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Lesson Plans

Re: Animals and Art

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
R. Moore (ronmoore)
Wed, 16 Dec 1998 16:12:08 -0800 (PST)

Mary raises some very important points here. I think it is undeniable
that pets do show a good many features of responsiveness that indicate
mental activity akin to humans. But only akin, not the same by a
longshot. And some animals are clearly much more complex in their social
interactions and responses than others. (You might want to look at
Jonathan Bennett's book RATIONALITY, which reflects at length on the
question of what changes would be necessary before we would be willing to
consider bees rational.) I have a cat, and fond of him as I am, I am
convinced he is a very stupid animal, and that his entire repertoire of
linguistic behavior consists of sounds which mean "Hey!".
Now, animals who make "art" are clearly up to something; but they
are not capable of working from the traditions, theories, institutional
experience, etc. that make human art both possible and precious.
And, as I've just written to someone else, the idea that we might
consider all nature as God's art is a lovely idea; but it completely
destroys the division between art and non-art; because everything becomes
Best wishes.
Ron Moore

On Wed, 16 Dec 1998 gregjuli wrote:

> Thank you Ron for bringing up some very valid points. I do think this one is
> intriguing and fun.
> Ron you mentioned that animal art possibly lacks the very quality we enjoy in
> human work, but some might beg to differ. Especially those of us that have or
> had pets. I'm throwing this out for us to ponder. Many people with pets have
> noticed how their animals are very sensitive to their owners feelings/ moods.
> Also sometimes their pets seem to know in advance their needs. There have
> been many stories documented on heroic deeds of animals and those who have
> been lost and made it back home. Were all these instances because of animal
> intinct? Who knows unless someone was an animal in their last life how an
> animal really feels or thinks. Who's to say what an animal thinks ?
> As far as beauty of natural things, some consider them God's works of art.
> Why do we feel the need to expand the category of art? Why not?
> MaryB.
> Happy Holidays to All!
> "R. Moore" wrote:
> What chimps and elephants, cats and ducks do withpaint and clay, etc. can be
> fascinating, lovely, visually impressive,etc., but doesn't it lack the very
> quality we look for in human artwork that makes it so very special as a
> vehicle for exposing the special human way of thinking, seeing, living, and
> responding? There are natural objects, made by neither humans nor any other
> animals, that I find captivatingly beautiful--waterfalls, foggy beaches,
> twilit mountains,desert flowers, etc.--and yet, although I value them very
> highly aesthetically, I am not tempted to call them ART. Why are we inclined
> to expand the category of ART to include non-human creations? What is it that
> tempts us to be expansive in that direction?
> >
> >
> > Ron Moore
> >