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Wooowee, you are very verbose and you do it so well!!! We Mainers are
sterotyped as a taciturn bunch and I guess there is a germ of truth in
Re: Defs for aesthetics. Phiosophy by it's very existence trys for
generalizations. I find it difficult to make any kind of definitive
declaration these days ... HOWEVER ... as educators we have a
responsibility to our students to do more then throw our hands in the
air and tell them " Who knows what are is?" We need to present the
possibilities. They make the choice. One of the old sages once said "
If art can be anything at all - then art is nothing at all". What say
On Fri, 30 Aug 1996, henry wrote:
> On Fri, 30 Aug 1996, Barbara Bridges wrote:
> > I suggested that the answer to the question , "What is Art"
> > is so contextually based as to be virtually undefinable beyond the context
> > of the culture defining it. So... why not have each class define art at
> > the beginning of the year and refine the def as the year progresses?
> OK. I'm on track now.
> Yes, I'd agree that any definition of art does come out of a local context
> and culture. Textbooks can propose ANY general definition and support that
> definition via a reference to another book, but the definition will be
> ultimately filtered through assumptions specific to a local context.
> Beginning the year by developing a definition for art is a good idea I
> think. It might also be useful to distinguish personal definitions and
> collective definitions arrived at by consensus. A personal def CAN be
> much more specific than one requiring cooperation of a group. I think its
> useful to note the difference if possible. In addition, having (allowing
> or encouraging actually) both personal and group definitions introduces
> the possibilities of pluralistic thinking and learning toleration of
> variant criteria or definitions.
> In many specific ways Bobbi-lee and Yuan do not see art in the same way.
> In terms of the class they can find (perhaps minimal) points of agreement.
> IN ART it is not required that we find agreement. Art offers any number of
> opportunities to diverge from expectations to put a personal elaboration
> on things. This means that no one is ever going to create the perfect work
> of art that everyone will love for ever and ever. We will always find
> pieces we like and pieces we don't like and very likely we will not agree
> to some degree with the person standing next to us.
> Philosophically, I love the notion that art has some purpose and function
> relative to culture. Practically I find it difficult to understand HOW to
> do this on a regular basis. (I even wonder if I'd want to) Because of this
> I find that much of the work I create is simply an exercise of some aspect
> of Formalism. Philosophically I have no use for Formalism, practically
> speaking I do.
> According to how I understand Art to be, Ivan's ideas make no sense, at
> all, to me. When I look at Ivan's art, I can't really see it the way Ivan
> does and, you know? There is a lot about Ivan's art that I like. Just
> because our ideas about things are different doesn't mean that Ivan and I
> can't find things we value in our relationship.
> Likewise, Martin and I seem to agree about everything. It's odd then that
> a lot of Martins work doesn't really appeal to me nor much of mine to
> him. We still agree about the ideas we value even if we express them so
> differently. It doesn't matter to me so much that Martin isn't crazy
> about everything I do as much as his friendship and the ideas that we share.
> People are different and the experience of art is different for each of us
> too. It is NOT that "everything" is art and nothing is "bad." What it is,
> is that each of us has found reasons for experiencing something as art and
> criteria for evaluating it. It is interesting and sometimes fun to argue
> about our definitions. When we do argue, we learn more about our own
> criteria. THAT's the value of the discussion, and NOT winning the
> Of course this remains a personal view of art and alternatives exist,
> quite validly. It would be hard for any of us to teach in "just" the way
> of another one of the group.