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Everything posted by Jonathan

  1. Kandinsky on artists, art and values: I value only those artists who really are artists, that is, who, consciously or unconsciously, in an entirely original form, embody the expression of their inner life; who work only for this end and cannot work otherwise. Painting is an art, and art is not vague production, transitory and isolated, but a power which must be directed toward the improvement and refinement of the human soul. It is very important for the artist to gauge his position aright, to realize that he has a duty to his art and to himself, that he is not king of the castle but rather a
  2. Certainly. Thanks for acknowledging that you've read my questions and that you're thinking about them. Best, J
  3. Victor wrote, You may be right. But then again, how "successful" would much of the art throughout history have been -- paintings, sculptures and symphonies (forgive me if my referring to symphonies as "art" upsets you; I know that it really pisses you off when someone says that something is "art" when it's non-representational and unintelligible, and when no objectively valid criterion of aesthetic judgment is possible for that type of "art," and, therefore, that we have to treat our tastes or preferences regarding that "art" form as a subjective matter) -- if it had not been for monarchs and
  4. Jeff wrote, Good point. So let's alter the scenario a little: Some of the gallery's visitors would know that the whole thing is a performance, and some would not. Those who did not know would not be artists or performers, but, since those who were performers would be interacting with, responding to, and being influenced by the opinions of those who were not performers, the opinions of the non-performers would play a part in shaping the outcome of the art. So, now we've established a scenario in which the act of placing a shopping cart -- or a urinal, dung heap, etc. -- in a gallery, and the r
  5. Jeff wrote, So we've established a scenario in which the act of placing a shopping cart -- or a urinal, dung heap, etc. -- in a gallery, and the resulting responses, discussions and conclusions, would be art even by Objectivist definitions and standards. J
  6. Victor asked, Before I answer, I'll remind you again that you haven't yet answered my questions about music. Is music art according to your definition of art? Now, is there an objective definition of art? Sure, there could be. I don't know that I'd be able to come up with one that I'd be satisfied with. How about this for starters: "Art is a means of expression and/or contemplation, created according to what an artist believes or feels is a fundamental or important aspect of existence, and may include both objective and subjective elements. A viewer or listener's responses to art may be objec
  7. Jeff wrote, I didn't ask if the shopping cart was art. I asked if a play about a shopping cart being placed in a gallery is art, a play which invites viewers to become participants without their knowing that it's a play. J
  8. When I was a young child, my father was a high school teacher and coach, and sometimes he would take me with him to his school on Saturdays so that I could play in the gym while he caught up on his work. While walking with him in the halls on one such Saturday, we passed a classroom in which an older boy and girl were screaming at each other. I was shocked at the fierceness of their argument, and I looked up at my father to see his reaction. He wasn't affected by it at all. Was the argument art? I had an intense emotional response to it. I felt aspects of what could be called the senses of lif
  9. Victor wrote, Hey Victor, I noticed that you haven't answered my questions about music. Music is "non-representational" or "non-figurative" and “non-objective," yet you seem to believe that it is art. Why? Are you trying to destroy the meaning of art? Are you allowing yourself to live with a contradiction? Or, if you've come to the conclusion that music is not art by your definition, why aren't you saying so with the same passion with which you state your views on abstract art? Would you call the sounds of urinals flushing and animals farting art? How about the "re-creations" of those sounds
  10. Ellen wrote, To borrow something you said earlier, I love your way of putting these things. J
  11. I've only seen the last half of it, but I thought it was a beautiful film. J
  12. Ditto, and there's lot's more to chew on at Wolf's site: J
  13. Victor wrote, Victor, Here you're talking about certain movements, attitudes and philosophies which, I agree, tend to suck (I don't think the same attitudes suck any less when displayed by Objectivists). But I was talking about abstract art itself, not some of the theories and snottiness associated with it. I was talking about the kind of art which was inspired not by a desire to poison minds, stunt development and obliterate art, but by a man looking at paintings of haystacks and realizing that they had an overwhelming power over him despite the fact that he didn't recognize the objects depi
  14. And music has the shape (or sound) of which things that exist in reality? J
  15. Jeff, Would you mind answering the first question that I asked Victor: "Do you apply the same reasoning to music and architecture?" Thanks, J
  16. Victor wrote, Do you apply the same reasoning to music and architecture? Shouldn't our requirements for art apply to all art forms equally? Also, shouldn't a rational theory of aesthetics take into account the fact that what affects one person may not affect another? When millions of people claim that they feel something when looking at abstract art, that they feel it as deeply as what others claim to feel when listening to music, should their testimony be disregarded because Ayn, Victor or others don't feel it? J
  17. Elizabeth wrote, Depending on what a person believes that "according to" and "metaphysical value-judgments" mean, I think that you could say that all art is indeed created "according to an artist's metaphysical value-judgments." Metaphysical value-judgments are a person's view of the fundamental nature of existence. According to Rand, they answer such questions as "Is the universe intelligible to man, or unintelligible and unknowable? Can man find happiness on earth, or is he doomed to frustration and despair? Does man have the power of choice, the power to choose his goals and to achieve the
  18. I liked Newberry's drawing and the implied slam so much, as well as his also having been inspired by his affection for Hong Z. and George C., that I came pretty close to buying it. I was happy that Jon Letendre identified Rich, and not you or me, as the unstable onion about to fall off the bowl's edge. :-) J
  19. Ellen wrote, Thank you, Ellen. :-) I think that that "someone" is you: J P.S. I think I might start calling "romantic realism" "volition-expressing realism," and the Objectivist notion of "naturalism" "lack-of-volition-expressing realism." I think it might make things much more clear, and less likely that people would confuse the terms with historical movements sharing the same names but not necessarily the same meanings. It would be pretty obvious right away when listening to music or looking at architecture and non-narrative pain
  20. Ellen: I agree - I don't find the recognition far-fetched either, but I also think that such recognitions are probably pretty common in situations which might be looked upon with disapproval by people consulting Objectivism's official rule book on virtuous sexual behavior. A gal in a night club likes a guy's studly swagger. He likes her impertinence. Each thinks the other is confident, gorgeous, and deserving of special attention. After knowing each other for all of 5 seconds they believe that they embody each other's values and they know they're destined for bed later that night. If they'd g
  21. What did Roark and Dominique know of each other before having sex? Did they know whether or not they embodied each other's values? It's been decades since I've read The Fountainhead, so correct me if I'm wrong, but, up to the time that Roark engraved-invitation-raped Dominique, wouldn't his only impression of her have been that she was a petulant rich girl? Wasn't her only knowledge of him that he was a somewhat arrogant workman in her father's quarry? J
  22. "LPI" makes me think of "Liquid Propane Installation." I picture an old, rusty tank leaking gas into the air. Seems fitting. J
  23. Thanks for the information on Rand's later inclusion of a one-foot aesthetics summary, John. J
  24. Judith: Sorry if I came across as curt. It's been my experience that the overwhelming majority of Objectivists say that they love "romantic realism," but their tastes are actually something I'd call romantic fantasy (and quite often romantic children's fantasy). Blunt, exaggerated heroism (exaggerated to the point of fantasy) seems to be their vision of what "romanticism" means, and that, along with a preference for ethical messages which are compatible with Objectivism, is much more important to them in art than any serious aesthetic considerations (such as depth, the presentation of comple
  25. I watched Sydney Pollock's documentary Sketches of Frank Gehry last night, and loved it. There's quite a lot of Howard Roark in Gehry. J