- Philosophy of art
- Thinking with pictures: how images were used for philosophical thinking in the Early Modern period
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The generous illustrations make accessible much rare or unpublished material. It is a revelation and a pleasure. It is of interest not only to art historians but to anyone curious about how many of our fundamental intellectual concepts were taught and passed down to us. It is altogether fascinating; the kind of book you never tire of reading. Perhaps one of its greatest virtues is to make us inordinately grateful for the diligence, seriousness and application of the people whose work it examines.
Needless to say, Berger too displays those qualities in great measure.
Philosophy of art
In sum, I have nothing but admiration for the work as a whole. As an object, the book is a delight. Berger writes in a clear, uncluttered style avoids theoretical flights of fancy, organizes the material so it is accessible to the non-specialist and in her commentary is insightful and thought-provoking. There is much more to be said about this excellent and remarkable book.
A review like this cannot adequately convey how impressive the book is. This is because you really need to see the works she is analyzing in order to see how striking they are and how instructive a guide to their interpretation Berger is. Wartenberg, Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism.
Hendriksen, Art Newspaper.
Thinking with pictures: how images were used for philosophical thinking in the Early Modern period
Thanks to her original research, an audience ranging from scholars to those with a general interest in Early Modern art and intellectual history can now access and understand this rich collection of very rare images and documents, which remained unseen for so long. Hendriksen, The Art Newspaper. Highly original and filled with convincing arguments, this book is virtually the only treatment of a fascinating and largely unknown area in the history of philosophy. An extraordinary examination of compelling material, this is one of the most exciting works dealing with early modern art that I have come across in a long time.
Linkage by analogy is its constituent law or principle, its causal nexus, since meaning only arises through the causal contexts by which a sign stands for takes the place of an instance of a sort. It takes no hold if there is nothing for it to haul from, for its thinking is the haul, the attraction of likes —I. It is necessary to separate aesthetics from art because aesthetics deals with opinions on perception of the world in general.
Thus, judgments on what it looks like correspond to taste, and we can see that throughout history different examples of architecture are praised at different times depending on the aesthetics of particular epochs. Above all things Clement Greenberg is the critic of taste. Behind every one of his decisions is an aesthetic judgment, with those judgments reflecting his taste.
And what does his taste reflect? How else can one account for, given his theories — if they have any logic to them at all — his disinterest in Frank Stella, Ad Reinhardt, and others applicable to his historical scheme? If one looks at contemporary art in this light one realizes the minimal creative effort taken on the part of formalist artists specifically, and all painters and sculptors working as such today generally.
This brings us to the realization that formalist art and criticism accepts as a definition of art one that exists solely on morphological grounds. Formalist criticism is no more than an analysis of the physical attributes of particular objects that happen to exist in a morphological context. And neither does it comment on whether or not the objects analyzed are even works of art, in that formalist critics always bypass the conceptual element in works of art.
Formalist critics and artists alike do not question the nature of art, but as I have said elsewhere:. And this questioning of the nature of art is a very important concept in understanding the function of art. The function of art, as a question, was first raised by Marcel Duchamp. In fact it is Marcel Duchamp whom we can credit with giving art its own identity.
U B U W E B :: Joseph Kosuth - Art After Philosophy
With the unassisted Ready-made, art changed its focus from the form of the language to what was being said. Which means that it changed the nature of art from a question of morphology to a question of function. All art after Duchamp is conceptual in nature because art only exists conceptually. Such an argument is the case of a preconceived notion ordering together not necessarily related facts. The point is this: aesthetics, as we have pointed out, are conceptually irrelevant to art.
In other words, the value of Cubism — for instance — is its idea in the realm of art, not the physical or visual qualities seen in a specific painting, or the particularization of certain colors or shapes. Louis as it is seen in the Smithsonian Institution. Actual works of art are little more than historical curiosities. What is the function of art, or the nature of art? Works of art are analytic propositions. That is, if viewed within their context — as art — they provide no information whatsoever about any matter of fact. Another way of stating, in relation to art, what Ayer asserted about the analytic method in the context of language would be the following: The validity of artistic propositions is not dependent on any empirical, much less any aesthetic, presupposition about the nature of things.
For the artist, as an analyst, is not directly concerned with the physical properties of things. He is concerned only with the way 1 in which art is capable of conceptual growth and 2 how his propositions are capable of logically following that growth.
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Accordingly, we can say that art operates on a logic. For we shall see that the characteristic mark of a purely logical inquiry is that it is concerned with the formal consequences of our definitions of art and not with questions of empirical fact. To repeat, what art has in common with logic and mathematics is that it is a tautology; i. On the other hand, let us consider why art cannot be or has difficulty when it attempts to be a synthetic proposition. Or, that is to say, when the truth or falsity of its assertion is verifiable on empirical grounds. Ayer states:. It would be a mere ejaculation, in no way characterizing that to which it was supposed to refer.
If Pollock is important it is because he painted on loose canvas horizontally to the floor. His work certainly appears to be empirically verifiable: lead can do, and be used for, many physical activities. In itself this does anything but lead us into a dialogue about the nature of art.
In a sense then he is a primitive. He has no idea about art. That he denies his work is art but plays the artist is more than just a paradox.
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Thus, as Ayer has stated:. But to consider it as art it is necessary to ignore this same outside information, because outside information experiential qualities, to note has its own intrinsic worth. After all, man in even the nineteenth century lived in a fairly standardized visual environment. That is, it was ordinarily predictable as to what he would be coming into contact with day after day.
His visual environment in the part of the world in which he lived was fairly consistent. In our time we have an experientially drastically richer environment. One can fly all over the earth in a matter of hours and days, not months. We have the cinema, and color television, as well as the man-made spectacle of the lights of Las Vegas or the skyscrapers of New York City.
The whole world is there to be seen, and the whole world can watch man walk on the moon from their living rooms. Certainly art or objects of painting and sculpture cannot be expected to compete experientially with this? The difference between all the various uses of the box or cube form is directly related to the differences in the intentions of the artists. A few examples will point this out. Here then I propose rests the viability of art. It is in this context that art shares similarities with logic, mathematics, and, as well, science.
But whereas the other endeavors are useful, art is not. Art indeed exists for its own sake. Art is the definition of art.