Art Must Be Beautiful

Art Must Be Beautiful



as I think happens to a lot of us I found myself daydreaming about the performance artist Marina Abramovic the other day in particular her 1975 piece art must be beautiful artists must be beautiful in which she brushes her hair with a comb in one hand and a brush in the other while continuously repeating the mantra this piece brings up a lot of good questions what were the expectations of an artist particularly a woman during that moment in the 70s is it any different now and to what extent does an artist and their image become wrapped up in the commodification of their artwork but today I just want to focus on that first half of the mantra art must be beautiful you often hear that old Keats line beauty is truth truth beauty but personally I don't think it's that simple I tend to be suspicious of beautiful art there must be some evil machinations at work right something pernicious lurking underneath the surface why am I do be Asst of beautiful art ancient philosophers pondered the nature of beauty and I'll recklessly summarize their positions to say that they found beauty to be objective something that rests in the object and not in the response of the beholder Plato thought that beauty was located in the realm of the forms and if an object participated in those forms it could be considered beautiful ditto for Aristotle who wrote in the poetics that to be beautiful a living creature and every hole made up of parts must present a certain order in its arrangement of parts that manifested through symmetry and proportion and could sometimes but not always be boiled down to a formula like the golden ratio and there were certainly emotional aspects to encountering Beauty the tynus described the spirit that Beauty must bring forth as wonderment and a delicious trouble longing and love and a trembling that is all delight artists and writers of the Italian Renaissance who revered all things Greek and Roman had similar conceptions of beauty art and architecture to be beautiful strove to achieve perfect proportions an arrangement of parts coalescing into a harmonious whole and for much of this history that which was beautiful was closely intertwined with that which was good or moral cultures throughout his and believe it or not in places other than Europe have held differing conceptions of beauty tracing any kind of a global history is difficult because the idea of taking pleasure in things is expressed in many different ways and in many different cultures like when we're looking for analogues for beauty in other languages should we consider tang dynasty painter say has six principles of Chinese painting the first of which translates to the breath of life or spirit resonance in a work of art perhaps a better boundary is the discipline of aesthetics the term first appeared in 1735 when Baumgarten wrote about how the Greek philosophers distinguished between the no etta being objects of thought that could be understood through logic and the Isetta being objects of sense aesthetics for him were the science of perception but it wouldn't be until the 19th century that the likes of Conte and others drew out these ideas further cod insisted that aesthetics could not be a science and that beauty was entirely subjective and never able to be proved for Kant it is our Faculty of judgment or critique that allows us to have an experience of beauty so now we arrive at a point where beauty is located outside of the thing referring instead to the experience of the person taking it in it's roughly around this time that vinkle men sometimes called the father of art history found Beauty to be not something that you could define but something that could only be discovered through deep and sustained observation here again beauty is located in our experience of a thing and not in the thing itself bickelman even imposed upon himself a rule when looking at art of not turning back until I discovered some beauty and we can't forget hegel hegel did believe that beauty is objective but it's a matter of the harmony of different elements unified organically but he also thought beauty had to do with subject matter in his mind true art gives sensuous expression to the free spirit and should make that freedom of spirit graspable to an audience art is beautiful so says Hegel when it allows us to realize truths about ourselves which is a super compelling idea but for Hegel this meant almost exclusively ancient Greek sculptures of gods and heroes I'll stop with this litany in just a moment but I can't not bring up human my mind had a totally reasonable take on the topic which I would like to have on a t-shirt beauty is no quality and things themselves it exists merely in the mind which contemplates them and each mind perceives a different beauty one person may even perceive deformity where another is sensible of beauty and every individual ought to acquiesce in his own sentiment without pretending to regulate those of others now as much as I like this idea Hume and others did find the subjectivity of beauty to be kind of a bummer because if beauty is completely relative and it doesn't seem all that important and beauty felt and certainly still feels important as Andy Warhol said over 200 years later if everybody's not a beauty then nobody is but that's also good news right maybe everyone's a beauty the ancient Greeks often located beauty in the form of strapping male youths and it wasn't until maybe the 19th century that ideals of beauty started to be located more in the image of woman more than man the culture industry certainly plays a huge role in my suspicion of beauty and here I'm using the term introduced by Adorno and Horkheimer in 1944 it describes the late capitalist phenomenon of all the cultural goods like films magazines music and radio designed so these guys claim to satisfy the entertainment needs of we the mass of consumers and there have been many important feminist critiques of the culture industry in 1975 Laura Mulvey wrote it is said that analyzing visual pleasure or beauty destroys it that is the intention of this article she goes on to explain in a world ordered by sexual imbalance pleasure in looking has been split between active male and passive female the determining male gaze projects its fantasy on to the female form which is styled accordingly in their traditional exhibitionist role women are simultaneously looked at and displayed with their appearance coated for strong visual and erotic impact so that they can be said to connote to be looked at nests and it's precisely that to be looked at nests that arouses my suspicion when I'm experiencing beauty in art what are the codes and motivations behind what I'm seeing whether it's an image of a person or a suspicious sunset seducing me with its beauty in this modern age we've been taught to question everything something beautiful is pretty often allure to sell you sneakers in the last century you can see the steady decline and importance of traditional Western ideals of beauty for artists and the gatekeepers of art resulting in much of the head scratching that goes on daily in museums around the world some of that we can credit to the succession of avant-garde movements in the 20th century artists deploying shock ugliness and the mechanical among other tactics and their reactions against the status quo repressive structures and purportedly golden ratios that are just like regular ratios Dave hickeys sought to understand this vacancy of beauty in a 1993 essay summarizing artists anti Beauty arguments like this beautiful art sells if it sells itself it's an idolatrous commodity if it sells anything else it's a seductive advertisement Hickey countered that idolatry and advertising are indeed art and that the greatest works of art are always and inevitably a bit of both he defended Beauty reminding us that art and images have appealed to the beholder throughout history are youing for things and attempting to persuade so it seems that we've jaded citizens of the present have been depriving ourselves of beauty even though beautiful images have long been trying to sell us something be it Christianity revolution or what-have-you in 1994 arthur danto proclaimed ours is an age of moral indignation and I'd argue that age continues but he goes on to connect our aversion to beauty with a heightened moral sensitivity kathleen marie higgins responded to donto in 96 saying it may be insensitive at times to luxuriate an aesthetic comfort while human misery abounds but the mesmerizing impact of beauty may even in miserable conditions rekindle our sensitivity beauty might be subjective and possible to define ever-changing and socially inscribed but it's nonetheless real so argued Elaine Scarry it is as though beautiful things have been placed here and there throughout the world to serve as small wake-up calls to perception spurring lapsed alertness back to its most acute level and artists are still making beautiful things whether beauty is in herre those things are exist only in our perception of them I'd argue that beauty is valuable it's just not the only valuable facet of art now this is a far from complete accounting of philosophies of beauty throughout the ages and I encourage you to mention the many important ideas I've skipped over in the comments but if you started out thinking that art must be beautiful I hope maybe we've inserted a question mark after the statement for you and if like me you started out dubious of beauty then perhaps you may have found something redeeming in it and become dubious instead of our aversion to beauty rather than condemn Argand own beauty perhaps the task is putting it in its place allowing for it or even embracing it while understanding all that it might mask or distract from let's talk about it in the comments remembering always Humes invocation that every individual ought to acquiesce in his own sentiment without pretending to regulate those of others thanks to indianapolis homes Realty and all of our patrons for supporting the art assignment if you'd like to help us out go to patreon.com/scishow

50 thoughts on “Art Must Be Beautiful

  • May 3, 2019 at 10:16 pm
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    Your font is way too beautiful but dysfunctional.

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  • May 3, 2019 at 10:16 pm
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    The concept of beauty is very important, because we value our opinions more than beauty. Opinions can't be wrong, they define us and make us feel unique. Opinions are often mistaken for intelligence (see Dunning Kruger) and we give greater importance to those with very strong opinions. In court, they are referred to as "expert witnesses" based on the confidence of their testimony. An art collector who pays millions for a piece of art verifies its beauty with cold, hard cash (in the form of a wire transfer, of course) and those who thought the piece ugly must now question their own values.

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  • May 3, 2019 at 10:16 pm
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    Beauty demands possession….

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  • May 3, 2019 at 10:16 pm
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    How many people sent you that t-shirt?

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  • May 3, 2019 at 10:16 pm
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    That Sims 2 music at the end though

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  • May 3, 2019 at 10:16 pm
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    Ugly typography, stroke, and gradient – all in one.

    We get it, we get it. Art can be ugly.

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  • May 3, 2019 at 10:16 pm
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    What's with the vaporwave graphics? Kinda corny.

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  • May 3, 2019 at 10:16 pm
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    Allow me to cut through all the bullshit and obfuscation. Music should sounds good. OK? That's pretty damned reasonable. And no, beauty doesn't mean "pretty", but rather aesthetic complexity and sophistication, and in the case of visual art we mean that in terms of using visual language.

    If you are dubious that music should sound good, you might be so overthinking the gobbledygook that you are a functional moron. How about "food should taste good" or "not taste like shit"? This is obvious stuff.

    The "dubiousness" about "beauty" represents a staggering missing the point of art in favor of fashionable ideas and personalities. If you don't think art should look good, you are rebelling against sanity and coherence in favor of, let me guess, a piss pot. Gimmie a break.

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  • May 3, 2019 at 10:16 pm
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    For me, the problem starts with the directive in the statement itself: Art MUST be beautiful. Change that 'must' to a variety of other words and can of worms opened. Most of what all the philosophers and thinkers you mentioned are grappling with that. And so do I every time I step into my studio. "Is it beautiful?" is one of the final questions I ask of a piece before it gets signed, cataloged, and stored most likely never to be seen again. That 'is' in my question is purely self-directed and pertains to no-one else but myself.

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  • May 3, 2019 at 10:16 pm
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    Art is just a expressed idea and doesnt need to be beautiful

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  • May 3, 2019 at 10:16 pm
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    I don’t think Marina’s art is beautiful.

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  • May 3, 2019 at 10:16 pm
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    Art doesn't have to be aesthetic, but great art tends to be beautiful in what it connotes or evokes. Beauty doesn't have to be something visible, it doesn't even have to be related to art – a satisfying math equation, someone's awesome and inspirational perseverance, a heart-warming relationship is all beautiful in that non-visual and non-aesthic sense.

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  • May 3, 2019 at 10:16 pm
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    Art can have many purposes or functions. A Bonnard or Vermeer painting captures an ordinary daily scene and turns it into something sublime and beautiful. Abromovichs work is more of a reflective social statement that asks questions such as “ why do we try to achieve beauty or norms of beauty” Her work also makes us ask the question again” what is beauty”. What ideal is she trying to achieve?” Who created the look that she is trying to achieve?” Dada puts the power back into the hands of the artist as to what is art and what is beauty and what is good design. Traditionally, beauty is related to proportion although there is beauty in disproportion as the famous statement goes. Anyone who has had his life changed through a beautiful work of art knows how profoundly affected we are by beauty captured. Ugliness in a work provokes or clarifies or shocks and can be just as profound yet it’s function is to cause upheaval , turmoil, or chaos while questioning—Growth through pain or confusion. Sublime beauty in art is more meditative, satisfying, calming, and grounding.

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  • May 3, 2019 at 10:16 pm
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    God made woman sensual, nowhere in the Bible does it say women should be afraid of the way God designed them (quite the opposite) but Americans confuse genetic sensuality with sexuality and recklessly defame (gossip) about behaviour.
    Lingerie ads are fine but nude sculptures are scandalous, apparently.
    Whereas male beauty is used to imply virtue e.g. muscles – protecting the weak.
    Female is seen as a vice, tempting/evil, projecting their own feelings as other's responsibility.
    Yet the Bible says being attractive isn't a sin (prov 31 woman covered in silks) and Jesus literally tells guys to poke out their own eyes rather than ogle. Their feelings are their OWN responsibility. Lechery was unacceptable in public until recently as part of etiquette.
    Female nipples – cover it up! Male nipples on billboards, mag covers, in public in person – I don't wanna see that.

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  • May 3, 2019 at 10:16 pm
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    I've been walking towards that perspective, and I'm to watch this video cause I thought I was too naive

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  • May 3, 2019 at 10:16 pm
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    Simply put… It is subjective.

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  • May 3, 2019 at 10:16 pm
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    “Beauty is valuable, it’s just not the only valuable facet in art” Brilliant.

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  • May 3, 2019 at 10:16 pm
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    I cannot find a bad video in this channel

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  • May 3, 2019 at 10:16 pm
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    WHAT?
    That's a REDICULIOUS statement.

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  • May 3, 2019 at 10:16 pm
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    5:58 what about Michelangelo's David? Is his beauty of form = to-be-looked-at-ness by other men's gaze?

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  • May 3, 2019 at 10:16 pm
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    Thesentür: Conscientious Objector to Formalism By Theodore A. Harris 
    Thesentür: Conscientious Objector to Formalism is a series of minimal, image and quotation based works that uses poetry to confront mainstream art criticism, art history, to look beneath the surface politics of aesthetics and formalism in a presentation of art that is not self-referential or to put a Black face on the art history of imperialism.Formalism functions as the cosmetics of art criticism like aluminum siding on a slumlord’s property. It is an attempt to disguise what is crumbling beneath the surface politics of its proselytizing church bells,ringing, in the mega church / museums and galleries where there are more Black bodies guarding the white cube then exhibiting in it.What marginalized artist know is that canon formation is a battlefield and critical art is the weapon! In the crossed out words of Basquiat to repel ghosts.

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  • May 3, 2019 at 10:16 pm
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    Great video, as always. If I were to offer any (hopefully constructive) criticism it would be that it is way too fast. You are talking about deeply impactful concepts and reading them as if you had to get through them as fast as possible. Hume, Adorno, and many other “dense thinkers” and snippets of their thoughts are hard enough to digest in written format. I would suggest the video to be at least twice as long. But hey, maybe I’m just too slow. Thank you anyways. Very well written, narrated and edited!

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  • May 3, 2019 at 10:16 pm
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    I really think we should separate beauty into 2 part the subjective and of the masses. Because the is a nice line of thought to a sense of beauty which is individual and belonging to you but the is definitely a science of making something look beautiful. I like making art which tries to show my subjective/individual perspective on beauty as a hobby but I also think that you can make work in which the majority of people find beautiful or trying to tick this box for as many people as possible.

    On that note, I really wish I was allowed my phone out at work because after we clean the factory floors (robotic cleaner rise) my all-time favourite unintentional abstract painting appears from the dust. I call it "At least 35 years of oops I dropped the paint, polished into a concrete floor." 🙂

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  • May 3, 2019 at 10:16 pm
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    It takes skillz to make something aesthetic

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  • May 3, 2019 at 10:16 pm
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    hegel did believe beauty was objective

    or did he

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  • May 3, 2019 at 10:16 pm
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    Be honest, do you think you would have so many ‘views` if you were not an attractive looking person.

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  • May 3, 2019 at 10:16 pm
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    Everything is beautiful, you just need to look at it right.

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  • May 3, 2019 at 10:16 pm
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    I was hoping to see some ugly art

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  • May 3, 2019 at 10:16 pm
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    but if everything's beautiful nothing is, right?

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  • May 3, 2019 at 10:16 pm
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    In 1919 Art was replaced by Literature about Art.

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  • May 3, 2019 at 10:16 pm
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    The Art Assignment inspired a whole new love of art for me. There is just so much depth to art that a lot of people never take a minute to understand.

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  • May 3, 2019 at 10:16 pm
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    Perhaps art needn't be beautiful, but it seems that it must at least be valuable – whether that's aesthetic, moral, prudential or epistemic value…

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  • May 3, 2019 at 10:16 pm
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    I want that t shirt.

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  • May 3, 2019 at 10:16 pm
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    I'm disturbed by the quotes font.

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  • May 3, 2019 at 10:16 pm
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    As a Psychology student and an Art lover, its the self-awareness that the art and knowledge lets us have which is the most valuable thing to me

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  • May 3, 2019 at 10:16 pm
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    Youre videos are too long, you should consider more visuals and less straight up quotes if you want to spread the message of the video. You have amazing topics but its very easy to get lost and forget the initial sentence.

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  • May 3, 2019 at 10:16 pm
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    this girl is awesome, love the way she explanis objectively and the way she is coherent. 😀 Stay cool

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  • May 3, 2019 at 10:16 pm
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    something is beautiful if it is true. art should wake us up by stirring our souls to the unseen

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  • May 3, 2019 at 10:16 pm
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    I think it is interesting how beauty in art, just as humour in art, can open a door into the work. They can both take our guards down and let us see/experience/come closer to something that we might otherwise have passed by, either because it was too difficult/painful to take in or because it didn't catch our interest in the first place.

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  • May 3, 2019 at 10:16 pm
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    This was edited on Filmora using the 80s pack simply because it is in trend

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  • May 3, 2019 at 10:16 pm
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    Well I’ll say one thing for sure combing your hair is neither beautiful nor is it good art. Even if you decide to label it art.

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  • May 3, 2019 at 10:16 pm
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    Having been exposed to a lot of art and photography with rule of thirds and standard pretty aesthetics ive actually grown tired of it for the most part, i find more beauty in the natural world, the mundane environment, things 'imperfect' and with an air of not being intended as art, not created with aesthetics in mind but not necessarily avoiding them, something i call honesty, a world not created for you but one that just is that you happen to find yourself in

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  • May 3, 2019 at 10:16 pm
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    There's an movement in modern art called "retinal art" where the ideas take a backseat to what visually a piece does to the eye. And those works tend to be colors and patterns that trigger sensation in one's eyes. How is "retinal" art different from art that strives for "beauty" and aesthetics which itself is dependent on the reaction of visuals? I think the answer lies in the accessibility of the work. If a piece can relate to more people, the less valuable it is.

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  • May 3, 2019 at 10:16 pm
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    "Those who find ugly meanings in beautiful things are corrupt without being charming. This is a fault."

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  • May 3, 2019 at 10:16 pm
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    Why is there a Benin "Bronze" Head of an Oba (King)" dated as 19th century at 02:25 ? These are 16th century pieces that caused a lot of controversy when they were looted by the British expeditionary force in 1897, when the Kingdom of Benin was conquered. The controversy centred around how these so-called "savages" could produce such sophisticated 'Art'! These are still in the British Museum so it's not difficult to check the facts.

    Also Kant's philosophy is from the 18th century not the 19th. Kant was also the first to introduce the study of anthropology into German Universities. He was not just a philosopher. In any case one of the most important aspects of his ideas on aesthetics was the notion of "dis-interestedness". You seem to have shown this in regards to the Benin artefact; though no mention of it is made when explaining his philosophy… I'm truly saddened to see this blatant misrepresentation of artefacts taken from Africa still in play in the 21st century. This is one of the main reasons I'm so critical of the idea of the so-called "global art history" that is now being made to magically appear.

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  • May 3, 2019 at 10:16 pm
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    Is a "Golden Ratio" video in the making?

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  • May 3, 2019 at 10:16 pm
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    De gustibus non est disputandum – “in the matters of taste, there can be no disputes”

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