From the Oxford Illustrated History of Greece and the Classical World, p298: "It was for much later writers to dwell on the spiritual aspects of Phidias' Zeus at Olympia. In its day his Athena Parthenos seemed to have excited more concern over the accounting for her materials, and Pericles could point out to the Athenians that her gold was removable and could help pay for the war."
From Boardman's contribution to the Oxford History of Greece and the Classical World, pp358-59: "Indeed, no distinction was drawn in antiquity in favour of those whom we designate artists - it was all craft (techne). Only with Phidias, and then increasingly with his successors, did any special social status appear to have been accorded to successful artists, although they had been housed at the courts of the archaic tyrants, like musicians, entertainers and doctors."
But even supposing you're right, it still doesn't answer my question about the fame of Phidias and Praxiteles, and how their art could mean so much to their contemporaries, seeing as they couldn't possibly regard them as anything other than artisans.
If you have read Boardman, then you'll know the answer.
Rob, I think a big part of the big Weta sculpture problem is that 'average speakers of the language' are prone to unquestioningly call things art. Mayor Prendergast (who has high stakes in this game) is trying to force this monstrosity upon us on the grounds that it is art. Excuse my cultural cringe, but I dread to think what the rest of the artistic world will think of us, in handing over public space to a reactionary sculpture made by a digital FX company. Mayor Prendergast is no Joe Stalin, but there is more than a whiff of demagoguery about all this.
Perhaps we should be asking more questions about what constitutes art. Our visual environment would be the winner on the day. My institutional argument may seem counter-intuitive, but intuitions about art often ignore the realities of artistic production. Those cave paintings, for example: we know nothing about their original purpose but they have been appropriated as art, perhaps because they were discovered at a time (the late 19th Century) when impressionistic trends were dominant in art and when ideas about the Primitive abounded.
I think a similar criticism might be levelled against Davies: he asks us to accept practices and objects as art on the grounds of their apparently manifesting aesthetic attitudes which are like those of what we call art, ignoring the doubts of the anthropologists. He could be right, but equally he could be wrong.
Giovanni, I did not ignore your arguments; I refused to be browbeaten by you. It seems you think an argument is going nowhere when you are not winning it. I quoted Boardman directly, so I can hardly be accused of an arbitrary interpretation of him. I have also quoted Shiner and other authorities.
Sacha, is that comment a tacit Godwin? In what way is my argument colonialist? I am arguing for plurality - for avoiding giving the name "art" to practices which were not carried out with artistic purposes in mind. Writers on Polynesian material culture, to take one example, are adamant that the objects made were not intended as art in the way we understand that term. It is also noticeable that contemporary Polynesians have adopted practices of the art world - making pictures, for example - that were unknown before contact.
Merc, a good idea. One objection to the Weta proposal is that it looks rather too much like Fascist or Stalinist memorial sculpture. The design is clearly oblivious of contemporary public sculpture. However, it is not dissimilar to the styles of many sporting trophies, but these are mercifully smaller and usually confined to glass cabinets in club rooms.
Giovanni, I have been careful to argue my position with cited authorities; I am not just making this up.
Sacha, I am quite alarmed by your animosity towards me. Your counter to my argument seems to be that I am English, and therefore a colonialist. If you have any doubts as to my education and intelligence, please make them clear.
Sorry I couldn't get back to you sooner, Sacha, but I was overseeing the coolies building my gesamtkunstwerk. As a Post Modernist I am sure you will understand when I ask you to stick it up your lebenswelt.
The refrigerator man understands what will chill.
There's a good case to be made that Dickie's definition is too open.But it definitely does not annoint special "High Priests of the Aesthetic" as the sole arbiters of what becomes a "candidate for appreciation".
Perhaps I was out of the room at the time, but I missed the part where someone said it was so. In any case, it is not all about Dickie. My definition of the art world is more defined by Danto. Dickie's open group I find a bit vague, since nobody really considers themselves part of the artworld: they just practice artworld activities.
Giovanni, did you read what you posted? Perhaps if you spent a little less time abusing me for my position and a little more time reading before prating, we might get somewhere. And please, do not insult me by quoting Gombrich's Story of Art at me; I am a professional in this business.
Your last slice of copypasta alla Gombrich does more for my view than yours. Your point - which amounts to the claim that "art" is but one meaning of the word "art" - is meaningless, since it is the one meaning we are discussing. There may well be an art of war, but it does not concern us here.
We are talking about art, not the Art of Noise. But you claim this use of the word art is merely of "some use for art dealers, art historians and museum curators, " which is a bit like saying the word "car" is of some use to mechanics, traffic engineers and motoring journalists. The conventional use of the word "art" most certainly is not universal - you are living proof of that - but it is one that is most commonly held by the very people who have the most mana in this matter.
Further, I am not describing the introduction of market relations to Polynesian cultures. I am describing the introduction of "art". All this talk of things being meaningful is no more than noble savagery.
If this is what you mean by interwhatever subjectivity, I am not buying it. It looks to me that you are ascribing a set of modern Western values to people not of the West and not of the modern age, then accusing me of being the cultural imperialist.