jts

Is this art?

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Thank Galt and the Prophet, finally a realistic solution to the fratricidal sectarianism of Syria. Scherk and Parille are the obvious unifiers and healers of that suffering nation. Jonathan will help them until he has to murder Bill to inherit his inheritance, and I am trying on hijabs even as we speak.

Do tou think this green makes me look too haggard?

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Green becomes you, Carole. Thank you for your kind and thoughtful rendering of several different genera of madness.

If we could market your unique brand of fizzy humour, we could be rich, er, busy, er ...

Nice to see you out of Hockey Purdah. No need to go full hijab, Mrs Whistler's garb is fine (as is any Mennonite or FLDS garment). The important thing is to look good and feel good, and have integrity.

Edited by william.scherk

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Btw, Bill, do you want to be intellectual heirs together with me? I'll be yours if you'll be mine. What do you say?

J

I think that is a great idea, Jonathan. We can exchange the necessary documents privately. Look for a note in your inbox under the rubric "You are hysterical."

Awesome. Have you seen those BFF necklaces where a heart is split and each half is given to one of the BFFs? I think that I might get one of those made for us, only it would be a brain instead of a heart, you know, to represent our intellectual heiriness rather than all of that emotion crap.

J

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Jonathan, regarding Best Friends Forever necklaces -- no, I haven't seen them. But that is a good and rational way to preserve our mutual heiriness, or what have you.

You may not know, but I am also an amateur sculptor. If you could sketch the design, I will make a prototype, cast it, and then bake copies using either clay or acrylic clay.

You know my home email and I know yours, but we had better be transparent about this. So, post the sketch, I will post my interpretation in plasticene, and we can take it from there.

If I can make a suggestion, it would be that leaping upward be incorporated somehow.

(one thing occurs to me, though - will my (Adam Selene-confirmed) Socialism be a problem? Or my Progressive-ism?)

-- in other news, Michelle Bachman has been re-appointed to the House Intelligence Committee. She is embroiled in a wee scandal-ette, in which it is insinuated or implied that she uses the secrets she learns on the Committee to make charges against sitting house members and members of the administration. Usually Mooslem related folks. She does not name them, but takes a leaf from McCarthy and simply lays out a thesis that the adminstration shelters al-Qaeda sympathizers and operatives, including a top aide to Clinton.

Edited by william.scherk

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Re art's "aims" (see J's #35)...

There's a SOLO thread going called "Another Reason Modern Art Is Rubbish."

The current most-recent post quotes from a lecture appearing on the front page of the Art Renewal Center's website - link.

"Our children, going supposedly to the finest universities in the world, being taught by professors with Bachelors or Arts, Masters of Arts, Masters of Fine Arts, Masters of Art Education ... even Doctoral degrees, our children instead have been subjected to methodical brain-washing and taught to deny the evidence of their own senses.

[..] And what was that discovery for which they have been raised above Bouguereau, exalted over Gérôme, and celebrated beyond Ingres, David, Constable, Fragonard, Van Dyck, and Gainsborough or Poussin? Why in fact were they heralded to the absolute zenith ... the tiptop of human achievement ... being worthy even of placement shoulder to shoulder on pedestals right beside Rembrandt, Michelangelo, Leonardo, Caravaggio, Vermeer and Raphael? What did they do? Why were they glorified practically above all others that ever went before them? Ladies and gentleman, they proved ... amazing, incredible, and fantastic as it may seem, they proved that the canvas was flat ... flat and very thin ... skinny ... indeed, not even shallow, lacking any depth or meaning whatsoever.

And the flatter that they proved it to be the greater they were exalted. Cezanne collapsed the landscape, Matisse flattened our homes and our families, and Pollock, Rothko and de Kooning placed it all in a blender and splattered it against the wall. They made even pancakes look fat and chunky by comparison. But this was only part of the breathtaking breakthroughs of modernism ... and their offshoots flourished. Abstract expressionism, Cubism, Fauvism, minimalism, ColorField, Conceptual, op-art, pop-art and post modernism ... and to understand it all ... to understand, took very special people indeed, since the mass of humanity was too ignorant and stupid to understand. Like that famous advertisement in the NY Times said so many years ago ... Bad art ... or Good art? You be the judge, indeed."

.

Comments, J? (or anyone, but I'm especially curious as to Jonathan's opinion of the description)

Ellen

.

It sounds very Randian, especially the bit about children being "subjected to methodical brain-washing" and being "taught to deny the evidence of their own senses." If anything, modern art was about getting more in touch with the "evidence of the senses."

The quotes that you provided are the typical gripe, both in style and content, that comes from people who don't grasp the expressiveness of the compositional/relational aspects of visual art, who are upset that others claim to experience what they don't, and who are adamantly opposed to learning anything about it. Look at the anger expressed toward the end of the third paragraph. The writer appears to be very upset that he is not one of the "special people" who are capable of understanding.

Not that I agree that one needs to be "special" to understand; one just needs to not be visually deficient, and one needs to avoid willfully refusing to see what others are talking about because one is emotionally invested in one's theories about what is proper art. I would say that anyone who can be taught to appreciate the abstract forms of music, dance and architecture can also be taught to appreciate abstract visual art in the same way, as long the person being taught isn't bent on heroically impeding himself from learning anything.

J

.

I've been meaning to get around to finding out something about the background of Fred Ross, the person quoted, but I haven't had time.

Here's a boxed comment which appears at the start of the talk on the ARC page:

link

ARC Chairman speaks at the Met

June 7, 2001 -- Fred Ross, Chairman of the Art Renewal Center, addressed a crowd of over 700 portrait artists, gallery owners and members of the press today at America's premier institution of art, the Metropolitan Museum in New York, at the American Society of Portrait Artists (ASOPA) Conference. Mr Ross was interrupted at least 10 times to thunderous applause or peals of laughter, as he blasted Modernism and its chief icons, Picasso, Mattisse and DeKooning, with some of the most biting, yet truthful satire that has ever been heard in those sanctified halls.

I agree that the comments sound "very Randian," and I suppose that they're along the lines of a "typical gripe" which comes from non-Randians too. At least, I've heard such gripes from non-Randians.

I don't know if it's the case that "anyone who can be taught to appreciate the abstract forms of music, dance and architecture can also be taught to appreciate abstract visual art in the same way, as long the person being taught isn't bent on heroically impeding himself from learning anything." I think that there are mental abilities pertinent to appreciating various art forms which differ in characteristics amongst people and that there might, for instance, be people who are highly responsive to abstract forms of music but wouldn't easily if at all learn to appreciate form in abstract visual art (and might not even be particularly attuned to dance and/or architecture either).

Regarding Fred Ross specifically, he's ultra-keen on the work of William Bouguereau -- link to a small sample of Bouguereau's paintings.

I think that Bouguereau was not distinguished in "compositional/relational aspects" and that his works are rather "cluttered" in that respect. So possibly Ross is someone who couldn't learn to appreciate such aspects even with willingness to learn.

--

The actual question I was wondering about -- my post was too vague -- pertained to the second paragraph quoted from the talk. Ross says that modern artists were extolled because they "proved that the canvas was flat ... flat and very thin ... skinny ... indeed, not even shallow, lacking any depth or meaning whatsoever."

In your post #35 you wrote:

And Rand was wrong that Cubism had the aim of disintegrating man's consciousness. That was only her own peculiar, frantic interpretation of its aims.
.

I'm wondering to what extent "prov[ing] that the canvas was flat [...]" really was an aim of the modern art development.

Ellen

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Concerning the ape face, yes, it is an up-front aggressive expression of hostility towards people here, perhaps towards Objectivist types in general, perhaps towards people in general. It is in discussion context rude and expressive of hostility, whether Mr. Story realizes it or not, intends it or not, or cares.
.

While I'm doing some catching up....

I've been wanting to get around to registering disagreement with that comment.

Stephen, you sound as if you're making an intrinsicist claim. Why would an ape face as an avatar necessarily be "an up-front aggressive expression of hostility [...]," "rude and expressive of hostility" "in a discussion context" irrespective of the poster's intentions and knowledge?

I see the photo as rather beguiling and shy, though with an ages-old look of wisdom in the eyes. It doesn't affect me as being hostile at all.

(Possibly there is hostile intent, I haven't a guess. I haven't followed the back-and-forth with Jerry, though I'm aware that he irritates some other posters. I'm just going by how the avatar looks to me as a photo.)

Ellen

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No, Ellen, I didn't mean it in an intrinsicist* way, but as a cultural claim. Your response to the choice for avatar disproves the generality of that claim of cultural receptivity, if not its prevalence. In my own response to Mr. Story's avatar, I was not influenced by any of his posts; for weeks I didn't click on any of his posts because of his choice of image.

I recall some years ago, after Walter got his dentures, he would sometimes announce them to friends by a big grin to give them maximum exposure. I could see this was not going the way he intended, and I explained to him that baring teeth without prior explanation of what was going on induced a note of fear and alarm in the response of the friends. He didn't do that further, as it was quite opposite the feelings he would ever want to effect in friends.

The really nice thing is to use an image of one's own face (and don't greatly bare teeth), rather as if one person were to be talking to another person. Another cultural claim.

(*How ever could she have coined this ugly word?)

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I don't know if it's the case that "anyone who can be taught to appreciate the abstract forms of music, dance and architecture can also be taught to appreciate abstract visual art in the same way, as long the person being taught isn't bent on heroically impeding himself from learning anything." I think that there are mental abilities pertinent to appreciating various art forms which differ in characteristics amongst people and that there might, for instance, be people who are highly responsive to abstract forms of music but wouldn't easily if at all learn to appreciate form in abstract visual art (and might not even be particularly attuned to dance and/or architecture either).

Right, but I said that I think that anyone who can be taught to appreciate the abstract forms of music, dance and architecture can be taught to appreciate abstract visual art, not that anyone who can be taught to appreciate music, dance or architecture could.

Also, I should add that there are situations in which even those who are bent on heroically impeding themselves from leaning anything about the expressiveness of the compositional/relational aspects of visual art can be sort of forced into learning. When such people are publicly confronted with the right balance of information, potent arguments and ridicule, they are sometimes capable of being embarrassed into re-evaluating their views. In my experience, it's about a 50/50 split as to what they'll do. Some will begin to recognize the similarities between abstract visual art and the other abstract art forms, where others will suddenly decide that music, dance and architecture are not valid art forms (at which point the fun begins in trying to get them to consistently apply their condemnations of the "con men" of abstract visual art to everyone who has ever claimed that music, dance and architecture are art).

Regarding Fred Ross specifically, he's ultra-keen on the work of William Bouguereau -- link to a small sample of Bouguereau's paintings.

I think that Bouguereau was not distinguished in "compositional/relational aspects" and that his works are rather "cluttered" in that respect. So possibly Ross is someone who couldn't learn to appreciate such aspects even with willingness to learn.

I agree that many of Bouguereau's paintings are rather compositionally cluttered. Compositionally, they're also very traditional/classical and not individually creative or original. It's quite obvious that Bouguereau was an academic traditionalist who never questioned the existing "rules" of composition. It probably never even occurred to him to consider the possibility that there might be something original and expressive yet to be discovered about composition.

I'm wondering to what extent "prov[ing] that the canvas was flat [...]" really was an aim of the modern art development.

I think that eliminating the illusion of depth was the goal of most modern artists and theorist, and I think that many of them held the view that the compositional/relational aspects of visual art were its essence as an art form. I think that they were only wrong when trying to establish that view as universal -- it was the essence of visual art to them, where obviously others place more importance on the expressiveness of other aspects. In that respect, I think they were just the opposite side of the coin of people like Rand and Fred Ross -- for some reason they needed to try to reject or invalidate others' experiences and promote their own as superior.

J

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Stephen, my perception of how people generally view chimps is as cute and cuddly creatures, although in fact chimps can be nasty. I guess we've talked to different people. Thanks for explaining that you "didn't mean it in an intrinsicist* way."

(*How ever could she have coined this ugly word?)
Te-he, I like it. Actually, I thought it was a word, but then I couldn't find it, so I guess I coined it. It's parallel to "objectivist."

Ellen

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J, and, ok. I suppose that someone who appreciates all three -- abstract music, dance, and architecture -- could be taught to appreciate abstract visual art.

Also, I should add that there are situations in which even those who are bent on heroically impeding themselves from leaning anything about the expressiveness of the compositional/relational aspects of visual art can be sort of forced into learning. When such people are publicly confronted with the right balance of information, potent arguments and ridicule, they are sometimes capable of being embarrassed into re-evaluating their views. In my experience, it's about a 50/50 split as to what they'll do. Some will begin to recognize the similarities between abstract visual art and the other abstract art forms, where others will suddenly decide that music, dance and architecture are not valid art forms (at which point the fun begins in trying to get them to consistently apply their condemnations of the "con men" of abstract visual art to everyone who has ever claimed that music, dance and architecture are art).
.

I don't think I've seen a case of someone "suddenly decid[ing] that music, dance and architecture are not valid art forms."

I think that eliminating the illusion of depth was the goal of most modern artists and theorist, and I think that many of them held the view that the compositional/relational aspects of visual art were its essence as an art form. I think that they were only wrong when trying to establish that view as universal -- it was the essence of visual art to them, where obviously others place more importance on the expressiveness of other aspects. In that respect, I think they were just the opposite side of the coin of people like Rand and Fred Ross -- for some reason they needed to try to reject or invalidate others' experiences and promote their own as superior.
.

I'm glad to see you mention that the champions of modern art, some of them, can be "just the opposite side of the coin of people like Rand and Fred Ross." Thanks for the explication re depth.

Ellen

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Stephen, my perception of how people generally view chimps is as cute and cuddly creatures, although in fact chimps can be nasty. I guess we've talked to different people. Thanks for explaining that you "didn't mean it in an intrinsicist* way."

(*How ever could she have coined this ugly word?)

Te-he, I like it. Actually, I thought it was a word, but then I couldn't find it, so I guess I coined it. It's parallel to "objectivist."

Ellen

Ellen, I googled it and found it all over, and not just as used by Rand-folk. Rand and her followers certainly ~embraced~ the term, and many of the google-hits are due to that enthusiastic adoption of it by Objectivists, but it's not an invention of Rand-folk.

Also, it's a perfectly good word, with a perfectly logical derivation, just like "subjectivist" and "objectivist." They -- and "intrinsicism," "subjectivism," "objectivism" -- are based on "intrinsic," "subjective," "objective."

Not trying to read Stephen's mind, but I would imagine he finds the word "ugly" because it (along with "subjectivist") is too often used as a harsh put-down of someone who disagrees with your position on some philosophic issue. The ugliness is in what is revealed of the soul of the person using it as a weapon, rather than simply a description.

REB

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.

By she I did not mean Ellen, but Rand. That is why we are stuck with it, and why I use it myself when talking about Rand's philosophy. The logic of its derivation that Roger mentioned is why Rand was stuck with it. I was joking by the interrogatory.

By ugly I meant the sound intrincisicist, the difficulty of the last two syllables. Roger's concern about use is a legitimate one, however.

I do like having the ugly one to indicate a certain erroneous view, reserving intrinsic and intrinsically for things that are that way. (Some Objectivists may be a little nervous saying anything is intrinsic. Get well soon.)

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.

By she I did not mean Ellen, but Rand. That is why we are stuck with it, and why I use it myself when talking about Rand's philosophy. The logic of its derivation that Roger mentioned is why Rand was stuck with it. I was joking by the interrogatory.

By ugly I meant the sound intrincisicist, the difficulty of the last two syllables. Roger's concern about use is a legitimate one, however.

I do like having the ugly one to indicate a certain erroneous view, reserving intrinsic and intrinsically for things that are that way. (Some Objectivists may be a little nervous saying anything is intrinsic. Get well soon.)

Stephen, check your first paragraph above. I think you stuck in an extra syllable. In your earlier post, you commented on how ugly intrinsicist sounds. Now you have it as intrincisicist. The first "ci" seems to have snuck in there.

I personally don't hear intrinsicist as being any uglier than, say, physicist. Intrinsi + cist compared to physi + cist. But I agree that beauty is in the ear of the "beholder."

There ~are~ some examples of really awkward and (I think) ugly-sounding terms in philosophy that I wish had not been coined in the first place. E.g., Charles Peirce, wishing to distinguish his views from those of the other proponents of Pragmatism, called his philosophy Pragmaticism. In trying to pronounce this term, I've more than once thrown in the extra syllable and made it "Pragmaticicism."

Also, I still run across example of people using the term "conservativism." (I even lapse into this sometimes, and have caught myself making it "conservativivism," when trying to read it out loud.)

My own negative response to the term "intrinsicism" is not to its auditory effect, but to hearing it used as a weapon against those who may or may not err too much on the side of "external reality" in explaining something. (E.g., certain things "just are" good for you, whether you recognize it or not.)

REB

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By she I did not mean Ellen, but Rand.
I caught up to that after reading Roger's reply -- and also remembered that of course Rand uses "intrinsicist" -- and also found it on Google, must have mangled the spelling beyond Google's deciphering capacity the first time. Alzheimer's moments.

The word I think is ugly -- and cringe upon reading -- which Rand uses often, including in her discussions of art -- is "concrete," and its derivatives, "concretize," etc.

In one of his books the psychologist James Hillman described "concrete" as "that hideous word." The full description was "that hideous and appropriate word," i.e., he was saying that the word suited the context he'd quoted. However, I think that it doesn't suit in the contexts where Rand uses it, that "particular" would be better, and "particularize," etc.

Ellen

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Ellen, I always cringed at concretize also. I assumed that it too had been coined by Rand, probably because that was where I first read it and didn't come across it elsewhere. Sometime last year, I did read it somewhere else, and that sent me to my dictionary from the '70's: there it was plain as day. From some style book ages ago, I learned to go slow on more and more -ize words. Prioritize was an example, as I recall. One can usually restructure the sentence and say set priorities or make concrete.

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Speaking of mental building materials, I have never liked the word "concrete" in Rand's writing advice. She often says connect your abstractions to concretes and, for the life of me, whenever I read that, I always get the image of cement trucks pouring grayish goo at construction sites. :smile:

I find the advice to give examples of ideas and describe things using the five senses--which is in most "how to write" books--a lot more useful.

Michael

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Well, if we're going to get all fussy about words Rand uses, I'll play the "Dumb Mom" card from The Year 1966. In irritation with my newfound obsession with Rand's non-fiction books, my mother asked me what was so good about "Ann Rand," anyway, and I replied that she helps me get clearer about my values. To which Mom replied: "Values? Values are what you get at Sears!" I thought in silent outrage, "How can someone be so concrete-bound?" (Sorry, Michael.) It was 30 years before I found out that my mother was joking, that she new perfectly well what life values were.

REB

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It has been an admittedly long time since I read The Romantic Manifesto (mid 90's, I was still driving which compounds the issue) but I seem to recall walking away from that book with the idea the Objectivist Aesthetics was still in its development. The book really covered writing, did some dancing on painting and maybe sculpture (?), barely touched on music and even that didn’t quite connect all the dots, and that was it.

In fact I seem to recall that both aesthetics and epistemology were underdeveloped. Didn’t Rand admit to the fact more work needed to be done in those areas? Or am I way off base here?

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"Concretize"? Isn't that what happened to Jimmy Hoffa?

--Brant

I believe that was what led to the “Stolen Corpse” theory. Or maybe it was the "Frozen Looter” principle?

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The worst (as far as I know from reading O-lists/blogs/etc) wielder of the 'concrete' weapon is La Hsieh, the Dr Mrs Dr ...

If I recall correctly without hunting down a link or example, the flaw in Diana's reasoning was in rejecting instances of 'white swans' as real refutations/winnowings of general claims.

So, in a logical way, Diana rules out the weight of counter-evidence. It is an anti-empirical flaw running through her arguments when she bats away hard evidence that tends to falsify her conclusions. She disregards the counter-evidence when it suits her, and tells the counter-argument that it is "Concrete-Bound". It is a sleazy intellectual dodge that shows her a biased amateur at hard thinking, critical self-checking and other cognitive necessities.


So, I hate the Concrete fetishizing in objectivish cultures for its all-too-often use as a club on 'opponents,' a dodge

Edited by william.scherk

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I'm glad to see you mention that the champions of modern art, some of them, can be "just the opposite side of the coin of people like Rand and Fred Ross."

I think I've mentioned my dislike of the snobbiness of champions of modern art at least a few times here at OL in the past. In one of our long-past discussions -- maybe when Victor was still around -- I remember saying that I don't like the superior attitude of certain modernists and that I think that it's a mistake for Objectivists and other fans/advocates of realism to adopt that superior tone.

J

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Is this art?

TGqv.jpeg

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Of course it's art.

The question is what sort, and what quality. (Not Romanticist, certainly...)

But is it 'good' Naturalism?

Is it honestly conceived and excellently rendered?

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Of course it's art.

The question is what sort, and what quality. (Not Romanticist, certainly...)

But is it 'good' Naturalism?

Is it honestly conceived and excellently rendered?

It's "art" if someone calls it art.

--Brant

done by an artist, of course, and once it's called "art" anyone who wants to can dump on it for any reason--or praise it to the sky, etc., even say it's not art, a contradiction

the question "Is this art?" makes it art regardless of the answer for the "art" in something is a mere epistemological construct--it's made and identified in the brain: "art" is the same as "value" in that sense and completely subjective and therefore free as in "freedom"--and the artist is free too, from me, you and Rand, which is the whole moral point--not free are those who accept the contrary, not understanding the essential nature of esthetics which is not subjugation or censorship but positing within the above-described context

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