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 Post subject: beauty and art
PostPosted: Wed Oct 26, 2005 4:29 pm 
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Joined: Fri Aug 27, 2004 2:26 pm
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Location: cyberspace. Berlin
Of course there is a connection between beauty and art, or at least there can be. But there need not be any connection. That is to say, the connection is not a necessary one. So art can be beautiful, or better said there can be works which are works-of-art in virtue of their being beautiful. But there can also be ugly artworks for example a work of art like Picasso's "Weeping Woman". The artistic status of this famous painting depends largely on its hideousness. Picasso portrayed his subject so grotesquely that an otherwise commonplace portraight is elevated to the highest art.
>Having established that there is at least a contingent connection between beauty and art one might go on to ask the more insightful question; what is the nature of the connection between beauty and art? Wherein lies the connection? We have seen that there is no necessary connection between the two. Just as there can be art which is not beautiful, so too can there be beautiful things which is not art. We might perceive much of the natural world as beautiful but it is not in-itself art. As musician John Cage was correct to point out, anything can become art. But it only becomes Art when one puts a frame around it and calls it art. (He demonstrated this point with his sound-art performance which consisted solely of him gargling). A view from a mountain can be beautiful but it is not on its own art. It only becomes art if somebody perceives it "as art". This could happen most easily if someone is to take a photo or make a painting of the landscape. Only when the artist presents the thing as art and it is perceived as art does it become Art. One might conclude from this that, as art is dependant on at least one person and perhaps two (artist and independant observer), that art is a subjective concept.
>Just as there is good reason to believe there can be no art without observer, the same can probably be said of beauty. Nothing is beautiful in-itself. Rather beauty is also subjective - dependant entirely on the perpective of the viewer. Like all cliches, the saying "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" is based on a grain of truth. What one person finds beautiful another might see as vulgour. Clearly a kind of relativity applies to both beauty and art. Neither are objective qualities inherent in objects or works. Both art and beauty are dependant on the perspective of a subjective viewer.
>
>In conclusion, I would say that there is indeed a relationship between beauty and art. However, this connection is neither necessary or objective. By this I mean that there is a relationship between the two, but there need not be: there can be non-beautiful art and non-artistic beauty. Furthermore, things are not beautiful of art-works in-themselves but depend on being perceived as such. So it is clear that the question Is there any connection between beauty and art? says more about human nature than aesthetics itself. One might well ask what does it tell us about human nature that we are capable of reading the qualities of beauty and art into creative works and the natural world?


My basic idea about it is that beauty and art are closely linked with truth. There is an inner truth in beauty and artists, to my mind, are trying to connect truth to their art with beauty, i.e. when you can contemplate something for his own sake without hidden purpose....

i would probably try and refute that by saying that art is an essentially social activity. that why i write that it depends on two people: the artist and the viewer. me playing music to myself alone in my room does not constitute art. only if the people in the gallery 2morrow night perceive what i do as art does it become art...wouldn't you agree
i like to apply the big philosophical cliche to art: if a painting is beautiful (artful to make up a new word) in an empty room is it still art (beautiful?) probably not i woul have to concede.

DO NOT FORGET. art is essentially a form of communication. i hope you must agree with that. (and in many ways a more powerful/effecive mode of communication than language...!)

So my question is why art cannot be an objective concept?

think of it this way : There is no "natural art". cats and dogs and pigs and sheep don't make art. art is an "art"-ificial / man-made and modern concept / activity.
This is a form of whats called "anthropocentrism" which means that the human species is in some way the most significant thing in the universe (or kants idea that we cannot get beyond our own perspective, we always see the world through rose-tinted specs - there is no non-human philosophy...)

Is there any objective definition of art linked with beauty? Do you think that truth can be objective in that case?

be carefull with Truth. most likely it is also a relative concept (most studies of it are logical and boring). for good ideas about the relationship between art and truth read Heidegger especially "what is a work of art?" he had the thought that through the activity of art we have direct access to the fundamental truth (about Being).

But you make a point in saying that the connection is not always necessary though and I think I'll try to write more about it.

Do you have any other exemples of non-beautiful artworks?

Yeh, here's one we're both fans of: Street art! to most people (or at least most grown-ups / the establishment ) street art is a terrible blemish on the urban landscape. but to us and the in-the-know youth of the bboy generation, it is the most inventive and cutting edge modern creative art form...

n.b. you should or should not use this example depending on how conservative your tuto is but i'm sure you can think of other examples...

[ an·thro·po·cen·tric
1. Regarding humans as the central element of the universe.
2. Interpreting reality exclusively in terms of human values and experience.]


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