Do We Learn To Love Bad Art?


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Would enjoin our resident art critics comments and thoughts on this article...

Does great art last because it is great or is it great because it lasts? Do works find a place in the canon by familiarity, like a ubiquitous tune you can’t shake, or do they play on through sheer merit? A recent study in the British Journal of Aesthetics by Meskin et al titled “Mere Exposure to Bad Art” examines the effect of “mere exposure” on how people perceive art. After showing students slides of “good” art (landscapes by 19th century British painter John Everett Millais) and “bad” art (works by the trademarked “Painter of Light” himself, Thomas Kinkade) at differing frequencies, the researchers suggest that looking at bad art more often makes us hate it even more (or so they hope). But is it still possible for us to learn to love bad art?

http://bigthink.com/Picture-This/do-we-learn-to-love-bad-art

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Thanks, Adam, for notice of this informative summary of this significant line of research. I wonder if the degree to which we gage visual art, and music too, as relatively good or bad is on a presumption that better art has more depth and more durability of positive interest. That is, with repeated experiences of it, as one learns more of what is to see or hear in the work, it has more and more character of depth and has its durability of positive interest from importance of that depth to us. I don’t mean to suggest here anything more specific of the possible forms of such depth and importance.

Learning to enjoy operatic music when I was a young man definitely required repeated exposure, but I’ve suspected it also required me getting to be a little older to be ready for stepping into the realm of feeling expressed in opera. There are rather more sensory reformations, to be sure, as in the process of coming to like the taste of bourbon, rather than dislike it, as well as in expanding to some extent the range of dissonance in operatic music that is welcome.

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Listening to the fat lady scream is definitely an acquired taste.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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They are not fat anymore Baal, get with the programme!

Opera was the last musical artform I learned to like. At first I only responded to symphonic music or concerti. Then oratorio, then opera. Even now I do not thrill to sheer voice except in pre-modern pieces.

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Beauty is perceived when what is outside corresponds with what is inside.

Those who love ugly art have that very same ugliness within them.

Why do you psychologize so much? You do not possess the talent of mental telepathy. No one does. Not even Ayn Rand.

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Beauty is perceived when what is outside corresponds with what is inside.

Those who love ugly art have that very same ugliness within them.

Why do you psychologize so much? You do not possess the talent of mental telepathy. No one does. Not even Ayn Rand.

It's a simple truth, Baal....

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

When we perceive beauty it is because there is an affinity, a harmony, between the observer and the observed. Perceiving beauty is a internal resonance with what is observed or heard. So those who perceive ugliness as if it was beauty, naturally possess that same inner ugliness which resonates in harmony with the ugliness they observe.

Exactly the same principle holds for truth and lies where lies are perceived as truth to a liar.

This principle is true because we are subjective beings who can only subjectively react to objective reality.

And whether our subjective thoughts, emotions, and the actions which arise from them, agree or disagree with objective reality is totally our own personal individual free choice.

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What do you make of a person who thinks something is beautiful that you think is ugly? Are "ugly" and "beautiful" terms that can carry a truth value?

That is is the statement x is "ugly" true or false. x is "beautiful" true or false. Or is it merely a matter of mood and opinion and the statements are devoid of substantial true value?

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What do you make of a person who thinks something is beautiful that you think is ugly?

Just that it is only possible for one of us to subjectively agree with objective reality.

Are "ugly" and "beautiful" terms that can carry a truth value?

Only for those who value the beauty of truth.

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What do you make of a person who thinks something is beautiful that you think is ugly?

Just that it is only possible for one of us to subjectively agree with objective reality.

Are "ugly" and "beautiful" terms that can carry a truth value?

Only for those who value the beauty of truth.

I think it is time to define those terms because you guys are passing each other in a linguistic fog bank.

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Beauty is perceived when what is outside corresponds with what is inside.

Those who love ugly art have that very same ugliness within them.

Why do you psychologize so much? You do not possess the talent of mental telepathy. No one does. Not even Ayn Rand.

It's a simple truth, Baal....

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

When we perceive beauty it is because there is an affinity, a harmony, between the observer and the observed. Perceiving beauty is a internal resonance with what is observed or heard. So those who perceive ugliness as if it was beauty, naturally possess that same inner ugliness which resonates in harmony with the ugliness they observe.

Exactly the same principle holds for truth and lies where lies are perceived as truth to a liar.

This principle is true because we are subjective beings who can only subjectively react to objective reality.

And whether our subjective thoughts, emotions, and the actions which arise from them, agree or disagree with objective reality is totally our own personal individual free choice.

You don't seem to understand what "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" means. It doesn't mean that beauty is objective and that certain people (those whose tastes differ from yours) are delusional and incapable of identifying the reality of what is beautiful versus ugly. It means the exact opposite of what you seem to think it means.

You appear to be a very confused and ignorant yet pompous novice on the subject.

J

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What do you make of a person who thinks something is beautiful that you think is ugly?

Just that it is only possible for one of us to subjectively agree with objective reality.
Let me guess: your subjective opinions always "agree with objective reality." Is that right?

When you and someone else disagree about whether an object is beautiful or ugly, why do you assume that the other person must have an ugly soul which is resonating with his taste in the object? Why don't you consider the possibly, if not the likelihood, that what you think of as beautiful may be ugly, and that YOU therefore have an ugly soul? I mean, you've already revealed some inner ugliness in claiming to know others' inner states based merely on their disagreements with your tastes.

So maybe you should be focused on judging yourself instead of others: Why are you trying to find ways to imagine that you're superior to others? Especially in regard to a subject about which you're clearly ignorant? These might be some good questions for you to ask yourself.

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Are "ugly" and "beautiful" terms that can carry a truth value?

Only for those who value the beauty of truth.

I think the idea here would be to actually answer Baal's question by providing substance to back up your position, rather than just preening and praising yourself. Do you understand that you're being challenged to demonstrate objective truth value of beauty, and not to stupidly and groundlessly assert the superiority of your tastes and you ability to value?

J

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Art, like mythology to which it contributes, is worth what you put into it. Art can never be comprehensive, and would lose its effect if it tried to be. The ambiguities and susceptibility to interpretation are what give them their great psychological power. They become symbols and parables that we can cognitively reframe our life and our abstractions in. Certain pieces of art will contain elements that provoke a given person more, but art and mythology are not defined by consistency or 'message' necessarily; these can be used to good or bad effect. I'd recommend Walter Kaufmann's A Critique of Religion and Philosophy and some of Nietzsche's work on the heroism of tragedy for examples at odds with some Objectivist views.

This isn't to say that there aren't literal or intended thematic elements in artistic work that we can detect. Ayn Rand is obviously invoking promethean individualism and depicting some versimilitude of the 'forgotten man' of capital and industry. Yet the fact that it can easily be appealed to by market anarchists, something probably not consciously intended by Rand, shows that even a work which evokes deliberate values and visions of individual virtue can become more useful by its ambiguities and symbolic attributes than it would by being written in a completely consistent narrative; and sometimes the original intent of the work's originator may be irrelevant to its uses for us.

To make an extended quote from Max Stirner

Every one has a relation to objects, and more, every one is differently related to them. Let us choose as an example that book to which millions of men had a relation for two thousand years, the Bible. What is it, what was it, to each? Absolutely, only what he made out of it! For him who makes to himself nothing at all out of it, it is nothing at all; for him who uses it as an amulet, it has solely the value, the significance, of a means of sorcery; for him who, like children, plays with it, it is nothing but a plaything, etc.

Now, Christianity asks that it shall be the same for all: say the sacred book or the “sacred Scriptures.” This means as much as that the Christian’s view shall also be that of other men, and that no one may be otherwise related to that object. And with this the ownness of the relation is destroyed, and one mind, one disposition, is fixed as the “true”, the “only true” one. In the limitation of the freedom to make of the Bible what I will, the freedom of making in general is limited; and the coercion of a view or a judgment is put in its place. He who should pass the judgment that the Bible was a long error of mankind would judge — criminally.

In fact, the child who tears it to pieces or plays with it, the Inca Atahualpa who lays his ear to it and throws it away contemptuously when it remains dumb, judges just as correctly about the Bible as the priest who praises in it the “Word of God,” or the critic who calls it a job of men’s hands. For how we toss things about is the affair of our option, our free will: we use them according to our heart’s pleasure, or, more clearly, we use them just as we can. Why, what do the parsons scream about when they see how Hegel and the speculative theologians make speculative thoughts out of the contents of the Bible? Precisely this, that they deal with it according to their heart’s pleasure, or “proceed arbitrarily with it.”

But, because we all show ourselves arbitrary in the handling of objects, i.e. do with them as we like best, at our liking (the philosopher likes nothing so well as when he can trace out an “idea” in everything, as the God-fearing man likes to make God his friend by everything, and so, e.g., by keeping the Bible sacred), therefore we nowhere meet such grievous arbitrariness, such a frightful tendency to violence, such stupid coercion, as in this very domain of our — own free will. If we proceed arbitrarily in taking the sacred objects thus or so, how is it then that we want to take it ill of the parson-spirits if they take us just as arbitrarily, in their fashion, and esteem us worthy of the heretic’s fire or of another punishment, perhaps of the — censorship?

What a man is, he makes out of things; “as you look at the world, so it looks at you again.” Then the wise advice makes itself heard again at once, You must only look at it “rightly, unbiasedly,” etc. As if the child did not look at the Bible “rightly and unbiasedly” when it makes it a plaything. That shrewd precept is given us, e.g. by Feuerbach. One does look at things rightly when one makes of them what one will (by things objects in general are here understood, e.g. God, our fellowmen, a sweetheart, a book, a beast, etc.). And therefore the things and the looking at them are not first, but I am, my will is. One will brings thoughts out of the things, will discover reason in the world, will have sacredness in it: therefore one shall find them. “Seek and ye shall find.” What I will seek, I determine: I want, e.g., to get edification from the Bible; it is to be found; I want to read and test the Bible thoroughly; my outcome will be a thorough instruction and criticism — to the extent of my powers. I elect for myself what I have a fancy for, and in electing I show myself — arbitrary.

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Beauty is perceived when what is outside corresponds with what is inside.

Those who love ugly art have that very same ugliness within them.

Why do you psychologize so much? You do not possess the talent of mental telepathy. No one does. Not even Ayn Rand.

It's a simple truth, Baal....

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

When we perceive beauty it is because there is an affinity, a harmony, between the observer and the observed. Perceiving beauty is a internal resonance with what is observed or heard. So those who perceive ugliness as if it was beauty, naturally possess that same inner ugliness which resonates in harmony with the ugliness they observe.

Exactly the same principle holds for truth and lies where lies are perceived as truth to a liar.

This principle is true because we are subjective beings who can only subjectively react to objective reality.

And whether our subjective thoughts, emotions, and the actions which arise from them, agree or disagree with objective reality is totally our own personal individual free choice.

You don't seem to understand what "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" means. It doesn't mean that beauty is objective...

Just to be clear... you are describing your own view, and not mine.

In my view, beauty is indeed objective. And it is our subjective reactions to objective reality which either agree or disagree with it. Perceived beauty does reside in the eye of the beholder, and that subjectively perceived beauty can either agree with or disagree with the reality of objective beauty.

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What do you make of a person who thinks something is beautiful that you think is ugly?

Just that it is only possible for one of us to subjectively agree with objective reality.
Let me guess: your subjective opinions always "agree with objective reality." Is that right?

No.

I only said that when one person perceives beauty where another perceives ugliness,

it is only possible for one of them to agree with objective reality.

Baal: Are "ugly" and "beautiful" terms that can carry a truth value?

Only for those who value the beauty of truth.

I think the idea here would be to actually answer Baal's question by providing substance to back up your position,

I did.

"Ugly" and "beautiful" can only carry a truth value for people who value the objective beauty of truth.

For those who do not, "ugly" and "beautiful" have no relation to it.

I'm only stating my subjective opinion and describing exactly how it differs from the subjective opinions of others. Everyone has a different subjective opinion about objective reality.

I'm simply stating that none of our subjective opinions possesses the power to alter the untouchable truth of objective reality. We can only freely choose either to agree or to disagree with it.

Do you understand that you're being challenged to demonstrate objective truth value of beauty...

Only the real world consequences you yourself set into motion by your own actions have the power demonstrate the objective truth of reality... and only to you and no one else. Truth is non transferrable. In contrast... lies flow like water from liars to those who love lies.

Wherever you find ugly art... There you will find ugly people.

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I am not among the philosophical adept here, but isn't this solipsism?

(wiki) solipsism is the philosophical idea that only one's own mind is sure to exist. As an epistemological position, solipsism holds that knowledge of anything outside one's own mind is unsure.

I'm saying just the opposite...

Reality is what's there whether or not you see it.

There is nothing more unworthy of trust than thought and emotion.

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The opposite? Treacherous emotion says you are doing it with mirrors.

Yes. Opposite.

"Solipsism says that that only one's own mind is sure to exist."

I'm saying that nothing can be more deceitful than the thoughts in one's own mind... and what is deceitful is not real.

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Only the real world consequences you yourself set into motion by your own actions have the power demonstrate the objective truth of reality... and only to you and no one else. Truth is non transferrable. In contrast... lies flow like water from liars to those who love lies.

Wherever you find ugly art... There you will find ugly people.

When I used to teach mathematics and logic I transferred truth several times a week.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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What do you make of a person who thinks something is beautiful that you think is ugly?

Just that it is only possible for one of us to subjectively agree with objective reality.
Let me guess: your subjective opinions always "agree with objective reality." Is that right?

No.

Do you realize that in answering in the negative, you're admitting, based on your previous comments on "internal resonance," to sometimes having a mistaken affinity with that which is not beautiful, and therefore to possessing an inner ugliness which resonates with the ugliness that you observe and which you misidentify as beautiful?

J

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