Painting Frank O. Bought A.R.


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> Objectivists are generally no more informed about art than others, nor are they more sensitive to what is or is not good art.

Yes they are. They don't believe throwing gobs of paint at a canvas is art, or twisted scrap metal in front of a building, or movies with no plot or mindless explosions instead of a story, or stream of consciousness and porno jokes as the body and purpose of a work of literature.

So whatever they will support or prefer will by that fact alone be more 'informed'.

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> Objectivists are generally no more informed about art than others, nor are they more sensitive to what is or is not good art.

Yes they are. They don't believe throwing gobs of paint at a canvas is art, or twisted scrap metal in front of a building, or movies with no plot or mindless explosions instead of a story, or stream of consciousness and porno jokes as the body and purpose of a work of literature.

The above is a good example of what I'm talking about. Phil doesn't like certain types of art, so, therefore, he asserts that they're not art. It's a very irrational approach to aesthetics that's not uncommon among Objectivists. I guess it's somewhat understandable since Rand herself was sometimes the same way -- she sometimes just as whimsically categorized things as either art or non-art regardless of whether or not they met her definition and criteria. Like Phil, Objectivism can be rather arbitrary and uninformed in its aesthetics.

So whatever they will support or prefer will by that fact alone be more 'informed'.

I see. There's no need to actually know anything about a subject. If Phil and those who share his ignorance of a subject feel that their opinions are right, then that's proof that they're right, and that they're therefore more "informed" than people who have actually studied the subject. People who have spent decades immersed in the expressiveness of a given medium couldn't possibly know something about it that Objectivists like Phil haven't grasped while doing their best to avoid learning anything that might contradict the opinions that Rand told them to have.

J

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Subject: Deciding Whom to Debate With

1. > Phil doesn't like certain types of art, so, therefore, he asserts that they're not art.

2. > doing their best to avoid learning anything that might contradict the opinions that Rand told them to have.

3. > no need to actually know anything about a subject...his ignorance of a subject

4. > feel that their opinions are right, then that's proof that they're right

The above four quotes from his last post are a good example of why, of all the posters on this board, Jonathan is probably the one who, in my opinion seems the least fair, least honorable. And thus whom I am least inclined to "debate". (In case you are wondering why I will often just post "troll ignored".)

1. The first is a "sophist" smear and distortion, trying to slide past the fact, agree with them or not, that Rand / Objectivist literature gives *arguments* about what is or is not art. It's this which makes it improper to claim it is just about what I or she *like*. The switching of the concept to the subjective "like" by someone who knows better and has read the literature lacks honor and integrity.

2. The second: "doing their best to avoid" is a psychologizing about motives which is unwarranted. And Rand "told them to have" manages to cleverly combine in only four words psychologizing about someone's reasons for a statement (me - and others whom he doesn't know)and a repetition of the unjustified claim that Rand merely claims or tells people what to believe about art without making an argument, offering lots of examples, and writing a whole anthology of essays about it. So J, manages to smear simultaneously! me, a lot of other Oists, Rand, and the whole concept of their being standards of value and objectivity in art.

3. The third simply claims that his opponent knows nothing about the whole field. Without attempting to ascertain how much he has seen or read. It's simply another arbitrary (and disingenuous)claim.

4. The fourth repeats the idea that the Objectivist position on good art, bad art, non art is based on "feelings" rather than any reasoned argument. This is a smear, similar to those of any opponent of Oism in the wider culture who would like to pretend that the book the "Romantic Manifesto" was never written or its arguments were never made rather than trying to name Rand's arguments. Or argue against her examples.

I've had good debates with opponents of some parts of Objectivism (for example my two debates with George H. Smith, at Laissez-Faire Books and at a TAS Summer Conference on anarcho-capitalism vs. limited constitutional government). But the first requirement has to be that they be honorable -- willing to correctly state (or be willing to read or learn) the actual arguments.

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A predication - what an unfair or disingenuous debater might do: Go back and 'cherry pick' The Romantic Manifesto, hungrily looking for an instance where he can claim Ayn Rand "whimsically categorized things as either art or non-art regardless of whether or not they met her definition and criteria".

And then misrepresent all the essays as being simply like that: Feelings, opinions, whimsy without arguments.

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Subject: Deciding Whom to Debate With

1. > Phil doesn't like certain types of art, so, therefore, he asserts that they're not art.

2. > doing their best to avoid learning anything that might contradict the opinions that Rand told them to have.

3. > no need to actually know anything about a subject...his ignorance of a subject

4. > feel that their opinions are right, then that's proof that they're right

The above four quotes from his last post are a good example of why, of all the posters on this board, Jonathan is probably the one who, in my opinion seems the least fair, least honorable. And thus whom I am least inclined to "debate". (In case you are wondering why I will often just post "troll ignored".)

1. The first is a "sophist" smear and distortion, trying to slide past the fact, agree with them or not, that Rand / Objectivist literature gives *arguments* about what is or is not art. It's this which makes it improper to claim it is just about what I or she *like*. The switching of the concept to the subjective "like" by someone who knows better and has read the literature lacks honor and integrity.

2. The second: "doing their best to avoid" is a psychologizing about motives which is unwarranted. And Rand "told them to have" manages to cleverly combine in only four words psychologizing about someone's reasons for a statement (me - and others whom he doesn't know)and a repetition of the unjustified claim that Rand merely claims or tells people what to believe about art without making an argument, offering lots of examples, and writing a whole anthology of essays about it. So J, manages to smear simultaneously! me, a lot of other Oists, Rand, and the whole concept of their being standards of value and objectivity in art.

3. The third simply claims that his opponent knows nothing about the whole field. Without attempting to ascertain how much he has seen or read. It's simply another arbitrary (and disingenuous)claim.

4. The fourth repeats the idea that the Objectivist position on good art, bad art, non art is based on "feelings" rather than any reasoned argument. This is a smear, similar to those of any opponent of Oism in the wider culture who would like to pretend that the book the "Romantic Manifesto" was never written or its arguments were never made rather than trying to name Rand's arguments. Or argue against her examples.

I've had good debates with opponents of some parts of Objectivism (for example my two debates with George H. Smith, at Laissez-Faire Books and at a TAS Summer Conference on anarcho-capitalism vs. limited constitutional government). But the first requirement has to be that they be honorable -- willing to correctly state (or be willing to read or learn) the actual arguments.

I rather agree...

further, there is this to consider -

While many examples are given of various artists and their works showing those who have made a financial success of trading their works, not all have - indeed, a number of highly creative artists never acquire the means of achieving their material well-being thru just their creativity... does this mean anything in the way of failure?

No

...because while the basic reason a person needs be productive is to meet the needs for material values, and normally this is thru trade as means of payment for the work - this is not always the case... money is not the only type of material value, and not all work that creates material value is well compensated in the market... thus a person may need be making the money at a less productive, relatively undemanding job, in order to enable the more rewarding and challenging and productive work - in this case being that of the artist... this is often, perhaps especially so, when the artist as creator has blazed a new direction in creating, showing work which requires more conscious attention to being appreciated, or appeals to a more selective set of viewers... this does not detract from it being productive work, only that the burden of being able to achieve the creating may be harder than otherwise, a situation which, to the creator having the success of the creating, is, relatively speaking, small and unimportant...

It is the doing, the creating, the visualizing which is the productive and thus the important - and in that regard, the success of being...

In other words, 'the garret' is a straw dog...

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The above four quotes from his last post are a good example of why, of all the posters on this board, Jonathan is probably the one who, in my opinion seems the least fair, least honorable. And thus whom I am least inclined to "debate". (In case you are wondering why I will often just post "troll ignored".)

Way to psychologize, Phil, you dishonorable psychologizer.

1. The first is a "sophist" smear and distortion, trying to slide past the fact, agree with them or not, that Rand / Objectivist literature gives *arguments* about what is or is not art. It's this which makes it improper to claim it is just about what I or she *like*. The switching of the concept to the subjective "like" by someone who knows better and has read the literature lacks honor and integrity.

I have indeed read Rand. She liked architecture, so she accepted it as a valid art form despite explicitly stating that it didn't meet her definition or criteria. On the other hand, she didn't like abstract art, despite the fact that its forms are no more non-representation than those of architecture, and no less expressive. She liked music, so she accepted it as art despite recognizing that it doesn't have an objective "conceptual vocabulary" and doesn't objectively communicate, which happen to be the grounds on which she rejected art forms that she didn't like.

Phil, if the Objectivist Esthetics is never whimsical, irrational or arbitrary, perhaps you could explain to me how it is that art must re-create reality and be representational and intelligible, not to mention non-utilitarian, yet two of the major art forms are still considered art despite the fact that Rand admits that they don't meet her definition or criteria.

2. The second: "doing their best to avoid" is a psychologizing about motives which is unwarranted.

Are you saying that you've actually studied the aesthetic theories and compositional techniques of the artists whose works you've dismissed as non-art? When I and millions of other people say that we can get as much out of abstract art as you and Rand could get out of a non-objective art form like music, wouldn't you be engaged in "psychologizing" if you were to deny our responses and claim that we were charlatans trying to pass of meaningless crap as art?

And Rand "told them to have" manages to cleverly combine in only four words psychologizing about someone's reasons for a statement (me - and others whom he doesn't know)and a repetition of the unjustified claim that Rand merely claims or tells people what to believe about art without making an argument, offering lots of examples, and writing a whole anthology of essays about it.

Well, you seemed to be largely parroting Rand. Could you give some examples of where you disagree with Rand's aesthetics, thus demonstrating some independent thinking on the issue?

So J, manages to smear simultaneously! me, a lot of other Oists, Rand, and the whole concept of their being standards of value and objectivity in art.

One can't assert that there are objective aesthetic standards while allowing one's favorite non-objective art forms to remain classified as art and, at the same time, angrily rejecting the non-objective art forms that one dislikes. For example, it's whimsical to accept a non-objective aural art form as legitimate while rejecting non-objective visual art forms on the basis that they're non-objective. It's arbitrary to accept one type of non-objective art while asserting that other types are an attempt to "destroy the very concept of art." It is irrational, contradictory and inconsistent to apply different standards and criteria to the art forms that one likes versus the art forms that one dislikes, and it's not a "smear" for me to identify the irrationality and inconsistency.

3. The third simply claims that his opponent knows nothing about the whole field. Without attempting to ascertain how much he has seen or read. It's simply another arbitrary (and disingenuous)claim.

No, it's not arbitrary. My views are based on having read your opinions during the past eight to ten years. There have even been times when you've directly told me that you have very little technical interest in the field of art and aesthetics.

4. The fourth repeats the idea that the Objectivist position on good art, bad art, non art is based on "feelings" rather than any reasoned argument. This is a smear, similar to those of any opponent of Oism in the wider culture who would like to pretend that the book the "Romantic Manifesto" was never written or its arguments were never made rather than trying to name Rand's arguments. Or argue against her examples.

Again, if Objectivist positions aren't based on feelings, I'd appreciate it if you could explain how art is a "re-creation of reality" but some art forms don't have to re-create reality. Could you explain why some works of art must be representational, intelligible and must communicate, and why other works don't have to meet those criteria? While you're at it, could you explain how if art serves "no practical, material end, but is an end in itself," and "it serves no purpose other than contemplation," and "utilitarian objects cannot be classified as works of art," architecture is art according to the Objectivist Esthetics?

I've had good debates with opponents of some parts of Objectivism (for example my two debates with George H. Smith, at Laissez-Faire Books and at a TAS Summer Conference on anarcho-capitalism vs. limited constitutional government). But the first requirement has to be that they be honorable -- willing to correctly state (or be willing to read or learn) the actual arguments.

I've given you plenty to address above. Let's see if you're honorable enough to answer my questions and address my points.

A predication - what an unfair or disingenuous debater might do: Go back and 'cherry pick' The Romantic Manifesto, hungrily looking for an instance where he can claim Ayn Rand "whimsically categorized things as either art or non-art regardless of whether or not they met her definition and criteria".

One need not "cherry pick." Rand wrote a novel glorifying an art form which is non-objective and non-art by her own stated definitions and criteria.

And then misrepresent all the essays as being simply like that: Feelings, opinions, whimsy without arguments.

Phil, now you've gone beyond merely being dishonorable. Now you're outright lying. I didn't say or even imply that all of Rand's essays on aesthetics were whimsy. In fact, I very clearly said that sometimes Rand's ideas on aesthetics were whimsical or arbitrary.

J

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When I and millions of other people say that we can get as much out of abstract art as you and Rand could get out of a non-objective art form like music, wouldn't you be engaged in "psychologizing" if you were to deny our responses and claim that we were charlatans trying to pass of meaningless crap as art?

Jonathan,

Well, you could be a whim-worshiping, death-premise-driven second-hander with a cunning, gutted and putrid subhuman drooling obscenity inside your skull where your soul should be.

:)

Michael

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Jonathan:

What's a little selective retention and selective distortion amongst objectivists!

It never ceases to amaze me.

Adam

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Did Rand ever "explicitly stat[e] that [architecture] didn't meet her definition or criteria [for art]?" She gave a definition of art that, as Torres and Kahmhi have noted, would appear to exclude architecture, but that isn't the same as her drawing this conclusion.

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Did Rand ever "explicitly stat[e] that [architecture] didn't meet her definition or criteria [for art]?"

Yes, she did. She defined art as a "re-creation of reality," and then she stated that architecture "does not re-create reality." One of her criteria for art was that "it serves no practical, material end, but is an end in itself; it serves no purpose other than contemplation," and, therefore, she concluded that "utilitarian objects cannot be classified as works of art." Yet buildings serve practical, material ends and purposes other than contemplation, and despite recognizing that architecture serves a "utilitarian purpose," she classified it as an art form. She even went so far as to invent a special class of art in which architecture was placed by itself -- the class of artworks which do not re-create reality and are utilitarian.

Another of her criteria was that "a work of art has to be representational; its freedom of stylization is limited by the requirement of intelligibility; if it does not present an intelligible subject, it ceases to be art." Architecture, as well as music, is not "representational" and does not present "intelligible subjects," at least not by the standards that Rand used to reject other art forms.

J

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Well, you could be a whim-worshiping, death-premise-driven second-hander with a cunning, gutted and putrid subhuman drooling obscenity inside your skull where your soul should be.

:)

Michael

That would explain a lot of things, like why I enjoy going around kicking cute little kittens, duckies and bunnies, for example.

J

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Objectivist aesthetics is really like Objectivist psychology or Objectivist physics. No such thing. Doesn't mean Rand isn't well worth reading on the subject, as opposed to something she knew nothing about. I pity the painter who runs into Rand and "Objective art" who isn't first an accomplished artist in his own right. There is a huge difference between what we can label Objectivist philosophy and Objectivist culture. Rand mixed them up thoroughly into Objectivism, the philosophy of Ayn Rand--not the Peikoff book, which can't be Objectivism because Rand didn't write it or endorse it before she died (or did I get something wrong?).

--Brant

(edit) PS: The book is Objectivism unless it isn't which makes it unofficial Objectivism, unlike everything the Brandens published before the split.

Edited by Brant Gaede
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Well, you could be a whim-worshiping, death-premise-driven second-hander with a cunning, gutted and putrid subhuman drooling obscenity inside your skull where your soul should be.

smile.gif

Michael

That would explain a lot of things, like why I enjoy going around kicking cute little kittens, duckies and bunnies, for example.

J

I'd like to see this as a work of visual Dali-type art. Also, lots of the kicking too, but well muted in the background.

--Brant

negative sense of life(?)

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Did Rand ever "explicitly stat[e] that [architecture] didn't meet her definition or criteria [for art]?"

Yes, she did. She defined art as a "re-creation of reality," and then she stated that architecture "does not re-create reality." One of her criteria for art was that "it serves no practical, material end, but is an end in itself; it serves no purpose other than contemplation," and, therefore, she concluded that "utilitarian objects cannot be classified as works of art." Yet buildings serve practical, material ends and purposes other than contemplation, and despite recognizing that architecture serves a "utilitarian purpose," she classified it as an art form. She even went so far as to invent a special class of art in which architecture was placed by itself -- the class of artworks which do not re-create reality and are utilitarian.

Another of her criteria was that "a work of art has to be representational; its freedom of stylization is limited by the requirement of intelligibility; if it does not present an intelligible subject, it ceases to be art." Architecture, as well as music, is not "representational" and does not present "intelligible subjects," at least not by the standards that Rand used to reject other art forms.

J

Some of the biases displayed here are [1] the notion that 'crafts' as in utilitarian purposes is somehow a lesser aesthetics than fine art, [2] that 'art' means two fundamentally different concepts - the broad base of beauty [aesthetics] and 'fine art', that for contemplative purposes, [3] there are divisions of aesthetics - decorative arts, for instance, which, in confusion of 'art' is mistaken as a kind of 'fine art', the kind known as 'non-objective'... there are others...

Music is indeed re-presentational - but thru aural, not visual...

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> a whim-worshiping, death-premise-driven second-hander

> a cunning, gutted and putrid subhuman drooling obscenity

Damn. Forgot those two.

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Concerning #35:

That's what I thought. She implied this in the statements you cite, but she didn't explicitly say so as you claim. As far as I know Marder and Kamhi were the first to draw the conclusion and state it.

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Concerning #35:

That's what I thought. She implied this in the statements you cite, but she didn't explicitly say so as you claim. As far as I know Marder and Kamhi were the first to draw the conclusion and state it.

I thought this, long though it is, brought me up to speed quickly:

http://www.aristos.org/editors/critneg.pdf

Adam

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Jim: "I think that what talent needs less than patronage is mentorship. The biggest barrier to success is the inability to market and sell talent. Young people need to learn how to find an environment where they can make mistakes and not have them be fatal. Most of it is figuring out how to be in the right place, at the right time, with the right product and the right message."

Mentorship can be extremely valuable, but it won't do much good if the talented person does not, for financial reasons, have the free time to work in the field of his talent. I have in mind not just young people starting out, but, for instance,, writers I know who are able only sporadically to do the work they should be doing, who find the constant strain of not knowing where their next dollar is coming from enervating and depressing, but who are highly accomplished and knowledgeable and do not need mentorship. They only need free time. And free time requires money.

Jonathan: "As for what makes or breaks artists, I think it depends on the individual. Starving in a garret in the middle of a brutal war between two competing tyrannical factions might be just what one artist needs to find his voice, where comparatively milder obstacles would quickly make another artist give up."

In my experience, I have found that the only people who think starving in garret will help an arrtist find his voice, are those who have never had to starve in a garret and who do not have the least understanding of how miserable and debilitating it is. If am artist finds his voice in such circumstances, it is not because of the circumstances, it is in spite of them.

Jonathan: "Being aided by wealthy Objectivists who want to 'change the culture' by establishing arts foundations would probably result in a bunch of mediocre artists being motivated to remain mediocre as artists but to deliver the "right" moral message that their wealthy patrons wanted to hear.. .. Objectivists are generally no more informed about art than others, nor are they more sensitive to what is or is not good art. In fact, since Objectivists often tend to equate moral judgments of art with aesthetic judgments, I doubt that most Objectivists who made their money in non-art-related businesses would have much of a clue about which criteria to use in identifying who has talent worth nurturing and who doesn't, and I think that any Objectivist arts foundations would likely come across as people who know nothing about art presuming to try to buy some influence over those who do."

How many highly successful Objectivist businessmen do you know? From my experience,, which is quite wide, I would expect that businessmen in a position to establish such foundations would turn to accomplished artists (or scientists, or inventors. etc,; I had in mind founndatiions that would help talent not only in the arts) to make professional decisions about what constitutes significant ability in their fields. I do not share your apparent contempt for Objectivist bsinessmen; I have found them, for the most part, to be well aware of their own strenths and weakneses. Nor do I share your view of talented young people as Peter Keatings who would choose mediocrity rather than offend wealthy patrons.

Barbara

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How many highly successful Objectivist businessmen do you know?

I've known a few, but mostly through online correspondence.

From my experience, which is quite wide, I would expect that businessmen in a position to establish such foundations would turn to accomplished artists (or scientists, or inventors. etc,; I had in mind founndatiions that would help talent not only in the arts) to make professional decisions about what constitutes significant ability in their fields.

I think that's probably true of businessmen in general, but when you add Objectivism to the mix, I think it changes things. Objectivists, whether they're successful businessmen or not, tend to think that they've got quite an eye for aesthetics. They often believe that their tastes in art are "objectively superior," and believing in the objective superiority of their tastes seems to be very important to them, even when they admit to having very little knowledge or interest in art.

I do not share your apparent contempt for Objectivist bsinessmen;

I'm not at all contemptuous of Objectivist businessmen. It's not an expression of contempt to suspect (based on having met a few of them, and based on having met countless other Objectivists) that most of them probably don't have much of a clue about the arts, and to think that they would probably be more concerned with moral issues rather than aesthetic ones when funding the arts.

I have found them, for the most part, to be well aware of their own strenths and weakneses.

I haven't found them to be aware of their weaknesses, especially when it comes to the arts. In my experience, they seem to act as if their business success should somehow make their views on art carry more weight. And, again, add Objectivism to the mix, and the hubris is magnified -- Objectivists tend to act as if their having read Rand's views on art makes their views "objectively superior."

Nor do I share your view of talented young people as Peter Keatings who would choose mediocrity rather than offend wealthy patrons.

That's not my view. First of all, I wasn't referring to "talented young people," but to mediocre artists whose work presents the "right" moral message as determined by the type of Objectivists who would focus on moral rather than aesthetic evaluations of art. Secondly, it's not an issue of the artists choosing to remain mediocre so as not to offend their wealthy patrons, but of being rewarded to spread the "right" message with the goal of "changing the culture" rather than being nurtured to explore their craft and their own visions -- wherever their visions might take them, including where their patrons might not want them to go. Do you really think that Objectivist patrons would be willing to encourage that level of artistic freedom when funding the arts with the goal of "changing the culture"? I don't.

J

Edited by Jonathan
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Concerning #35:

That's what I thought. She implied this in the statements you cite, but she didn't explicitly say so as you claim.

Well, outside of Objectivist circles, I think that most people would say that Rand explicitly stated that architecture did not meet her definition and criteria of art.

Likewise, if I were to define "fish" as "cold-blooded aquatic vertebrates with gills and fins," and I then stated that birds are not cold-blooded aquatic vertebrates with gills and fins, I think that most non-Objectivists would say that I have explicitly acknowledged that birds don't fit my definition of fish.

But, be that as it may, can we agree that Rand explicitly stated that art is a "re-creation of reality," and that she explicitly stated that architecture "does not re-create reality"? Can we agree that she explicitly stated that utilitarian objects cannot be art, that she explicitly recognized that architecture produces utilitarian objects, and that she explicitly stated that architecture is art despite being utilitarian?

As far as I know Marder and Kamhi were the first to draw the conclusion and state it.

I think that they were probably the first to have their conclusions published. I think that many people before them have probably recognized contradictions and inconsistencies in Rand's aesthetics, including the person who directly asked Rand about her contradictory views on art, architecture and utilitarian purposes during one of her Ford Hall Forum Q&A sessions.

J

Btw, it's Torres and Kamhi, not Marder and Kamhi.

Edited by Jonathan
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Another of her criteria was that "a work of art has to be representational; its freedom of stylization is limited by the requirement of intelligibility; if it does not present an intelligible subject, it ceases to be art." Architecture, as well as music, is not "representational" and does not present "intelligible subjects," at least not by the standards that Rand used to reject other art forms.

J

Music is indeed re-presentational - but thru aural, not visual...

Are you playing word games, Robert? Why do I get the feeling that you have perhaps multiple different meanings of "re-presentational" which you think you can arbitrarily alternate between to either accept or reject art forms based on whether you like or dislike them?

Did you notice that I said that architecture and music are not "representational" by the standards that Rand used to reject other art forms?

J

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> "We have argued that architecture is not an art form and is therefore governed by different principles and criteria from the arts." (Torres and Kamhi, What Art Is, 2000, chap. 10)."

Are architecture and photography "Art"? --- Yes and No. Peter and Adam, one concept resolves all the thirty or forty years of debates I've seen over the status of architecture, photography, and other similar areas outside the 'fine' arts: That concept is "hybrid".

1. Architecture is a **hybrid**. Architecture involves aspects of utilitarian function + aspects of esthetics. A hybrid of, say, engineering and art would be neither fully engineering not fully art. Thus many of the principles which apply to one of thse would apply partially. So the statement "achitecture is not an art form" by T&K above is oversimplified and inaccurate.

2. Photography is also a hybrid. One aspect of it is technical. One aspect of it -can be- esthetic, but not always. For example, some types of photography have only a reportorial or documentary aspect with no aspects of beauty.

> characteristics of Roark’s buildings ...“organicity” of form, “harmony” with nature, structural “free growth,” and asymmetry [Torres and Kamhi]

Organicity of form and harmony with nature -- as well as symmetry and form follows function and wider issues of beauty -- are largely part of the -esthetic- nature of art. Making sure there is enough light, that the plumbing works, that the building doesn't fall down are part of the -utilitarian- nature of art.

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> "We have argued that architecture is not an art form and is therefore governed by different principles and criteria from the arts." (Torres and Kamhi, What Art Is, 2000, chap. 10)."

Are architecture and photography "Art"? --- Yes and No. Peter and Adam, one concept resolves all the thirty or forty years of debates I've seen over the status of architecture, photography, and other similar areas outside the 'fine' arts: That concept is "hybrid".

1. Architecture is a **hybrid**. Architecture involves aspects of utilitarian function + aspects of esthetics. A hybrid of, say, engineering and art would be neither fully engineering not fully art. Thus many of the principles which apply to one of thse would apply partially. So the statement "achitecture is not an art form" by T&K above is oversimplified and inaccurate.

T&K's position is not inaccurate if they're simply adopting Rand's philosophy of aesthetics and trying to consistently apply her definitions and criteria. They are correct that architecture is not an art form according to the principles of the Objectivist Esthetics as Rand stated them.

If one allows exceptions to Rand's stated criteria so that architecture can remain classified as art, then one can grant similar exceptions and judge almost anything else to be a type of art, hybrid or otherwise, in a special "class by itself." Automotive design, for example, or couture, or gluing grass to canvases.

2. Photography is also a hybrid. One aspect of it is technical. One aspect of it -can be- esthetic, but not always. For example, some types of photography have only a reportorial or documentary aspect with no aspects of beauty.

By that reasoning, writing and painting are also hybrids since some types of writing and painting have only a reportorial, documentary or utilitarian aspect with no aspects of beauty (such as writing a text book, or painting a piece of machinery to protect it from the elements). So, no, photography is not a hybrid, at least not in the sense that architecture is. The fact that a medium can have different functions -- that it can be used for artistic purposes in one context and for non-artistic purposes in another context -- doesn't make it a hybrid. Art-photography, which doesn't contain reportorial or documentary aspects, is not a hybrid, where all art-architecture is a hybrid of art and utility.

J

Edited by Jonathan
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Subject: Hybrid Forms and Phenomena, Continued

Photography can be for still other purposes than the ones I mentioned in #47, such as an engineering document or a crime scene record. (A crime scene photo is one clear example where there is no artistic intent involved.)

Hybrids can combine more than two major aspects, obviously.

My last post and these comments captures the essence of classifying architecture and photography. In some respects, they can involve art. In some not. It's really just that simple.

It would be an "academic" overthinking mistake that intellectuals often like to make to lose the thread on this particular issue of classification by beating it to death in another dozen posts and footnotes. Or in so many unnecessary extra words that the outline of the answer is made fuzzy or lost. Of course, I'm sure no one here would -ever- make that mistake!! :-)

KISS: Keep It Simple, Stupid.

There are many things or phenomena in reality which are hybrids, which partake in some form partially of A and partially of B, but are neither to be classified under A or under B. The hybridization can be metaphysical or epistemological (an issue of purpose.) The hybrid car (part internal combustion and part electric.) A hybrid literary form (part memoir, part biography). Borderline cases in ethics or anything which falls on the border between two principles. Biochemistry is a hybrid of chemistry and biology. A mule is a hybrid of a horse and an ass or donkey. Likewise, Jonathan is a hybrid of a horse and...

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