Field Theory by Hadyn Green

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Field Theory: A post about art (sort of)

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  • Rob Stowell,

    Assuming art is definable: Dickie's institutional theory is quite the worst- apart from all the others :)
    So I'd sign up. But your interpretation of that theory seems a fair way from Dickie's- and even further from those of, eg, Novitz (or Davies- though it doesn't look like he is exactly in the institutional camp).
    Since David Novitz (lovely teacher and sharp thinker, too) was my introduction to the topic- long time ago- it's perhaps unsurprising my understanding of Dickie is skewed his way.
    At any rate: any definition that attempts to draw a clear line between art and craft; between objects with aesthetic qualities produced for utilitarian ends and objects produced purely for aesthetic ends- totally divorced from utility or economic and social life- is not just doomed; it's wrong-headed. As well as failing to describe most of what 'ordinary language' calls art, it's mistaken about the capital A art it posits as the paradigm.
    Because (I'd say) most of such 'fine art' is also useful, and its production is usually deeply entwined in the social and economic.
    The decorative qualities of much of what you'd call craft are often not in any straight-forward way useful- sometimes it would seem quite the contrary. Often the decorative elements would have taken up a great deal more time than the production of un-ornamented objects. They were adorned for what seem fairly clearly aesthetic reasons. We know what I would call the artistic skills of their makers were highly valued. It seems relatively straightforward to call such objects art. (Davies says most of this rather better.)

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 1596 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Litterick,

    The curious thing about Elite Renaissance Sculptors like Michael Weir (to whom Steve linked) is that they always like a bit of smut.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1000 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Litterick,

    At any rate: any definition that attempts to draw a clear line between art and craft; between objects with aesthetic qualities produced for utilitarian ends and objects produced purely for aesthetic ends- totally divorced from utility or economic and social life- is not just doomed; it's wrong-headed.

    But, since we have both signed up to the Institutional Theory (however differently we interpret it) we should look at the practice of the institutions; and there we find that the distinction between art and craft is made. Art galleries exhibit art and crafts are often displayed in specialist museums.

    I am sceptical of the claim that 'ordinary language' has a wider definition of art. I don't know how you could test that claim. When 'ordinary people' see a piece of pottery, do they say in their 'ordinary language' something to the effect of "that is a work of art?" Besides, 'work of art' is often applied loosely as a popular term of approval to things that could hardly be described as art, such as a racehorse.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1000 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    I'd like to quote from some the many works on ta-moko/tattoo that I own (but they're 8 hours drive' away - I'm seperating my collections.)

    Suffice it to briefly reply to you Paul Litterick, that
    a)while moko certainly had *elements* of status and identification
    (the quality of your tattoo would signal both who had done it,
    and whether you came of - for instance, this area or that area (my seniors dont go a long with the extremely-developed idea that D. R. Simmons has presented apropos certain marks indicating oratorical or specialist other knowledge - I can give you the reasons if you wish); or, that era or this (o yes, moko changed over the centuries)

    b) it was primarily done to make a person look beautiful (and therefore, sexually attractive.)

    How ever do you ignore the social component of art?

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Litterick,

    But lots of practices are done to make people look beautiful - hairdressing, fashion design, makeup, 'male grooming' - without our needing to call them art. Granted, moko is more permanent, but then so is cosmetic surgery.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1000 posts Report Reply

  • william blake,

    "Granted, moko is more permanent, but then so is cosmetic surgery."

    just to be picky; ta moko is permanent.

    Cosmetic surgery if done well is invisible, the status of this is in the ideal of eternal youth or some far off notion of perfection. (eeee...)

    Ta moko is on your face and its status comes from whakapapa,knowledge, mana, and in recent times the courage to be overtly Maori.

    Discussion of the definition of moko as art seems to be another redundancy.

    Since Mar 2010 • 106 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    Well done teams.
    At the end of round one we have Paul with the most points and Gio in a comfortable last place, which in postmodernist terms, means Gio is in the lead.
    Paul, your bonus for 10..
    Can Jewellery be considered Art?.

    The wireless north ;-) • Since Dec 2006 • 4947 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    and Gio in a comfortable last place, which in postmodernist terms, means Gio is in the lead.

    Do I tell you often enough that I love you, I wonder?

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7412 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Litterick,

    I am off to dinner with a conceptual artist, so there will be no fighting tonight. Could my forthcoming silence be interpreted as an artistic act? Do I get extra points (thereby falling further behind) for being absent? Would jewelry made by an artist and exhibited in an art gallery be considered art?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1000 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    Do I tell you often enough that I love you, I wonder?

    Sometimes he looks right through me... as if I wasn't there...
    sniff.

    The wireless north ;-) • Since Dec 2006 • 4947 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    I am off to dinner with a conceptual artist,

    I can imagine it...
    "You call that dinner?"

    The wireless north ;-) • Since Dec 2006 • 4947 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    While not disagreeing with you, william blake, moko is found not only on a face...there were eight areas that were moko'd aside from the face: upper arms, hands, legs, thighs, buttocks, upper and lower back, and - yep, those areas-

    O Steve - cant offer you a traditional wooden spoon, but! We can offer leetle forks and knives - rare! But genuine!- for nutritional purposes...

    urm, does your dietary include us?

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    Ornamental as anything...
    I wonder what traction there is for the
    "art is a virus" argument?
    in the way that language is a virus...
    or even that art is a language allowing
    the expression of the ineffable...
    (more Dawkins than Dutton, mind you...)

    I mean, it does get in...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 5169 posts Report Reply

  • chris,

    I have been arguing that 'art' is a term given to particular practices that originated in Europe but are now found world-wide, practices not just of creation but also of display, exchange and collecting.

    Paul is quite right. Although the Chinese developed silk fabric in 3500BC and although In ancient China, writing, as well as painting, was done on silk. and despite the fact that after the invention of paper in the 1st century CE, silk was gradually replaced by the new and cheaper material, none of the works rendered on paper or silk were displayed exchanged or collected, the Chinese Intelligentsia merely wiped their asses with the works between arguments about aesthetics.

    art is a virus tangent:

    艺术 yì​shù ​ = art
    艺 yì = art; talent, ability; craft
    术 shù = art, skill, special feat; method, technique

    工艺 gōng​yì ​= arts and crafts / industrial arts
    工 gōng = labor, work; worker, laborer
    艺 yì = art; talent, ability; craft

    Key is the 'special feature' definition of '术 shù', in that the character is also used denoting unfathomable terms such as,

    法术 fǎ​shù​ = magic
    炼金术 liàn​jīn​shù =​ alchemy
    读心术 dú​xīn​shù​ = mind reading (in psychology or Western magic)
    etc...

    More interestingly though is that in ancient texts the term is represented by the characters "兿 yi"='planting' "埶 shù”='technique/ technology'.

    Some scholars think that this "planting" refers to more than purely agricultural practices,

    "the human spirit is the house planting the seeds of its experience/ value/ growth in technology."- Meaning in a week there will be a change in the form of a leap from the original state to a new state of consciousness. And so the original meaning of "planting" is taken to have developed into this extended meaning.

    中国 • Since Jan 2010 • 901 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    toi=art,knowledge,origin, source
    pukenga = skilled, versed in
    mahi toi = tohutaka, tohuka-takatch (south) = craft

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • merc,

    ... that is quite funny in its self, but it could just be a symptom of something much bigger and nastier.

    Yeah it is, mawhawhahwaaa ;-)

    Since Dec 2006 • 2471 posts Report Reply

  • chris,

    Dentistry.

    中国 • Since Jan 2010 • 901 posts Report Reply

  • chris,

    I can't think of anything more appropriate than a statue of rugby guys to represent the NZ massive to the world. but I'd probably hold out just a little longer, I don't know, perhaps until a work is finished, before weighing in on whether it's Art or not. Taste is a matter of taste.

    中国 • Since Jan 2010 • 901 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    The only truly representative image of ANZ (urrm, "represent the NZ massive"? chris?) is bush or sea...not people, not other animals, and certainly not a silly wee game or its players.

    The bush is ongrowing ever bush: the sea is its ever-rolling self- the animals come & go-

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    massive = people, innit

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16996 posts Report Reply

  • chris,

    Sorry, I guess i should take this discussion more seriously. I've never known a samurai more reluctant to fall on his sword ;)

    中国 • Since Jan 2010 • 901 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    So should I (Iwas putting out provocations to knowledgable people out there) but - it's grown tedious.

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • chris,

    I just wish any of these extra sums they have lying around for sculptures, anthems and what have you, could be employed getting Carl Hayman back.

    中国 • Since Jan 2010 • 901 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    Nah, Billy T James-

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • chris,

    But our small nation doesn't have the scientific resources for such a feat,
    The long term value of the sculpture on the other hand could inspire generations and its success will hinge on whether the cup is won or not.
    and who knows, perhaps the winning of the cup will wrest upon the qualities of the sculpture. Perhaps it's specifically designed to inspire the men in black. Either way, we're going to look pretty dumb, being possibly the only country with a rugby sculpture of that magnitude, if we fail to win the cup in our own country.

    中国 • Since Jan 2010 • 901 posts Report Reply

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