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What is beauty?


Hyllyn

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Guest ford hallam

That's both fascinating and tragic. Personally, I would hope I would have stopped and relished the moment, but then I don't have a proper job and I'm rarely up that early :P .

 

I think that appealing to Kant was a bit elitist to say the least. The notion that there is a definable "high art" as opposed to low culture can not be defended in any logical nor rational way. The fact that one of the world's great violinists played to an audience and was not acclaimed, at least by some, as was expected by the "expert", and the I suspect the artist, himself reveals an unfounded assumption that they have regarding the value, quality and universal relevance of the performance.

 

The tone of the article seems to suggest that the passers by are therefore deficient in some way, as revealed by their indifference to this performance of "great art".

 

Perhaps next time they should use the Dixie Chicks, or get in a couple of strippers. I reckon people will stop if you offer them something they can appreciate. ;) but trying to create a hierarchy of artistic quality and value is never going to stick.

 

off to ponder some more, I look forward to some hearty debate...don't be shy :D

 

cheers, Ford ( the sensitive savage )

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Hello,

I have to say it made me a bit said.

On my msn I have a quote and it says "where does time go???" What i meen is, we all are in such a hurry and do not make ar have the time to take time for beautiful things. Music, sounds colors or anything which could make you wonder. Sometimes I just spend some time to sit and listen, it does not really matter to what, as long as you enjoy the peace.

Well anyway I think we should slow down a bit, before you know, well it's to late..........

Thanx for placing this here!

Cheerse Bart

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It's a very interesting 'experiment' they conducted.

I am not certain I am in full agreement with any interpretations of their results as relating to the appreciation of beauty, 'high' art etc. I find their observations more indicative of the structure and pace of life in a metropolitan city rather than of the inability of a crowd to recognise and appreciate artistic skill.

 

Our judgments and decisions are always coloured by our current state. My buddy Kant seemed to agree with me. That other philosopher, Mr Hallam (or was it alchemist? ;)), importantly states, however, that the idea there is such a definable measure in art that orders it from 'low' to 'high' or 'poor' to 'great' seems simplistic at best.

 

As to the main theme 'what is beauty?'... I don't think I could answer that.

I could suggest though, that it's all in the mind of the observer.

 

-t

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That's both fascinating and tragic. Personally, I would hope I would have stopped and relished the moment, but then I don't have a proper job and I'm rarely up that early :P .

 

We know Ford :) (and we envy you, don't you worry :D )

 

The tone of the article seems to suggest that the passers by are therefore deficient in some way, as revealed by their indifference to this performance of "great art".

 

Perhaps next time they should use the Dixie Chicks, or get in a couple of strippers. I reckon people will stop if you offer them something they can appreciate. ;) but trying to create a hierarchy of artistic quality and value is never going to stick.

 

I sort of agree with most of what you have to say Ford but I think it greatly depends on context. In the experiment they tried to make it as least obvious as possible. Should you put the Dixie Chicks or anyone else and expose their status we all know how quick people are to coze up and "admire and appreciate"

 

I quite liked the words of the curator of the National Gallery (Leithauser) where he said that if you took the frame off an Ellsworth Kelly and put it in the wrong context (e.g those "restaurants where there are pieces of original art for sale, by some industrious kids from the Corcoran School". Although thiking about it it is probably the right context :) ) then ..."No one is going to notice it. An art curator might look up and say: 'Hey, that looks a little like an Ellsworth Kelly. Please pass the salt.'"

 

Also I think they used L'Enfant metro station due to the fact that there should have been a higher level of more culture-exposed individuals than in other stations, hence the "As metro stations go, L'Enfant plaza is more plebeian than most"

 

However I don't agree with the Kant's idea that "to appreciate beauty viewing conditions must be optimal". I think that having your senses intact and being awake is pretty optimal to me, that x or y item, person, or personification of beauty might not be amongst your line of aesthetics for example, is a different cup of tea.

 

There are things which I would say are universal when it comes to beauty, very few people would listen to harmonious well played music and not recognize it as such (whether they like it or not, which is a different issue as it was demonstrated by the shoe-shinner), unless we are talking of kids and teens in recent years (bear in mind I'm 26), or perhaps a sunset, a delicate flower in a field, now what conditions do you need to admire it besides being there and having your eyesight in working conditions? Some people might just not want to be in that field in first place and therefore obviate everything that surrounds them.

 

Ultimately I think that the popularisation of "art" and the oversimplification of the means to achieve it (e.g skill needed for it) as well as the overmistification of those capable of putting together a bunch of blobs in some order that makes sense to them, is partly responsible for the levels of ignorance when it comes to accomplished (be it simple or complex) beauty, art, aesthetics, etc. That oversimplification is now of course well rooted, you only need to look at all these real(ly talentless)-lity T.V

 

I look forward to hearing other people's opinions.

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Just had to add my 2 cents worth as my wife and I were just discussing this last night.

 

I do not feel that context has anything to do with this. Most so called primitive art would not have been appreciated or collected as the context is not ideal. For that matter this argument could apply to a great deal of the art in collections today. To say that art of any kind has to be in any kind of remotely ideal environment to be appreciated belittles the art and the intelligence of the viewer.

 

Appreciation comes from the awareness of the viewer and his/her ability to be open to the experience. I listen to music from all over the world without any idea of what the language means but am able to enjoy the rhythms

and mood the music evokes because I am open to the experience.

 

The fact that few people stopped and listened says volumes about the pace of life, the priorities of the day and the openness to the experience as a result. The fact that two people who stopped had experience on the violin and one had just seen the musician tells me these people were open this experience. To say that the experiment was held in an environment where people should have been able to enjoy the music due to their cultural exposure and education to me is another fault. My work is done mainly for the small upper percentile income bracket. My experience shows me that education, income, travel etc.. does not mean an appreciation of art in any form. It is all about the willingness to be open and aware enough to enjoy what is around you. We as artists make our art doing just that, taking that experience and putting it into a form people can take the time to enjoy.

 

As for high or low art. I just had a debate with a painter who considered what he did as "fine art" (high) but looked down on the efforts of a wood carver. This is a topic for another thread which would be interesting as well.

 

What I do find interesting is the impact this had on Mr. Bell. I am sure that this added a new dimension to his view of his work and his perspective of how people relate to it. There is nothing like a little humility to put things in perspective.

 

Mark

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An absolutely fascinating piece!

 

What constitutes fine art, or craft, and what makes the art great?. I have VERY definite opinions about this, and have had similar discussions regarding my work, at many levels.

 

Personally, I have an awe factor that kicks in when appreciating any art, and when the work is really great, I literally get chills, whether it is music, painting, sculpture etc. For example, I once stood quivering with chills in front of a sculpture by Bernini in the National Gallery for about a half an hour. While I was there, I was joined by another visitor, who also had the same reaction. Both of us were frozen. After some time had passed, I spoke to the other worshipper, and discovered that he had just been fixed by the sculpture for it's own right, and did not really know who Bernini was.

 

I have a copy of a little known book printed in 1912 by Rodin, simply entitled "Art", in which he explores this concept at length. In the preface he is discussing his concepts of art with his co-writer, asserting that art, or at least his concept of what constitutes art, is out of date, stating:

 

"The search in modern life is for utility; the endeavor is to improve existence materially. Every day, science invents new processes for the feeding, clothing, or transportation of man; she manufactures cheaply inferior products in order to give adulterated luxuries to the greatest number - though it is true that she has also made real improvements in all that ministers our daily wants. But it is no longer a question of spirit, of thought, of dreams. Art is dead"

 

It is interesting in that Rodin was feeling that people were to busy, in 1912 no less, with their day to day preoccupations and technologies to stop and appreciate what was around them.

 

Phil

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