Theory of art

At the broadest level, a theory of art aims to shed light on some aspect of the project of defining art or to theorize about the structure of our concept of ‘art’ without providing classical definitions, namely traditional functions. If the work of "art" has a materialistic intent it is a "tool" whether a tool intellectually, physically, spiritually or mentally.... And thus not "Genuine True Art" which has no purpose but to be itself". (Authentic edits welcome).

Aesthetic response

Aesthetic response or functional theories of art are in many ways the most intuitive theories of art. At its base, the term "aesthetic" refers to a type of phenomenal experience and aesthetic definitions identify artworks with artifacts intended to produce aesthetic experiences. Nature can be beautiful and it can produce aesthetic experiences, but nature does not possess the function of producing those experiences. For such a function, an intention is necessary, and thus agency – the artist.

Monroe Beardsley is commonly associated with aesthetic definitions of art. In Beardsley’s words, something is art just in case it is “either an arrangement of conditions intended to be capable of affording an experience with marked aesthetic character or (incidentally) an arrangement belonging to a class or type of arrangements that is typically intended to have this capacity” (The aesthetic point of view: selected essays, 1982, 299). Painters arrange “conditions” in the paint/canvas medium, and dancers arrange the “conditions” of their bodily medium, for example. According to Beardsley’s first disjunct, art has an intended aesthetic function, but not all artworks succeed in producing aesthetic experiences. The second disjunct allows for artworks that were intended to have this capacity, but failed at it (bad art).

Marcel Duchamp's Fountain is the paradigmatic counterexample to aesthetic definitions of art. Such works are said to be counterexamples because they are artworks that don't possess an intended aesthetic function. Beardsley replies that either such works are not art or they are “comments on art” (1983): “To classify them [Fountain and the like] as artworks just because they make comments on art would be to classify a lot of dull and sometimes unintelligible magazine articles and newspaper reviews as artworks” (p.25). This response has been widely considered inadequate (REF). It is either question-begging or it relies on an arbitrary distinction between artworks and commentaries on artworks. A great many art theorists today consider aesthetic definitions of art to be extensionally inadequate, primarily because of artworks in the style of DuchampTemplate:Monroe C Beardsley, “An Aesthetic Definition of Art,” in Hugh Curtler (ed), What Is Art? (New York: Haven Publications, 1983), pp. 15-29.

Formalism

The formalist theory of art asserts that we should focus only on the formal properties of art--the "form" not the "content". Those formal properties might include, for the visual arts, color, shape, and line, and, for the musical arts, rhythm and harmony. Formalists do not deny that works of art might have content, representation, or narrative-rather, they deny that those things are relevant in our appreciation or understanding of art.

Institutional

The institutional theory of art is a theory about the nature of art that holds that an object can only be(come) art in the context of the institution known as "the artworld".

Addressing the issue of what makes, for example, Marcel Duchamp's "readymades" art, or why a pile of Brillo cartons in a supermarket is not art, whereas Andy Warhol's famous Brillo Boxes (a pile of Brillo carton replicas) is, the art critic and philosopher Arthur Danto wrote in his 1964 essay "The Artworld":

To see something as art requires something the eye cannot descry—an atmosphere of artistic theory, a knowledge of the history of art: an artworld.[1]

According to Robert J. Yanal, Danto's essay, in which he coined the term artworld, outlined the first institutional theory of art.

Versions of the institutional theory were formulated more explicitly by George Dickie in his article "Defining Art" (American Philosophical Quarterly, 1969) and his books Aesthetics: An Introduction (1971) and Art and the Aesthetic: An Institutional Analysis (1974). An early version of Dickie's institutional theory can be summed up in the following definition of work of art from Aesthetics: An Introduction:

A work of art in the classificatory sense is 1) an artifact 2) on which some person or persons acting on behalf of a certain social institution (the artworld) has conferred the status of candidate for appreciation.[2]

Dickie has reformulated his theory in several books and articles. Other philosophers of art have criticized his definitions as being circular.[3]

Historical

Historical theories of art hold that for something to be art, it must bear some relation to existing works of art. The correct extension of ‘art’ at time t (the present) includes all the works at time t-1 and additionally any works created in the elapsed time. For these additional works to be art, they must be similar or relate to those previously established artworks. Such a definition begs the question of where this inherited status originated. That is why historical definitions of art must also include a disjunct for first art: something is art if it possesses a historical relation to previous artworks, or is first art.

The philosopher primarily associated with the historical definition of art is Jerrold Levinson (1979). For Levinson, "a work of art is a thing intended for regard-as-a-work-of-art: regard in any of the ways works of art existing prior to it have been correctly regarded" (1979, p. 234). Levinson further clarifies that by "intends for" he means: “[M]akes, appropriates or conceives for the purpose of'" (1979, p. 236). Some of these manners for regard (at around the present time) are: to be regarded with full attention, to be regarded contemplatively, to be regarded with special notice to appearance, to be regarded with "emotional openness" (1979, p. 237). If an object isn't intended for regard in any of the established ways, then it isn't art.

Anti-essentialist

Some art theorists have proposed that the attempt to define art must be abandoned and have instead urged an anti-essentialist theory of art. In ‘The Role of Theory in Aesthetics’ (1956), Morris Weitz famously argues that individually necessary and jointly sufficient conditions will never be forthcoming for the concept ‘art’ because it is an “open concept”. Weitz describes open concepts as those whose “conditions of application are emendable and corrigible” (1956, p. 31). In the case of borderline cases of art and prima facie counterexamples, open concepts “call for some sort of decision on our part to extend the use of the concept to cover this, or to close the concept and invent a new one to deal with the new case and its new property” (p. 31 ital. in original). The question of whether a new artifact is art or not, “is not factual, but rather a decision problem, where the verdict turns on whether or not we enlarge our set of conditions for applying the concept” (p. 32). For Weitz, it is “the very expansive, adventurous character of art, its ever-present changes and novel creations,” which makes the concept impossible to capture in a classical definition (as some static univocal essence).

While anti-essentialism was never formally defeated, it was challenged and the debate over anti-essentialist theories was subsequently swept away by seemingly better essentialist definitions. Commenting after Weitz, Berys Gaut revived anti-essentialism in the philosophy of art with his paper ‘“Art” as a Cluster Concept’ (2000). Cluster concepts are composed of criteria that contribute to art status but are not individually necessary for art status. There is one exception: Artworks are created by agents, and so being an artifact is a necessary property for being an artwork. Gaut (2005) offers a set of ten criteria that contribute to art status:

(i) possessing positive aesthetic qualities (I employ the notion of positive aesthetic qualities here in a narrow sense, comprising beauty and its subspecies);
(ii) being expressive of emotion;
(iii) being intellectually challenging;
(iv) being formally complex and coherent;
(v) having a capacity to convey complex meanings;
(vi) exhibiting an individual point of view;
(vii) being an exercise of creative imagination;
(viii) being an artifact or performance that is the product of a high degree of skill;
(ix) belonging to an established artistic form; and
(x) being the product of an intention to make a work of art. (274)

Satisfying all ten criteria would be sufficient for art, as might any subset formed by nine criteria (this is a consequence of the fact that none of the ten properties is necessary). For example, consider two of Gaut’s criteria: “possessing aesthetic merit” and “being expressive of emotion” (200, p. 28). Neither of these criteria is necessary for art status, but both are parts of subsets of these ten criteria that are sufficient for art status. Gaut’s definition also allows for many subsets with less than nine criteria to be sufficient for art status, which leads to a highly pluralistic theory of art.

The theory of art is also impacted by a philosophical turn in thinking, not only exemplified by the aesthetics of Kant but is tied more closely to ontology and metaphysics in terms of the reflections of Heidegger on the essence of modern technology and the implications it has on all beings that are reduced to what he calls 'standing reserve', and it is from this perspective on the question of being that he explored art beyond the history, theory, and criticism of artistic production as embodied for instance in his influential opus: The Origin of the Work of Art [4]. This has had also an impact on architectural thinking in its philosophical roots.[5]

Aesthetic creation

Zangwill[6] describes the aesthetic creation theory of art as a theory of “how art comes to be produced” (p. 167) and an “artist-based” theory. Zangwill distinguishes three phases in the production of a work of art:

[F]irst, there is the insight that by creating certain nonaesthetic properties, certain aesthetic properties will be realized; second, there is the intention to realize the aesthetic properties in the nonaesthetic properties, as envisaged in the insight; and, third, there is the more or less successful action of realizing the aesthetic properties in the nonaesthetic properties, an envisaged in the insight and intention. (45)

In the creation of an artwork, the insight plays a causal role in bringing about actions sufficient for realizing particular aesthetic properties. Zangwill does not describe this relation in detail, but only says it is “because of” this insight that the aesthetic properties are created.

Aesthetic properties are instantiated by nonaesthetic properties that “include physical properties, such as shape and size, and secondary qualities, such as colours or sounds.”(37) Zangwill says that aesthetic properties supervene on the nonaesthetic properties: it is because of the particular nonaesthetic properties it has that the work possesses certain aesthetic properties (and not the other way around).

What is "art"?

Siproeta epaphus Galawebdesign
Harmony of colours

How best to define the term "art" is a subject of constant contention; many books and journal articles have been published arguing over even the basics of what we mean by the term "art".[7] Theodor Adorno claimed in his Aesthetic Theory 1969 "It is self-evident that nothing concerning art is self-evident."[8] Artists, philosophers, anthropologists, psychologists and programmers all use the notion of art in their respective fields, and give it operational definitions that vary considerably. Furthermore, it is clear that even the basic meaning of the term "art" has changed several times over the centuries, and has continued to evolve during the 20th century as well.

The main recent sense of the word "art" is roughly as an abbreviation for creative art or "fine art." Here we mean that skill is being used to express the artist's creativity, or to engage the audience's aesthetic sensibilities, or to draw the audience towards consideration of the "finer" things. Often, if the skill is being used in a functional object, people will consider it a craft instead of art, a suggestion which is highly disputed by many Contemporary Craft thinkers. Likewise, if the skill is being used in a commercial or industrial way it may be considered design instead of art, or contrariwise these may be defended as art forms, perhaps called applied art. Some thinkers, for instance, have argued that the difference between fine art and applied art has more to do with the actual function of the object than any clear definitional difference.[9] Art usually implies no function other than to convey or communicate an idea.

Even as late as 1912 it was normal in the West to assume that all art aims at beauty, and thus that anything that was not trying to be beautiful could not count as art. The cubists, dadaists, Stravinsky, and many later art movements struggled against this conception that beauty was central to the definition of art, with such success that, according to Danto, "Beauty had disappeared not only from the advanced art of the 1960's but from the advanced philosophy of art of that decade as well."[8] Perhaps some notion like "expression" (in Croce's theories) or "counter-environment" (in McLuhan's theory) can replace the previous role of beauty. Brian Massumi brought back "beauty" into consideration together with "expression".[10] Another view, as important to the philosophy of art as "beauty," is that of the "sublime," elaborated upon in the twentieth century by the postmodern philosopher Jean-François Lyotard. A further approach, elaborated by André Malraux in works such as The Voices of Silence, is that art is fundamentally a response to a metaphysical question ('Art', he writes, 'is an 'anti-destiny'). Malraux argues that, while art has sometimes been oriented towards beauty and the sublime (principally in post-Renaissance European art) these qualities, as the wider history of art demonstrates, are by no means essential to it.[11]

Perhaps (as in Kennick's theory) no definition of art is possible anymore. Perhaps art should be thought of as a cluster of related concepts in a Wittgensteinian fashion (as in Weitz or Beuys). Another approach is to say that "art" is basically a sociological category, that whatever art schools and museums and artists define as art is considered art regardless of formal definitions. This "institutional definition of art" (see also Institutional Critique) has been championed by George Dickie. Most people did not consider the depiction of a store-bought urinal or Brillo Box to be art until Marcel Duchamp and Andy Warhol (respectively) placed them in the context of art (i.e., the art gallery), which then provided the association of these objects with the associations that define art.

Proceduralists often suggest that it is the process by which a work of art is created or viewed that makes it art, not any inherent feature of an object, or how well received it is by the institutions of the art world after its introduction to society at large. If a poet writes down several lines, intending them as a poem, the very procedure by which it is written makes it a poem. Whereas if a journalist writes exactly the same set of words, intending them as shorthand notes to help him write a longer article later, these would not be a poem. Leo Tolstoy, on the other hand, claims in his What is art? (1897) that what decides whether or not something is art is how it is experienced by its audience, not by the intention of its creator. Functionalists like Monroe Beardsley argue that whether or not a piece counts as art depends on what function it plays in a particular context; the same Greek vase may play a non-artistic function in one context (carrying wine), and an artistic function in another context (helping us to appreciate the beauty of the human figure). '

Marxist attempts to define art focus on its place in the mode of production, such as in Walter Benjamin's essay The Author as Producer,[12] and/or its political role in class struggle.[13] Revising some concepts of the Marxist philosopher Louis Althusser, Gary Tedman defines art in terms of social reproduction of the relations of production on the aesthetic level.[14]

What should art be like?

Many goals have been argued for art, and aestheticians often argue that some goal or another is superior in some way. Clement Greenberg, for instance, argued in 1960 that each artistic medium should seek that which makes it unique among the possible mediums and then purify itself of anything other than expression of its own uniqueness as a form.[15] The Dadaist Tristan Tzara on the other hand saw the function of art in 1918 as the destruction of a mad social order. "We must sweep and clean. Affirm the cleanliness of the individual after the state of madness, aggressive complete madness of a world abandoned to the hands of bandits."[16] Formal goals, creative goals, self-expression, political goals, spiritual goals, philosophical goals, and even more perceptual or aesthetic goals have all been popular pictures of what art should be like.

The value of art

Tolstoy defined art as the following: "Art is a human activity consisting in this, that one man consciously, by means of certain external signs, hands on to others feelings he has lived through, and that other people are infected by these feelings and also experience them." However, this definition is merely a starting point for his theory of art's value. To some extent, the value of art, for Tolstoy, is one with the value of empathy. However, sometimes empathy is not of value. In chapter fifteen of What Is Art?, Tolstoy says that some feelings are good, but others are bad, and so art is only valuable when it generates empathy or shared feeling for good feelings. For example, Tolstoy asserts that empathy for decadent members of the ruling class makes society worse, rather than better. In chapter sixteen, he asserts that the best art is "universal art" that expresses simple and accessible positive feeling.[17]

An argument for the value of art, used in the fictional work The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, proceeds that, if some external force presenting imminent destruction of Earth asked humanity what its value was—what should humanity's response be? The argument continues that the only justification humanity could give for its continued existence would be the past creation and continued creation of things like a Shakespeare play, a Rembrandt painting or a Bach concerto. The suggestion is that these are the things of value which define humanity.[18] Whatever one might think of this claim — and it does seem to undervalue the many other achievements of which human beings have shown themselves capable, both individually and collectively — it is true that art appears to possess a special capacity to endure ("live on") beyond the moment of its birth, in many cases for centuries or millennia. This capacity of art to endure over time — what precisely it is and how it operates — has been widely neglected in modern aesthetics.[19]

References

  1. ^ Danto, Arthur (October 1964). "The Artworld". Journal of Philosophy. 61 (19): 571–584. doi:10.2307/2022937.
  2. ^ Dickie, George (1971). Aesthetics, An Introduction. Pegasus. p. 101. ISBN 978-0-672-63500-7.
  3. ^ For example, Carroll, Noël (1994). "Identifying Art". In Robert J. Yanal (ed.). Institutions of Art: Reconsiderations of George Dickie's Philosophy. Pennsylvania State University Press. p. 12. ISBN 978-0-271-01078-6.
  4. ^ Christian Norberg-Schulz, Genius Loci, Towards a Phenomenology of Architecture (New York: Rizzoli, 1980)
  5. ^ Nader El-Bizri, 'On Dwelling: Heideggerian Allusions to Architectural Phenomenology', Studia UBB. Philosophia, Vol. 60, No. 1 (2015): 5-30
  6. ^ Nick Zangwill, Aesthetic Creation, OUP 2007.
  7. ^ Stephen Davies, Definitions of Art, Cornell University Press, 1991.
  8. ^ a b Arthur Danto, The Abuse of Beauty, Open Court Publishing, 2003, p. 17.
  9. ^ David Novitz, The Boundaries of Art, Temple University Press, 1992.
  10. ^ Brian Massumi, "Deleuze, Guattari and the Philosophy of Expression," CRCL, 24:3, 1997.
  11. ^ Derek Allan. Art and the Human Adventure. André Malraux's Theory of Art. (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2009)
  12. ^ Benjamin, Walter, Understanding Brecht, trans. Anna Bostock, Verso Books, 2003, ISBN 978-1-85984-418-2.
  13. ^ Hadjinicolaou, Nicos, Art History and Class Struggle, Pluto Press; 1978. ISBN 978-0-904383-27-0
  14. ^ Tedman, Gary, Aesthetics & Alienation, Zero Books; 2012.
  15. ^ Clement Greenberg, "On Modernist Painting".
  16. ^ Tristan Tzara, "Sept Manifestes Dada."
  17. ^ Theodore Gracyk, "Outline of Tolstoy's What Is Art?", course web page.
  18. ^ Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
  19. ^ Derek Allan, Art and Time Archived 18 March 2013 at the Wayback Machine Cambridge Scholars, 2013.
A. R. D. Fairburn

Arthur Rex Dugard "Rex" Fairburn (2 February 1904 – 25 March 1957) was a New Zealand poet who was born and died in Auckland.

He attended Auckland Grammar School, where he first met R. A. K. Mason, and worked at various jobs, including relief work on the roads. Later he tutored in English and lectured on the history and theory of Art at Elam School of Art, Auckland University College. His poetry was initially influenced by the (then unfashionable) Georgian poets.

A Night in Tunisia (1957 album)

A Night in Tunisia is a 1957 jazz album by Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers, released by the RCA Victor subsidiary label Vik. It features the only recorded instances of saxophonists Jackie McLean and Johnny Griffin playing together.The album's original five tracks were augmented by up to three alternative takes on CD reissues. The album was also reissued under the title Theory of Art, with two nonet tracks – "A Night at Tony's" and "Social Call" – added.

Aesthetics

Aesthetics () is a branch of philosophy that deals with the nature of art, beauty and taste and with the creation or appreciation of beauty.In its more technical epistemological perspective, it is defined as the study of subjective and sensori-emotional values, or sometimes called judgments of sentiment and taste. Aesthetics studies how artists imagine, create and perform works of art; how people use, enjoy, and criticize art; and what happens in their minds when they look at paintings, listen to music, or read poetry, and understand what they see and hear. It also studies how they feel about art—why they like some works and not others, and how art can affect their moods, beliefs, and attitude toward life. The phrase was coined in English in the 18th century.

More broadly, scholars in the field define aesthetics as "critical reflection on art, culture and nature". In modern English, the term aesthetic can also refer to a set of principles underlying the works of a particular art movement or theory: one speaks, for example, of the Cubist aesthetic.

Alva Noë

Alva Noë (born 1964) is Professor of Philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley. The focus of his work is the theory of perception and consciousness. In addition to these problems in cognitive science and the philosophy of mind, he is interested in phenomenology, the theory of art, Wittgenstein, and the origins of analytic philosophy.

André Malraux

Georges André Malraux DSO (French: [ɑ̃dʁe malʁo]; 3 November 1901 – 23 November 1976) was a French novelist, art theorist and Minister of Cultural Affairs. Malraux's novel La Condition Humaine (Man's Fate) (1933) won the Prix Goncourt. He was appointed by President Charles de Gaulle as Minister of Information (1945–46) and subsequently as France's first Minister of Cultural Affairs during de Gaulle's presidency (1959–69).

Artistic inspiration

Inspiration (from the Latin inspirare, meaning "to breathe into") is an unconscious burst of creativity in a literary, musical, or other artistic endeavour. The concept has origins in both Hellenism and Hebraism. The Greeks believed that inspiration or "enthusiasm" came from the muses, as well as the gods Apollo and Dionysus. Similarly, in the Ancient Norse religions, inspiration derives from the gods, such as Odin. Inspiration is also a divine matter in Hebrew poetics. In the Book of Amos the prophet speaks of being overwhelmed by God's voice and compelled to speak. In Christianity, inspiration is a gift of the Holy Spirit.

In the 18th century philosopher John Locke proposed a model of the human mind in which ideas associate or resonate with one another in the mind. In the 19th century, Romantic poets such as Coleridge and Shelley believed that inspiration came to a poet because the poet was attuned to the (divine or mystical) "winds" and because the soul of the poet was able to receive such visions. In the early 20th century, Psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud believed himself to have located inspiration in the inner psyche of the artist. Psychiatrist Carl Gustav Jung's theory of inspiration suggests that an artist is one who was attuned to racial memory, which encoded the archetypes of the human mind.

The Marxist theory of art sees it as the expression of the friction between economic base and economic superstructural positions, or as an unaware dialog of competing ideologies, or as an exploitation of a "fissure" in the ruling class's ideology. In modern psychology inspiration is not frequently studied, but it is generally seen as an entirely internal process.

Artistic merit

Artistic merit is the perceived artistic quality or value of any given work of art, music, film, literature, sculpture or painting. The term can be applied to a classic or masterpiece which has stood the test of time and is part of the Western canon.

Charles Townsend Harrison

Charles Townsend Harrison (11 February 1942 – 6 August 2009), BA Hons (Cantab), MA (Cantab), PhD (London)

was a prominent UK art historian who taught Art History for many years and was Emeritus Professor of History and Theory of Art at the Open University.

He was tutor in Art History, Open University, 1977–2005, Reader in Art History 1985-1994, Professor of the History & Theory of Art, 1994–2008, Professor Emeritus, 2008–2009; Visiting Professor, University of Chicago 1991 and 1996, Visiting Professor, University of Texas, 1997.

In addition to being an academic and art critic he was also a curator and a member of the Art & Language Group and edited their journal Art-Language.

Ideasthesia

Ideasthesia (alternative spelling ideaesthesia) is defined as a phenomenon in which activations of concepts (inducers) evoke perception-like experiences (concurrents). The name comes from the Ancient Greek ἰδέα (idéa) and αἴσθησις (aísthēsis), meaning "sensing concepts" or "sensing ideas". The main reason for introducing the notion of ideasthesia was the problems with synesthesia. While "synesthesia" means "union of senses", empirical evidence indicated that this was an incorrect explanation of a set of phenomena traditionally covered by this heading. Syn-aesthesis denoting also "co-perceiving", implies the association of two sensory elements with little connection to the cognitive level. However, according to others, most phenomena that have inadvertently been linked to synesthesia in fact are induced by the semantic representations. That is, the meaning of the stimulus is what is important rather than its sensory properties, as would be implied by the term synesthesia. In other words, while synesthesia presumes that both the trigger (inducer) and the resulting experience (concurrent) are of sensory nature, ideasthesia presumes that only the resulting experience is of sensory nature while the trigger is semantic. Meanwhile, the concept of ideasthesia developed into a theory of how we perceive and the research has extended to topics other than synesthesia — as the concept of ideasthesia turned out applicable to our everyday perception. Ideasthesia has been even applied to the theory of art. Research on ideasthesia bears important implications for solving the mystery of human conscious experience, which according to ideasthesia, is grounded in how we activate concepts.

Marxist aesthetics

Marxist aesthetics is a theory of aesthetics based on, or derived from, the theories of Karl Marx. It involves a dialectical and materialist, or dialectical materialist, approach to the application of Marxism to the cultural sphere, specifically areas related to taste such as art, beauty, etc. Marxists believe that economic and social conditions, and especially the class relations that derive from them, affect every aspect of an individual's life, from religious beliefs to legal systems to cultural frameworks. From one classic Marxist point of view, the role of art is not only to represent such conditions truthfully, but also to seek to improve them (social/socialist realism); however, this is a contentious interpretation of the limited but significant writing by Marx and Engels on art and especially on aesthetics. For instance, Nikolay Chernyshevsky, who greatly influenced the art of the early Soviet Union, followed the secular humanism of Ludwig Feuerbach more than he followed Marx.

Marxist aesthetics overlaps with the Marxist theory of art. It is particularly concerned with art practice, with the prescribing of artistic standards that are deemed socially beneficial. This materialist and socialist orientation may be seen to invoke (however problematically) the traditional aims of scientific inquiry and the scientific method.

Some notable Marxist aestheticians include Anatoly Lunacharsky, Mikhail Lifshitz, William Morris, Theodor W. Adorno, Bertolt Brecht, Herbert Marcuse, Walter Benjamin, Antonio Gramsci, Georg Lukács, Terry Eagleton, Fredric Jameson, Louis Althusser, Jacques Rancière, Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Raymond Williams. Roland Barthes must also be mentioned here.

Not all of these figures are solely concerned with aesthetics: in many cases, Marxist aesthetics forms only an important branch of their work, depending on how one defines the term. For example, a Marxist aesthetic may be latent in Brecht's work, but he formulated his own distinct theory of art and its social purpose.

One of the chief concerns of Marxist aesthetics is to unite Marx and Engels’ social and economic theory, or theory of the social base, to the domain of art and culture, the superstructure. These two terms, base and superstructure, became an important dichotomy in The German Ideology (1846), which however was not published during their lifetimes. Likewise Marx's early Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844, which, though widely regarded as important for treating the themes of sensuousness and alienation, first appeared only in 1932 (the slated 1846 publication was canceled) and in English only in 1959. The manuscripts were therefore unknown to art theorists during, for instance, the often antagonistic debates on art in the early Soviet Union between the constructivist avant garde and the proponents of socialist realism. The controversy over the unusual design of the original documents adds another twist.Many theorists touch upon important themes of Marxist aesthetics without strictly being Marxist aestheticians, Joel Kovel, for instance, has extended the concepts of Marxian ecology which deeply implicates aesthetics. He is also a part of the struggle to bridge the space between Marx and Freud, which has Marxist aesthetics as a central concern. Current themes within the field include research on the effect of mass-produced industrial materials on the sensed environment, such as paints and colors. A strong current within the field involves linguistics and semiotics, and arguments over structuralism and post-structuralism, modernism and post-modernism, as well as feminist theory.

Visual artists, as diverse as Isaak Brodsky or Diego Rivera and Kasimir Malevich or Lyubov Popova, for example, for whom written theory is secondary, nevertheless may be said to be connected to Marxist aesthetics through their production of art, without necessarily declaring themselves aestheticians or Marxists in writing. Likewise, in this spirit Oscar Wilde, Dziga Vertov, Sergei Eisenstein, Orson Welles, Jean-Luc Godard, Pablo Picasso, Richard Paul Lohse, for example. Such a view could apply to many visual and other artists in many fields, even those who have no apparent and/or voiced connection to Marxist politics or even those ostensibly opposed; in this respect consider Anton Webern.

Probably it would be fair to say that two of the most influential writings in Marxist aesthetics in recent times, and apart from Marx himself and Lukacs, have been Walter Benjamin's essay The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, and Herbert Marcuse's One-Dimensional Man. Louis Althusser has also contributed some small but significant essays on art and his theory of ideology also impacts in this area ("Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses").

The field remains polemical, with camps of modernists, post modernists, anti modernists, the avant garde, constructivists, social realists and socialist realists all referencing back to an ostensible Marxist aesthetic theory that would underpin their art practices by grounding an art theory.

Miško Šuvaković

Miško Šuvaković (Serbian Cyrillic: Мишко Шуваковић) is a contemporary aestheticist, art theorist and conceptual artist born in 1954 in Belgrade, Yugoslavia. He taught theory of art and theory of culture in Interdisciplinary Postgraduates Studies at the University of Arts in Belgrade. He teaches theory of art and theory of culture in transdisciplinary master and doctoral studies at the Faculty of media and communication.

Museum of Sketches for Public Art

The Museum of Sketches for Public Art (Swedish Skissernas museum - Arkiv för dekorativ konst, also known in English as the Archive of Decorative Art) is an art museum at Lund University in Sweden, dedicated to the collection and display of sketches and drawings for contemporary monumental and public art, such as frescos, sculpture and reliefs. The museum contains about 25,000 items, including sketches and contest entries by leading 20th-century Swedish artists such as Isaac Grünewald, other Nordic artists and foreign artists such as Henry Moore, Diego Rivera and Henri Matisse.

The museum was founded in 1934 by Ragnar Josephson (1891–1966), professor of the History and Theory of Art at Lund University. Josephson, who wanted to collect material illuminating the creative process of the artist, wrote a book on the topic, Konstverkets födelse ("The Birth of the Work of Art", 1940), as well as many shorter studies. The collection opened to the public in 1941 in a building close to the Lund University Library.

The original building was an old gymnastic hall; the architect Hans Westman added a new section, and another addition, designed by Johan Celsing, was completed in 2005. The museum reopened in March 2005 after having been closed for construction work since 2001.

Naum Gabo

Naum Gabo, born Naum Neemia Pevsner (5 August [O.S. 24 July] 1890 – 23 August 1977) (Hebrew: נחום נחמיה פבזנר), was an influential sculptor, theorist, and key figure in Russia's post-Revolution avant-garde and the subsequent development of twentieth-century sculpture. His work combined geometric abstraction with a dynamic organization of form in small reliefs and constructions, monumental public sculpture and pioneering kinetic works that assimilated new materials such as nylon, wire, lucite and semi-transparent materials, glass and metal. Responding to the scientific and political revolutions of his age, Gabo led an eventful and peripatetic life, moving to Berlin, Paris, Oslo, Moscow, London, and finally the United States, and within the circles of the major avant-garde movements of the day, including Cubism, Futurism, Constructivism, the Bauhaus, de Stijl and the Abstraction-Création group. Two preoccupations, unique to Gabo, were his interest in representing negative space—"released from any closed volume" or mass—and time. He famously explored the former idea in his Linear Construction works (1942-1971)—used nylon filament to create voids or interior spaces as "concrete" as the elements of solid mass—and the latter in his pioneering work, Kinetic Sculpture (Standing Waves) (1920), often considered the first kinetic work of art.Gabo elaborated many of his ideas in the Constructivist Realistic Manifesto, which he issued with his brother, sculptor Antoine Pevsner as a handbill accompanying their 1920 open-air exhibition in Moscow. In it, he sought to move past Cubism and Futurism, renouncing what he saw as the static, decorative use of color, line, volume and solid mass in favor of a new element he called "the kinetic rhythms (…) the basic forms of our perception of real time." Gabo held a utopian belief in the power of sculpture—specifically abstract, Constructivist sculpture—to express human experience and spirituality in tune with modernity, social progress, and advances in science and technology. After working on a smaller scale in England during the war years (1936-1946), Gabo moved to the United States, where he received several public sculpture commissions, only some of which he completed. These include Constructie, an 81-foot commemorative monument in front of the Bijenkorf Department Store (1954, unveiled in 1957) in Rotterdam, and Revolving Torsion, a large fountain outside St Thomas Hospital in London. The Tate Gallery, London held a major retrospective of Gabo's work in 1966 and holds many key works in its collection, as do the Museum of Modern Art and Guggenheim Museum in New York. Work by Gabo is also included at Rockefeller Center in New York City and The Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller Empire State Plaza Art Collection in Albany, NY.

One and Three Chairs

One and Three Chairs, 1965, is a work by Joseph Kosuth. An example of conceptual art, the piece consists of a chair, a photograph of the chair, and an enlarged dictionary definition of the word "chair". The photograph depicts the chair as it is actually installed in the room, and thus the work changes each time it is installed in a new venue.

Two elements of the work remain constant: a copy of a dictionary definition of the word "chair" and a diagram with instructions for installation. Both bear Kosuth's signature. Under the instructions, the installer is to choose a chair, place it before a wall, and take a photograph of the chair. This photo is to be enlarged to the size of the actual chair and placed on the wall to the left of the chair. Finally, a blow-up of the copy of the dictionary definition is to be hung to the right of the chair, its upper edge aligned with that of the photograph.

Sholom Gherman

Sholom Gherman (born 1920) is a philosopher from Russia.

Gherman graduated from Leningrad State University with an MA in Philosophy. From there, he taught philosophy in "higher schools of art", according to his biography in the 1967 book Socialism: Theory and Practice. He also published several other books of philosophy and theory of art.

State Academy of Arts of Turkmenistan

The State Academy of arts of Turkmenistan (Türkmenistanyň Döwlet çeperçilik akademiýasy) in Ashgabat, was founded in 1994 by President of Turkmenistan Saparmurat Niyazov. Is subordinate to the Ministry of Culture of Turkmenistan.

The new building opened February 1, 2006 in Alisher Navoi Street, near to the Museum of Fine Arts of Turkmenistan. Took part in the opening ceremony the President of Turkmenistan, Saparmurat Niyazov. The cost of the buildings built by the French company "Bouygues" - $40 million.Currently rector of the Academy is Ahatmyrat Nuvvaev.Departments: art and composition, graphics, sculpture, Architecture and Design, the national art, history and theory of art.

The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction

The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction (1935, Das Kunstwerk im Zeitalter seiner technischen Reproduzierbarkeit), by Walter Benjamin, is an essay of cultural criticism which proposes that the aura of a work of art is devalued by mechanical reproduction. The subject and themes of the essay have much influenced the fields of art history and architectural theory, and of cultural studies and media theory.During the Nazi régime (1933–1945) in Germany, Benjamin wrote the essay to produce a theory of art that is "useful for the formulation of revolutionary demands in the politics of art" in mass culture; that, in the age of mechanical reproduction, and the absence of traditional and ritualistic value, the production of art would be inherently based upon the praxis of politics.The essay was published in three editions: (i) the original, German edition in 1935, The Work of Art in the Age of its Mechanical Reproduction; (ii) the French edition in 1936; and (iii) the revised German edition in 1939, from which derive the contemporary English translations of the essay.

Wpływologia

"Wpływologia" ("influenceology") is a Polish term that is sometimes used within the history and theory of literature, the history and theory of art, the history and theory of music, and even within general history. The term expresses skepticism about exaggerated attempts at tracking down alleged "influences" among artists, scholars and their respective works.

Zeitgeist

The Zeitgeist (, German pronunciation Zeitgeist ) is a concept from 18th- to 19th-century German philosophy, translated as "spirit of the age" or "spirit of the times". It refers to an invisible agent or force dominating the characteristics of a given epoch in world history.The term is now mostly associated with Hegel, contrasting with Hegel's use of Volksgeist "national spirit" and Weltgeist "world-spirit",

but its coinage and popularization precedes Hegel, and is mostly due to Herder and Goethe. Other philosophers who were associated with such ideas include Spencer and Voltaire.Contemporary use of the term may, more pragmatically, refer to a schema of fashions or fads which prescribes what is considered to be acceptable or tasteful for an era, e.g. in the field of architecture.

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