Ellen Stuttle

Michelle Marder Kamhi's "Who Says That's Art?"

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http://www.openculture.com/2015/12/immanuel-kants-life-philosophy-introduced-in-a-short-monty-python-style-animation.html

 

 

Kant lived in a time when “the identifying feature of his age was its growing secularism.” De Botton contends that while Kant welcomed the decline of traditional religion, he also feared the consequences; as “a pessimist about human character,” Kant “believed that we are by nature intensely prone to corruption.” His solution was to “replace religious authority with the authority of reason.” The project occupied all of Kant’s career, from his work on political philosophy to that on aesthetics in the Critique of Pure Judgment. And though philosophers have for centuries had difficulty making Kant’s ethics work, his dense, difficult writing has nevertheless occupied a central place in Western thought. In his defense of the authority of reason, Kant provided us with one of the most comprehensive means for understanding how exactly human reason works—and for recognizing its many limitations.

 

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Earlier on this thread we had discussed the Rolling Stones' Paint it Black. Last night, while watching Sunday night football, I saw a commercial for Call of Duty: Black Ops III which includes the song. It's all action and adventure, just as I had described the effects of the music on me and others. So, obviously, the advertising people who put the clip together were "objectively" wrong, just like I was, and were "rationalizing" what they took the song to express.

Here's the clip:

J

Honestly though, that's one of the worlds most awesome songs. Seriously!

I've loved it since I could remember, and my dad used to play in i his car whenever we went somewhere (he's of the generation where The Stones where something new).

Speaking of art though, have you guys seen much of what good advertising studios put out? Because, that stuff is so fucking mindblowiningly impressive. Imagine having, say, one minute of video where you have to put in great dramaturgy, music and visual to directly sell whatever product it is you have.

I don't think most people reflect over it, but for those of us with a little bit of art background and insight into the business it's so incredibly impressive.

A few years ago, in school, we actually did a small comcercial for a big toy company. Everyone was really happy and proud about it, but despite our best efforts it got rejected. If I remember correctly it was because it did not sell the product fast enough - we failed to hook any potential costumers right away. And they were, of course, complete right.

I believe that today you'll find the greatest artists in the enterainment industry or advertising. There's so much incredible talent in these fields, and they're just growing bigger and bigger.

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Jonathan,

Call of Duty?

Ha!

I'm in a weird mood, so I can almost see someone arguing that "Paint it Black" is used for that movie by twisting around a Randian argument against Kant, that the song is suitable because the movie is premised Kant's moral elevation of duty qua duty--just look at the title!

Black = duty = death premise and so on...

:)

Michael

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Brant writes:

For me the song works with a Vietnam video.

For me the song only worked when I was in Vietnam. :wink:

Greg

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Jonathan,

Call of Duty?

Ha!

I'm in a weird mood, so I can almost see someone arguing that "Paint it Black" is used for that movie by twisting around a Randian argument against Kant, that the song is suitable because the movie is premised Kant's moral elevation of duty qua duty--just look at the title!

Black = duty = death premise and so on...

:smile:

Michael

Oh yeah. Rand made "duty" into a dirty word, so if you use it even in the context of someone's having chosen a profession which includes certain duties, I'm sure many of her dumber followers would still have fits over the word. It's like the word "subjective." Some of Rand's followers seem to want to believe that it always means something bad, and therefore they never have subjective responses. It's amazing how irrational some of them can be in acting out of duty to Rand.

J

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Earlier on this thread we had discussed the Rolling Stones' Paint it Black. Last night, while watching Sunday night football, I saw a commercial for Call of Duty: Black Ops III which includes the song. It's all action and adventure, just as I had described the effects of the music on me and others. So, obviously, the advertising people who put the clip together were "objectively" wrong, just like I was, and were "rationalizing" what they took the song to express.

Here's the clip:

J

Honestly though, that's one of the worlds most awesome songs. Seriously!

I've loved it since I could remember, and my dad used to play in i his car whenever we went somewhere (he's of the generation where The Stones where something new).

Speaking of art though, have you guys seen much of what good advertising studios put out? Because, that stuff is so fucking mindblowiningly impressive. Imagine having, say, one minute of video where you have to put in great dramaturgy, music and visual to directly sell whatever product it is you have.

I don't think most people reflect over it, but for those of us with a little bit of art background and insight into the business it's so incredibly impressive.

A few years ago, in school, we actually did a small comcercial for a big toy company. Everyone was really happy and proud about it, but despite our best efforts it got rejected. If I remember correctly it was because it did not sell the product fast enough - we failed to hook any potential costumers right away. And they were, of course, complete right.

I believe that today you'll find the greatest artists in the enterainment industry or advertising. There's so much incredible talent in these fields, and they're just growing bigger and bigger.

Totally!

And that's an area where I disagree with Rand and her followers. Art can serve utilitarian purposes in addition to being art.

J

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I've been enjoying jousting with Kamhi on her blog, under the post titled Jousting with Mark Rothko’s Son.

Heh. I don't think that she's enjoying it so much, since she's begun to dodge and evade, and has deleted a post of mine with the complaint that it was too long and that it digressed from the topic at hand (her criticism of Rothko's theory).

I agree that my post was long-winded, but its points were anything but a digression. Instead, they went straight to the heart of the matter.

I've condensed my criticisms and challenges from that post, and reposted the concise version to her blog's comments section. Hopefully she'll leave it up this time and provide some answers.

Just in case she takes it down, here's the post:

Quote

Ah, I see. A post of mine was deleted for being too long-winded. My apologies. Please allow me to condense my criticisms/challenges as concisely as I can:

1. If your argument does not boil down to your basing your claims of others’ “depth of meaningful response” on nothing but your own personal lack of response, then please identify the objective method that you’ve used to scientifically measure others’ depth-of-meaning responses to the art forms in which you personally experience little or no depth-of-meaning.

2. Please post the data and results of such objective testing methods and experiments so that we may analyze and review the research, weight its merits, and criticize any potential errors.

3. Please reveal experiments in which you’ve tested people’s ability to identify "artists’ meanings” in works of art which you have accepted as validly qualifying as art by your own criteria. Please objectively demonstrate that any work of alleged art has been objectively shown to comply with your criteria. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I’ve tested many Objectivists with representational paintings, and none, so far, has succeeded in identifying “artist’s meanings.” Have your tests yielded better results?

4. You suggest that, since some viewers “misread" Rothko’s intentions with his art, then it therefore surely indicates that there was something wanting in his approach. In the deleted post of mine, I identified ways in which people have interpreted Rand’s The Fountainhead much differently than she intended, and they did so based on the objectively identifiably content in the novel (Roark’s violating his own morality by working on a project to which he is morally opposed, his conspiring to commit the fraud of passing off his work as someone else’s in order to subvert the rights of the owners to not hire him, his presenting the false and irrational argument in court that a contract that he did not have with the owners was violated by them when the reality was that he actively hid his involvement in the project from them, etc.).  Applying your own method that you just used on Rothko, shouldn’t we conclude that people’s “misreading” of Rand’s intentions also “surely indicate that there was something wanting in [her] approach [to literary/aesthetic theory]”? 

Again, I apologize for the length of the deleted post.

Jonathan Smith

J

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Hahahaha!!!!

As soon as I finished posting the above, I went back to Kamhi's blog and discovered that my post had been deleted.

Pitiful.

J

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5 hours ago, Jonathan said:

I've been enjoying jousting with Kamhi on her blog, under the post titled Jousting with Mark Rothko’s Son.

Heh. I don't think that she's enjoying it so much, since she's begun to dodge and evade, and has deleted a post of mine with the complaint that it was too long and that it digressed from the topic at hand (her criticism of Rothko's theory).

I agree that my post was long-winded, but its points were anything but a digression. Instead, they went straight to the heart of the matter.

I've condensed my criticisms and challenges from that post, and reposted the concise version to her blog's comments section. Hopefully she'll leave it up this time and provide some answers.

Just in case she takes it down, here's the post:

J

The "owners" were government looters and agents. Still, your criticism of Roark stands.

That was Randianism, her true philosophy back then, not "Objectivism." An Objectivist should not have done what Roark did. Naughty, naughty.

--Brant

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The true owners were the taxpayers. Surely many of them didn't want the project to exist in the first place, and even those who did wouldn't have wanted Roark working on it.

J

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I subscribe to updates from Michelle Marder Kamhi's blog.  She has a very interesting new post up:

Lively NAEA Debate on ‘Who Says That’s Art?’
 March 12, 2017 /  Michelle Kamhi /  About 'Who Says That's Art?', Art Education

Quote

“Resolved that there is much useful to be learned from Kamhi’s 2014 book, and that this book can be profitably read and studied by art educators at any level of their professional development.”

That resolution—proposed by Distinguished NAEA Fellow David Pariser—prompted lively debate at the 2017 conference of the National Art Education Association in New York earlier this month. The clear consensus that emerged affirmed Pariser’s resolution.

The three debate panelists were Lorrie Blair, Amy Brook Snider, and Anna Kindler, all with decades of experience in the field. Though by no means agreeing with every point in the book, two of the three panelists enthusiastically endorsed Pariser’s resolution—a sentiment reinforced by all but one of the audience members who participated in discussion following the panelists’ comments.

Kicking off the debate, Blair argued that the book “gets us out of the echo chamber” of like-minded ideas that tend to dominate peer-reviewed publications in the field. As an example, she cited the comment posted by Paul Duncum (a prominent art educator) on the book’s Amazon.com page. Her own first impulse on reading Who Says That’s Art?, Blair frankly confessed with some humor, had been to wish she could simply “unfriend the author” and thereby erase me and my ideas from memory. But on reflection she acknowledged that the book would have the salutary effect of piercing the art-education “filter bubble.” She therefore wholeheartedly endorsed its use, and thereby joined the ranks of courageous academics meriting praise for fostering healthy debate in academia.

[...]

 

 

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They didn't have Metallica "For Whom The Bell Tolls" when Vietnam was going on but ifffff they didddddd America would have won!

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On 3/16/2017 at 5:19 PM, Jules Troy said:

They didn't have Metallica "For Whom The Bell Tolls" when Vietnam was going on but ifffff they didddddd America would have won!

We weren't trying to win. That's why I went back to civilian life in 1967. Boy, was I ever right!

--Brant

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I think I’ve made some headway with Michelle Kamhi!

I posted some comments on her blog...

http://www.mmkamhi.com/2017/08/07/how-not-to-teach-art-history/#comments

...and, to her credit, she has allowed most of them to stay! She only deleted a couple of my posts at the end of the conversation!

(One post of mine that she deleted went into greater detail about the fact that Objectivists have failed when I’ve challenged them to identify intended meanings in realist visual art, as well as in music, while allowing them access to only the “content of the work” and depriving them of all external information, or what Rand called “outside considerations.”  The other post revealed that Kamhi had joined those Objectivists in failing to identify "artists’ meanings” in the column of paintings that I had given to her as examples.  I reiterated that she has not objectively demonstrated that anything has ever qualified as art by her criteria -- the criteria that she insists on imposing on abstract art, but which she never actually applies to the art forms that she nevertheless asserts are valid.  I was critical of her position that I must demonstrate that whatever meaning that I interpreted an abstract work to convey actually matched the artist’s intended meaning, but that she exempts herself from the same standard: When she interprets a realistic work of visual art, or of music, to have a certain meaning, she feels no need whatsoever to verify that it was what the artist intended, but just assumes that whatever pops into her head naturally must be the "correct” interpretation. She has never actually applied the same standards, to art forms that she arbitrarily accepts, that she insists on applying to artworks that she rejects).

Anyway, the interesting thing to me is that she appears to have changed her position somewhat. She seems to be beginning to grasp my criticisms. Some of it is getting through!

She seems to be starting to abandon the belief that her aesthetic judgments are “objective,” and has opted instead for “intersubjective."

It’s unfortunate that she had to revert to wiping reality out of existence via deleting a couple of my posts right when the conversation was demonstrating her inability to meet her own criteria when viewing works of art, but I guess old habits and irrational defense mechanisms die hard. At least some progress was made!

J

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Another choice for one of the best songs ever? Duran Duran singing "Ordinary World." It is beautiful.

Peter

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5 hours ago, Peter said:

Another choice for one of the best songs ever?

Moon River.

A love song not to a human, but to wanderlust.

:)

Michael

 

EDIT: It just occurred to me. Is this even relevant to this thread? :) I just saw Breakfast at Tiffany's for the first time maybe two hours ago and "Moon River" was on my mind, so I just blurted it out. :) 

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14 hours ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

Moon River.

A love song not to a human, but to wanderlust.

:)

Michael

 

EDIT: It just occurred to me. Is this even relevant to this thread? :) I just saw Breakfast at Tiffany's for the first time maybe two hours ago and "Moon River" was on my mind, so I just blurted it out. :) 

I thought "BATiff's" was gag worthy (if I am not mixing it up with something else) when I saw it. I like the song "Moon River." it is a classic.

Watch the video with "Ordinary World" as you listen to the song, and you will see it is about two people in love, who "disagree" and split up. But neither ever forgets the other, not even when the lady friend is getting married to someone else: sad, but instructive in a mourning, life lasting sense. Thank goodness I was never so silly. I wish Spielberg would redo the video for Duran Duran. Oddly, "Ordinary World" was going through my head as I got on the computer this morning and suddenly it was playing on the TV too! 

My wife and I are watching our second grader this morning, (now afternoon,)  and she is suddenly into Superman and has "his stuffed dog" named Krypto. I tried to explain to her that Superman would never name his dog after a substance that cripples him. But she insists her stuffed animal is named Krypto. She knows our real life cat is named Sparks after the main character in the movie "Contact," and she promised to watch it when she is older.  

Peter

     

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34 minutes ago, Peter said:

My wife and I are watching our second grader this morning, (now afternoon,)  and she is suddenly into Superman and has "his stuffed dog" named Krypto. I tried to explain to her that Superman would never name his dog after a substance that cripples him.

But Superboy would...

krypto.jpg

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1 hour ago, Peter said:

Watch the video with "Ordinary World" as you listen to the song, and you will see it is about two people in love, who "disagree" and split up.

Peter,

If you just listen to the words and analyze them, "Moon River" is a love song to a river. But I'm not sure this has anything at all to do with what you are talking about.

:)

Michael

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3 hours ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

Peter,

If you just listen to the words and analyze them, "Moon River" is a love song to a river. But I'm not sure this has anything at all to do with what you are talking about.

:)

Michael

Oh. I am being obtuse and infringing on a thread . . . . from off the top of my head. Thanks too, to ThatGuy. I will show that comic book cover to my granddaughter the next time she is over. Superboy really named the dog Krypto? That is like naming a cat, "Poisonous if taken without alcohol."  

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Auntie Kamhi has a brand new criterion for art! Or, I should say, she has a new criterion for screeching "NOT ART!" Made up out of thin art, and in total contradiction to her own and Rand's criteria.

In the comments section at her bossypants blog, she writes,

"Thanks to my brother-in-law, a former Spanish teacher, I find that Gloria’s comment means: If anybody can do it, it is not art. I couldn’t agree more!"

I added a comment, which awaits her moderation and therefore will not be posted publicly (Auntie can't handle my criticisms, and has taken to just evading and blanking them out):

 

Quote

 

“If anybody can do it, it is not art. I couldn’t agree more!”

What an irrational position to take!

It’s as irrational as saying that if anyone can write, then it’s not writing, or that if anyone can dribble and shoot a ball, then it’s not basketball.

Ms Kamhi, you’ve apparently gotten so lost in your addiction to the glee that you experience in shouting that things are not art that you’ve totally abandoned objectivity. A novice can create very unskilled, bad art at a level that “anybody can do,” and yet it would still qualify as art by your own stated criteria, as well as Rand’s.

Besides, anybody can do what Gauguin did. His work didn’t take much skill. Yet you accept it as being valid art.

So, please, try to bring some objectivity and consistency to your aesthetic views. Come on, you know better than to make such foolish arguments.

 

 

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Has anyone heard anything from or about Louis Torres? Is he still alive? Is he still married to co-bossypants Auntie Kamhi?

I haven't seen any bossypants comments from him at any of the sites that he used to haunt. Auntie is still getting out there and being as abrasive and bossypantsed as ever, but I aint seen hide nor hair of Lou. I hope he's well, and still has many years of angry devotion to Ayn Rand and to the belief that his and Kamhi's aesthetic tastes and interpretations are "objective" and that their aesthetic limitations are the universal limit of all mankind. I really miss his pompous, irrational rants and his inability to answer my criticisms and challenges.

J

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4 hours ago, Jonathan said:

Has anyone heard anything from or about Louis Torres?

Jonathan,

I found this reference on the Aristos site for October 2018:

Quote

CURRENT NEWS

10/7: Wyeth, a documentary film on the life and work of Andrew Wyeth (1917-2009) in the PBS American Masters series. Among the numerous paintings in the documentary are all but two of the dozen portraits featured in Louis Torres's forthcoming article "Andrew Wyeth's Black Models: 'Close Friends' or 'Oppressed' Neighbors?." 

According to Torres's bio, he's working on a new book called Trust Betrayed about art museum trustees. He also likes the literature of the guy who wrote Shane, Jack Schaefer.

I suppose someday I'm going to have to get into his work. I was completely turned off by him a few years ago when I read his gratuitously hostile exchanges with Denis Dutton. I would have to go back and reread that crap to give details, but my impression at the time was that he made no effort--none at all--to understand what Dutton was saying, but instead preferred to bash a strawman of his own design with Dutton's name slapped on it.

I'm not even sure I agree with Dutton (The Art Instinct) on many of his ideas. I want to finish reading his book first. But Dutton does provide an interesting evolutionary perspective and plenty of things to think about. 

I've mostly stayed away from the Torres and Kamhi corner of O-Land. Everytime I see a discussion of them on OL (or elsewhere), I get the feeling a lot of brainpower is being extended to a flawed premise of why humans do art. Sort of like arguing the scientific merits of different schools of phrenology that are hostile to each other or something like that. :) 

But, to be fair, if I am going to read Dutton before engaging his ideas critically, I need to read Torres and Kamhi before doing the same.

Michael

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9 minutes ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

Jonathan,

I found this reference on the Aristos site for October 2018:

According to Torres's bio, he's working on a new book called Trust Betrayed about art museum trustees. He also likes the literature of the guy who wrote Shane, Jack Schaefer.

I suppose someday I'm going to have to get into his work. I was completely turned off by him a few years ago when I read his gratuitously hostile exchanges with Denis Dutton. I would have to go back and reread that crap to give details, but my impression at the time was that he made no effort--none at all--to understand what Dutton was saying, but instead preferred to bash a strawman of his own design with Dutton's name slapped on it.

I'm not even sure I agree with Dutton (The Art Instinct) on many of his ideas. I want to finish reading his book first. But Dutton does provide an interesting evolutionary perspective and plenty of things to think about. 

I've mostly stayed away from the Torres and Kamhi corner of O-Land. Everytime I see a discussion of them on OL (or elsewhere), I get the feeling a lot of brainpower is being extended to a flawed premise of why humans do art. Sort of like arguing the scientific merits of different schools of phrenology that are hostile to each other or something like that. :) 

But, to be fair, if I am going to read Dutton before engaging his ideas critically, I need to read Torres and Kamhi before doing the same.

Michael

Thanks.

And, yeah, I think you have a pretty accurate view of Torres. Kamhi too.

They're both wily enough to aggressively confront others with criticisms while bluffing but knowing that they are pretty safe from having their bluffs called. It's very easy for people, including those at Dutton's level, to be blitzkrieged by T&K's bald assertions of what is capable of being "intelligible," "communicated," and "meaningful" in alleged art forms, and not being familiar enough with their tactics to throw everything right back at them and demand the same proofs and evidence of their own assertions of works or entire genres qualifying as art by their own criteria. Dutton slowly began to catch a glimpse of the notion that he needed to throw it back at Torres, and when he did, Torres dodged it. He simply asked, "By the way, exactly what reality is 're-created' in a Bach fugue?" Torres didn't go anywhere near that one. Dutton, I think, was probably too busy to spend any more time with it, and didn't hold Torres' feet to the fire, and he just let it go. To this day, as far as I know, he has never answered Dutton's question, or even had the bravery to acknowledge its significance.

Anyway, the bluffs have been called, and ignoring them hasn't been working.

I was hoping to hear that Torres might be back in the saddle, and would willing to address all of the points that he and Kamhi have dodged. Alas, it appears not.

J

J

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