 08, 2005 8:04 pm
Posts: 244
Location: South San Francisco, CA
Attila Soos wrote:
Mike Page wrote:
Is it possible to define "art", without first defining "soul"?

"Soul" is a metaphysical term, and can be described according to various religious and philosophical traditions. .
It is also used figuratively, as the "essence" of something.

Since I'm not a religious person, I wasn't using the word "soul" in the theological sense. More in the sense that what is within is brought forth by the efforts of the artist, whatever medium is used.
As an example:
Recently I, and my daughter who is my good friend and fellow "Bach head", attended a concert in San Francisco by the AMERICAN BACH SOLOISTS performing 4 early Bach Cantatas.
The performance was extraordinary and exquisite. To use the word in question, it had "soul". We left feeling that we had been present at a most special event.
So for me, this is "soul", and if the artist has it, it will be reflected in his or her work, and if we are able, it will be evident to us as we view it, or hear it, or assimilate it in whatever form it is presented.
Mike


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Forum locked This topic is locked, you cannot edit posts or make further replies.  [ 39 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3  Next

All times are UTC - 5 hours [ DST ]


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Copyright 2006-2008 The Art of Bonsai Project.
All rights reserved.
Original MSSimplicity Theme created by Matt Sims © 2004
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group