Art


Here begins a collection of images, ideas, assertions, experiments, evidence of what is "art"...

Definitions of art on the web (ph&sod)

Christiania_Art.jpg
Photo taken in Christiania, Denmark (sod )

Some key positions in art (from Atkinson (2007):




Position
Proponent
Key Aspects
Imitation /
Representation

Plato
Classic view
Expressionist

Croce
Collingwood
General category often related to the articulation (to an audience) of expression of emotion; of attitudes and/or beliefs. Can be further developed as Emotionalist, Intuitionist, Institutionalist

Emotionalist
Tolstoy 1896
Ducasse 1928
Knox, 1931

Defining property is the expression of emotion in some sensuous public medium

Intuitionist
Croce, 1901
Art is a first stage of knowledge achieved through a specific creative, cognitive & spiritual act; an awareness of the unique. It is the putting (expression) forth of purpose, feeling, or thought into a sensuous medium

Institutionalist
Danto 1964, 1973/4
Dickie 1974
Artworld. Something is art because of the place it comes to occupy within an art-specific context. The definition of art cannot be understood independently of the institution of art. For Danto, Art is about something; it projects a point of view through rhetorical ellipses; it requires both interpretation and an historical context

Functional
Collingwood <64
Langer <64
Beardsley 1979
Inclusive of Expression; Human Feeling; Affording aesthetic experience. Is more a category of definition rather than a definition per se (c.f. Procedural definitions). Thus many expressionist theories may be seen as being Functional

Aesthetic
Scruton 1974
Beardsley 1983
Mitias 1988
Rowe 1991
Art as aesthetic attitude: a mode of attention (not feeling or emotion) – mode of contemplation through sight, hearing, touch. Imagination directly involved in perception. ‘The purpose of giving aesthetic reasons…’ (Rowe)

Intentionalism
Hirsch 1967
Saville 1982
Wollheim 1987

The correct interpretation of an artwork is fixed by some subset of actual or possible intentions of the Artist with respect to that work (Gaut, 1993)



Position
Proponent
Key Aspects
Formalism

Beardsley
Bell
Fry
The correct interpretation of an artwork is by reference to significant form; there is no reference to the intent (or otherwise) of the Artist

Non-definable /
Anti-Essentialist
Ziff, 1953
Weitz 1956
Gallie 1956
Kennick 1958
Artworks classified by resemblance (family or paradigm classes – a la Wittgenstein) …that art is amenable to real or any kind of true definition is a false concept. ‘A Definition of Art would foreclose on future creativity’

Organicist
Bradley
Weitz (earlier work)
Art is a class of organic wholes (comprising a unique complex of distinguishable, albeit inseparable, elements) presented in some sensuous medium

Voluntarist
Parker, 1953
Complex definition: art is essentially 3 things – embodiment of wishes and desires imaginatively satisfied, language, and harmony; art is the provision of satisfaction through the imagination, social significance and harmony

Symbolic
Goodman 1969
Langer 1976
Art should aim to capture more absolute truths which could only be accessed by indirect methods. Symbolists employ highly metaphorical and suggestive techniques, endowing particular images or objects with symbolic meaning.

Historical
Levinson 1979
Carroll 1988
Historical (intention – Levinson or narrational – Carroll)


Natural/Cultural
Dickie 1997
Theory classification c.f. Definition; accepting no single definition possible. Art as an expression of emotion (natural kind). Cultural – dependent on an art theory to make art possible (for example Warhol/Emin/Hirst)