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PHILOSOPHY 105 (STOLZE) Notes on Stephen Davies, The Philosophy of Art, chapter 3.

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Presentation on theme: "PHILOSOPHY 105 (STOLZE) Notes on Stephen Davies, The Philosophy of Art, chapter 3."— Presentation transcript:

1 PHILOSOPHY 105 (STOLZE) Notes on Stephen Davies, The Philosophy of Art, chapter 3

2 Aesthetic and Artistic Properties Aesthetic Properties = “objective features perceived in the object of appreciation when it is approached for its own sake”; they are “second-order or higher-order properties, because they are based on (or are supervenient on) other, simpler, non-aesthetic properties of the aesthetic object” (pp. 53-4). Artistic Properties = “art-relevant, non-aesthetic properties” (p. 54)

3 Aesthetic Theory vs. Philosophy of Art Aesthetic theory = “maintains that consideration of the aesthetic in art is adequate for art’s appreciation as art. Reflection on a work’s artistic properties is not relevant to its proper appreciation” (p. 55). Philosophy of art = “maintains that awareness of a work’s artistic properties is crucial not only to understanding it but also to identifying it as the artwork it is” (p. 55).

4 What are the Relevant Properties of an Artwork? “An artwork X, and some other thing, Y (which might be another artwork or not), are perceptually similar and, as a result, display no aesthetically significant perceptual differences. Nevertheless, X has features relevant to its recognition and appreciation as art that distinguish it from Y. Therefore, some of X’s artistically significant features must depend on some of its non-perceptible properties” (p. 72). Applications to forgeries, misattributions (e.g., of the artist’s gender), and visceral vs. cognitive responses to artworks

5 Pieter Breughel, Landscape with the Fall of Icarus (1558)

6 Caravaggio, Deposition of Christ (1604)

7 Maya Lin, Vietnam Veterans Memorial (1982)

8 Maya Lin, Civil Rights Memorial (1989)

9 Maya Lin on Her Work “Each of my works originates from a simple desire to make people aware of their surroundings, not just the physical world but also the psychological world we live in. This desire has led me at times to become involved in artworks that are as much politically motivated as they are aesthetically based. I have been drawn to respond to current social/political situations in my work. My subject is not infrequently an idea of our time, an accounting of history, yet I would hesitate to call myself a ‘political’ artist—if anything, I would prefer ‘apolitical’ as a self-description. I do not choose to overlay personal commentary on historical facts. I am interested in presenting factual information, allowing viewers the chance to come to their own conclusions. I create places in which to think, without trying to dictate what to think. I have produced works that are socially motivated, such as the Civil Rights Memorial in Montgomery, Alabama, or the Women’s Table at Yale University, or the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. But more typical are those works that focus on purely aesthetic levels of experience, works that invite the viewer in, that ask the viewer to notice a change in shape, color, or light.” (Excerpted from Maya Lin, Boundaries [New York: Simon and Schuster, 2000], p. 2:03.)

10 Jim Gallucci, Gates of Sorrow (2002)

11 The Colossus ( ) (at one time attributed to Francisco de Goya but now believed to have been painted by an apprentice, probably Asensio Juliá)

12 Edgar Degas, Women Ironing ( )

13 Pablo Picasso, Weeping Woman (1937)

14 Ivan Albright, The Farmer’s Kitchen (1934)

15 An Analysis of Ivan Albright’s The Farmer’s Kitchen “Ivan Albright's obsessively detailed painting style put on canvas the crushing impact of drudgery and advancing age. The swollen, red-knuckled hands of this farmwife preparing to clean radishes, pushed forward until they are impossible to ignore, evoke an aching sympathy. The cast-iron stove has become a tool of torture this woman cannot avoid in her daily grind. Wrinkles multiply over her drooping flesh, speaking too eloquently of years full of ceaseless labor. The family cat offers this farm wife no companionship, but shrinks away from her. Outside in the fields must be a farmer husband equally worn by long labor. The burden of empathy for this hard life, made yet harder by the Depression, is almost unbearable. Who is this poor farmwife, limp with weariness and lined with toil? One of Albright's neighbors in Warrenville, Illinois, posed for the painting. But no individual can explain the emotional freight of Albright's depiction. He aged and distorted every person he painted, young or old. Albright painted flesh that does not heal as living flesh does, but crumples and shows the scars of every event with equally cruel clarity…. He emphasized every fold in this lady's dress and every wrinkle in her face to create a surreal, nightmarish figure that is both repellent and sympathetic. Her tired eyes and red, swollen knuckles highlight the effects of aging and suggest she is struggling to complete the simplest of tasks.” (From the website for the Smithsonian American Art Museum:

16 Leon Golub, Interrogation II (1981)

17 An Analysis of Leon Golub’s Interrogation II “A leading cultural and civil rights activist in the United States from the early 1960s until his death in 2004, Leon Golub consistently created works that addressed humanitarian issues. This piece belongs to a series of paintings that deals with human rights violations in Central America. By fixing the gaze of his grinning perpetrators directly on the viewer, Golub makes it difficult to look away. The artist thus compels viewers to examine their own relationship to the brutality depicted.” (From the website of the Art Institute of Chicago:

18 Robert Colescott, Emergency Room (1989)

19 An Analysis of Robert Colescott, Emergency Room “Using a rich palette and articulated brush strokes, Colescott has depicted a chaotic emergency room, which he considers to be "a vivid allegory for the whole country." Since the 1960s, Colescott has addressed social issues, particularly racial stereotypes, through narrative figuration. This scene is crowded with caricatured figures, including a priest holding a decapitated head, a skeleton receiving a blood transfusion, a gang of knife–wielding apes, and a doctor smoking as he administers an injection. The women in the painting are subject to violence and harassment, and one large, recumbent, objectlike woman in the background has bricks for flesh, skeletons for eyes, and factory smoke for hair.” (From the website of the New York Museum of Modern Art: A1183&page_number=1&template_id=1&sort_order=1)

20 Robert Colescott, Knowledge of the Past Is the Key to the Future: Some Afterthoughts on (1986)

21 Glenn Brown, Death Disco (2004)

22 Artemesia Gentileschi, Judith Decapitating Holofernes (ca. 1618)


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