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Lesson Plans

Re: A world without art

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Courtney (court)
Tue, 02 Jun 1998 23:04:21 +0800

Another argument which you could probably explore would be in terms of a
constructive schoolish definition of art in a pattern that science-inclined
people usually follow. For one, you can not win an argument with people
like your CEO by using the framework of an artist. The key is in a logical
and rational presentation with empirical support (i.e. very practical
examples). As for the empirical side, many of our colleagues in ArtsEd
have given you very concrete examples of influences of art. Bob's
suggestion of contacting Geoff Hammond is very good. Dr. Hammond has
presented excellent discussions on art at INSEA.

You could also consider other books and articles on art. For instance,
Rudolf Arnheim has good ideas on art as a form or as a means of thinking.
Another author you can look up is George Dickie (Art and the Aesthetic: An
Institutional Analysis. Ithaca: Cornell University, 1974) with an incisive
approach to the many definitions of art.

Well, you may consider this definition, based in part on my study of some
definitions of art, though I must admit it's quite shallow. But I hope it
will help. :)

The term art used to plainly refer to any useful skill, i.e. a skill in
making or doing, based on true and adequate reasoning. It was derived from
the Latin word ars (plural, artes) which meant any skill or knowledge that
was needed to produce something. Today it is equated with what are called
the fine arts--namely painting, sculpture, music, architecture, literature,
dance, and related fields.

For something to be considered art it should be artificial--something
produced by a human being. This is in contrast to everything that is
natural--plants, animals, and minerals.

Another trait of art is that it imitates life. This imitation is not
limited to mere duplication. For instance, a real tree is
three-dimensional or solid, but a sketch of the tree on paper, though only
two-dimensional, could still be its realistic representation. Sculpture,
which is three-dimensional, makes a closer approximation of reality, but it
lacks the life of what it depicts.

The artist's aim could be self-expression, and not necessarily imitation
of any feature of the physical world. Such art can be said to express (and
in a way imitate) the inner life, imagination, or emotions of the artist.
The artist may also be trying to distill the essence of what is seen
(determining his reaction to an object, issue, or situation), to produce an
abstraction of its qualities. This art may allude to nothing but pure
abstraction for its own sake.

But there is a 'hedonistic' side to art. It adheres to the belief that
one was meant to enjoy art. Taking it to the extreme, this school of
thought can imply that the visual arts serve no ends other than their own
(i.e. Art for art's sake). The enjoyment of each painting or piece of
sculpture is based solely on the visible forms, colors, lines, and shapes,
which are sufficient to satisfy the aesthetic tastes of the audience.

At 03:11 PM 5/27/98 -0400, you wrote:
>Picture a world without the influence of art:
>There would be no music because music is an art, what about colors? How
about clothes? Those need to be designed, I guess everyone would wear the
same outfit? What about furniture, interiors, portraits? All of those are
artistic. Houses? Would we all live in caves? Architects are needed to
design houses (uh-oh, there's that "d" word!) Ha, ha.
>Can anyone add to this? I am trying to make a point to the CEO of my
company - that art IS important, that it NEEDS to be in the schools.