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Re: why fine art receives so little respect


From: henry taylor (tortolitascom_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Fri May 03 2002 - 09:02:19 PDT

nice contribution hop.

Did you realize science used to fall under "art" as a subset? Art used to
be a whole lot bigger and more central to the educated life. Da Vinci and
Brunelleschi may have been the last of that era. Increasingly over thae
last century it has been becoming more and more about entertaining, and
sometimes socially significant, intellectual concepts... mostly bubble gum
for the brain. A real shame from my POV.

We are still hanging on to late 17th century philosophical notions about
art's purity and ideas about it's supposed total non-utility. Art some
argue is art because it has no use, no actual function. Talk about
trivializing! "Yeah I'm an artist. I try not to do anything useful."

But we keep on trying to give it a purpose despite that. In the last
century we invented lots of new uses for art: "personal expression" "new
ways of seeing the world" "cutting edge thought" "image as text" "wall
decoration for the reception and board rooms*" "creative outlet" and
paradoxically some still insist on its lack of function.

* (At least in the rennaissance art gave the patron (merchant prince) an
opportunity to show of his learning and erudition in being able to discuss
the works he commissioned after a long day of business negotiations)

But I digress. ;-)

Art and all that comes out of it cognitively and aesthetically is based on
a pair of very simple phenomenae: discrimination of difference and ability
to value that difference in terms of preference (a reason for the
preference is assumed as is reasoning which leads to preference but may
not itself be evident or conscious)

A can may look at a King and an artist has license to look at literally
everything carefully discriminate the perceivable differences and express
and share preferences. The 19th century Scientist and Biologist William
Bateson felt that the arts were superior to the sciences; that the
sciences dealt with issues and questions that only artists could bring to
light. And he was right. It is still difficult to see the fact clearly.
Sometimes a century or more separates the original artists insights and
the consequential development in the sciences.

As an artist I could walk into any department in the university and if I
made a good enough and pertinant enough proposal be allowed access to
their equipment and materials in order to create a body of work. As an art
teacher I can support every other teachers or departments curriculum
without abandoning my art curriculum. Though sometimes it is a challenge
and takes more than a little thought.

As usual I ramble