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Aesthetics Comrade 08/26/2020 (Wed) 14:12:08 No. 3769
Hume established criteria for good taste. However, criteria for good taste says nothing about criteria for good art. So what then is the criteria for good art, the seeming elephant in the room left unaddressed in the realm of aesthetics? How can you call something good art if you cannot even define what is good art?
This is just my initial thoughts, but the way I see it there are 2 dimensions of which to asses art. The rational, and the irrational (I may come up with better terms later), the rational is the analyzing of artistic skills. On one side of the spectrum, a virtuosic musician who's music is theoretically genius but doesn't sound 'good', i.e. unless you are versed in the musical medium it is impossible for you to 'understand' how it is impressive. The other, irrational, is how it makes you feel. I enjoy some abstract paintings because they make me feel a certain way, regardless of whether or not 'my 4 year old could have done that', it provokes a certain emotion in me, that is usually tied to memories and such. An extreme version of this is a pop song that is very catchy and fun, even if you hate what it stands for and can see it is only 4 very basic chords. So there is no such thing as good art, but I think art can enter a certain goldilocks zone where it combines rational and irrational properties in an artistic way. I think a prime example of this would be Van Gogh, probably the most loved painter in the western world. The marriage of 'aesthetic' beauty with artistic skill.
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Don't know, anon. But Technical skill comes into it, as this video with Tracey Emin suggests. (She's talking about the fine arts in it; even though she became famous for the unmade bed exhibit, she seems to suggest that a grounding in the fine arts first is necessary to consider yourself an artist. .) https://youtu.be/7utbB8A_Rt4 I don't really agree with that myself. The unmade bed's status as art (or not) shouldnt be affected by unrelated artistic training. The radical feminist Helen Lewis suggests good art is art in which the medium is the message : <If there is anything I have learned from the writer and director Robert Icke, it’s that the medium is the message. A play about identity should play with identity. A play about the truth should question whether what we are seeing is the truth. A play about justice should ask us to judge. <Form and content are two sides of the same coin https://helenlewis.substack.com/?utm_campaign=pub&utm_medium=web&utm_source=copy The effect on the viewer of art consumer is probably the most important thing. Art should probably take you out of yourself, expand your horizons in some way, and do this through an aesthetic medium . But there should be some lasting impression on you of something profounder than ordinary life, otherwise it's just a means to kill time, entertainment.
i think before thinking about what is good art you've gotta decide what 'art' even is to you, whats excluded from that category and what is fundamental to it, etc. And whether or not you want to just define the word or define the idea... Colloquailly art refers to shit like paintings and statues that are meant to be looked at, almost in contrast to their surrounding environments which are not meant to be looked at? And so we get a urinal or a bed can be art if it's in a setting where you look at things and try to find their beauty or meaning. But is a house art? Does that depend on the intention of the architect, or what? So anyways im kind of bored of that kind of art honestly. There's so much more beauty and inspiration in different mediums other than the small, visual, single-person projects that characterize what i think is usually called art. A great landscape, a great event, a beautiful life, a village, etc. But these arent all created with intent, or with the intent of inspiring, and they are often able to be interacted with. I'd so much prefer a world of beauty embodied in our surroundings and lives and culture than something to hang on the wall (or god forbid only see on a screen while trolling for "art" on some website) or put in the garden. So fuck art as dualism, you end up with an ugly world and pretty little trivialities. That said, what is good art? who knows, why does it even need to be formulated? I think its just something that satisfies our tastes, like how good food is what satisfies your tastes. It's totally subjective and can change, like when you crave a piece of good fish and you eat it and its great, it was great food, but later you might eat it and its just acceptable, not great and not bad. And then some things obviously are repulsive. Is there actually a better way of defining how something meant to please the senses is good other than how well it pleases them? There's technical skill, but if the skill doesnt translate to how pleasing the product is, then i think its not relevant, and at best it might just be a sort of pointless middle-man criteria. But also what is pleasing isnt always warm of comforting, a HUGE axis for something seeming aesthetical and pleasing i think is that it does its purpose well, or embodies its own qualities in some inspiring way. I think of like the almost universal attraction to animals in their wild habitat. Part of it is maybe this fetishistic attitude that sees them as unthinking and unable to be unnatural, but maybe thats where so much of their beauty to us comes from. I think of soviet realism, and how just a portrayal of people doing their thing and being themselves is a good subject for beautiful art (which also has to carry out the beauty and feel of the subjects through its medium and technique, which requires tons of skill). Like a decrepit old woman who is no longer beautiful can still be aesthetical, by embodying herself and some perceived ideal or norm. As well, sometimes the purpose of art is to say something, and if it says this thing well in its whole being, i think its good art and its own embodiment of its message is pleasing. I dont thnk the point of art should be having meaning, but i think that meaning or conveying some message is an important aspect that art can have. At a base level, all art conveys or creates in the viewer at least a feeling, but sometimes this message is more complex. Either way, there's a transfer of some information that the artist tries to get across, a feeling or something else. But sometimes the viewer gets more or less than what the artist intended, and i dont think thats bad or "misreading" should be cared about unless maybe there was a very explicit "right" message of the art, but anyways the message gotten is very variable so its sort of hard to define out where the intentionality and message end, because a great work of art might say things to people that were never intended, and be great because of it, because they get a point across beautifully, but not the intended point. But not all of these things i called aesthetic are intentional, so whether or not they're art is up to anyone i guess. I dont know where to draw that line, and if it should be drawn maybe or if "art" should be phased out and beauty - intentional or not - should be given more attention.

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