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Thread: art vs aesthetics vs skill

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    Default art vs. aesthetics vs. skill

    Note: Everything is subjective, I know that. This post is based on my opinions.

    I recently came to the conclusion that art and aesthetics can be very different things. Before this insight, I always thought both terms would be inseparably linked. For instance, I assumed I would have a recognizable artistic talent. I still think it's partly true, but it could be a talent in dealing with aesthetics rather than art. I was always able to see how I could improve visual things like logos or photos and I'm quite good at making them in the basic design course at my previous school. But when I came to my new school and took part in a introductory lecture of the interior architects, I just thought something like 'wtf are you talking about?' the whole time. But I experiences this situation before. When I made the tests for the industrial design study path (both schools rejected me, but that wasn't a problem), I faced similar problems. I had to do silly and (imho) totally senseless task, I just felt out of place.

    When I thought about this I realized that I have a very narrow definition what I call art. It's not that I tell people what's 'officially' art and what not. This term can be used for almost everything and nodody can contradict it, because it's so free to use. But this is exactly what bugs me. For me personally, art always has to do with skill. I mean, I can throw buckets of paint at a wall and call that art. But it isn't. It's just a wall with a lot of randomly placed paint on it. Just take a look at the old masters in painting like Albrecht Dürer. This is art.

    So, my theory is, that the wide-open definition of 'everything you can think of can be art' is the intuitive approach. And the more narrow idea of 'art must reflect the skill of the artist/must be aesthetic' is rather shared among the Sensors. As usual, these groups are not fixed and there are overlappings to a certain extent.

    Here are some examples to illustrate what I mean:

    1. Aesthetic, not necessarily art, because it's a mass product and actual skill is questionable... at least someone must have made the form for it before. The actual aesthetic effect may also vary.


    2. Art: 'Black Square' [wow to that title] by Kazimir Malevich, no art imo because everyone can draw a black square on white paper = no skill, aestehtic effect totally subjective, he has also made better paintings though


    3. Skill, but not necessarily art: hand crafted christmas decoration which needs much skill to do, but is not treated as art. Most people would probably call it aesthetic, too:


    4. Art, skill, probably also aesthetic: an example for art which deserves this description. I wouldn't hang it up in my living room, though. :wink:


    What are your opinions?
    „Man can do what he wants but he cannot want what he wants.“
    – Arthur Schopenhauer

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    The Christmas ornament is the piece that pleases me the most...I am a skill-appreciator, I guess And it is certainly aesthetic, too.

    "Back Square?" Seriously. It's "art" like this that gives real art a bad rep.
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    Quote Originally Posted by pianosinger
    Seriously. It's "art" like this that gives real art a bad rep.
    I think it's kinda lame too, but perhaps that's MD's point: Art = Subjective.

    When it comes to "art", "realness" is up to you. (Or me, or whoever.)

    When it comes to doric columns and Christmas ornaments, well, it kinda is what it is.
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    @MD, though: I'm pretty oblivious to the field, but I'd have thought "Industrial Design" was way more of the Aesthetic/Skill school than "Black Squares" and Art. ...Not so?

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    I like that pillar. It needs painted, though. I'm good coloring inside the lines.

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    Hey, it seems as I was not that off with my opinion. I actually expected people flame me because I can't just that something is not art.

    Quote Originally Posted by pianosinger View Post
    The Christmas ornament is the piece that pleases me the most...I am a skill-appreciator, I guess And it is certainly aesthetic, too.
    Yeah, I like it very much, too. That's why I chose it as example. They make them in a certain region I visit regularly. I'm generally fascinated by objects which are extremely hard to make.

    Quote Originally Posted by pianosinger View Post
    "Back Square?" Seriously. It's "art" like this that gives real art a bad rep.
    That's exactly my opinion. Okay, this is one of the most extreme examples for that, but there is a lot of art which I would call 'senseless'.

    Quote Originally Posted by CILi View Post
    I think it's kinda lame too, but perhaps that's MD's point: Art = Subjective.
    Yes, exactly. But it's almost a bit too subjective for my taste. I just find it interesting that it's apparently a trait of our modern age to think so. Think of the artists in medieval times. Nobody actually knows it, but I don't think there were people who would interpret art like that Black Square dude.

    Quote Originally Posted by CILi View Post
    @MD, though: I'm pretty oblivious to the field, but I'd have thought "Industrial Design" was way more of the Aesthetic/Skill school than "Black Squares" and Art. ...Not so?
    lol, me too! And I strongly believe it's more aesthetics/skill at your job after the studies. However, these tests were full of bs in my opinion. For instance, we should build objects which 'describe' the 'concept' of light & heavy. This was basically the task. The given material were rubber bands, some beer coasters, a piece of a welding rod, thread, some wire, ect. The other exercise was to build an object which can 'extent it's surface to twice as much than before' and we got the same material. I mean, come on...

    I built a kind of mobile for the first one and a book-like construction for the second task. At least the last one appeared to be a good idea to me.

    At the other school we should go out in the forest and look for things of our day-to-day product experience. (trash?) We could draw, make photos... we should combine the object we found and tell a story. (wtf?) It's their way to find out if your're creative, but I don't even want to be do this...
    „Man can do what he wants but he cannot want what he wants.“
    – Arthur Schopenhauer

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    I've always been quite naturally good with both. I doubt artistic & aesthetic skill has anything to do with Si.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Starfall View Post
    I doubt artistic & aesthetic skill has anything to do with Si.
    I also don't think the skill is influenced by any IEs, but maybe your way of recognizing art. As I said above, intuitive types might rather accept the free and open definition of art, while sensors expect that art has some kind of 'value'. I mean something tangible, like hours of work to make it. Others might see art as something which doesn't need any value as long it has a certain statement. Well, people can read anything into pieces of art, so there might also be a statement in a black square. A message, however, I don't understand.
    „Man can do what he wants but he cannot want what he wants.“
    – Arthur Schopenhauer

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    I liked the black square!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ashton2 View Post
    I notice a lot of artists who pursue originality for the sake of originality. That's annoying, and goes along w/ the sentiment echoed above about things which 'give real art a bad rep'. It's annoying to me because it's entirely disconnected from anything meaningful to 'human' existence. It doesn't say anything.
    That's what I mean.
    Well, I see this attitude also when I'm listening to the presentations of architects in our school. I don't know who actually started this shit, but nearly every modern building made today consists of cubes shoved into other cubes. Sometimes they are extra creative and take some other geometrical shapes. 'The concrete walls will not be painted, because it could look somehow decent if we did it.' But the most important rule is to do it 'minimalist style'. Why? Because it's cool not to have a single wardrobe in your room or many open spaces which can't be used in any way, because there is not a single piece of furniture in them. Nobody seems to understand that they always copy the same idea. They are just rearranging it and believe themselves to be geniuses. I'm learning there for some weeks, but I'm already sick of that style. If I'm the one in charge some day I'll just ban these ugly bricks and let real architecture take over the place.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nowisthetime View Post
    I liked the black square!
    Really? You like it even if you're not valuing ?
    „Man can do what he wants but he cannot want what he wants.“
    – Arthur Schopenhauer

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    Well art is always art. Skill heeds more objectively beautiful art I think, but even the mass are dumb enough to think that's good enough. Real art is having a vision and actualizing that vision. You need two things to become a successful artist. Work-ethic and vision. If you have the third thing, called skill or talent, you become an instant success.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ashton2 View Post
    To me any piece of 'good art' must exemplify both skill and meaning. It has to be more than just a pretty picture—it has to communicate to me something about reality that can't be said via other forms. Art is subjective, but the ideas and experiences conveyed by art are very real. And it generally takes a lot of time, insight, skill, and dedication IMO to convey these effectively.

    I notice a lot of artists who pursue originality for the sake of originality. That's annoying, and goes along w/ the sentiment echoed above about things which 'give real art a bad rep'. It's annoying to me because it's entirely disconnected from anything meaningful to 'human' existence. It doesn't say anything.
    There we go. Should have just read

    Yeah originality is overrated. Especially when it's not even real originality, but ignorance. If you like something but know its not original, that is when you should be implementing your vision.

    IMO a great example in music is the film composer John Williams, compared to say Mozart. Mozart is often said to be the greatest composer, because of his freshness and originality. And he is one of the greats. John Williams is said to just copy composers before him (which by the way is true.) But what is the difference? He captured his inner vision through the themes of movies and their atmosphere, and delivered something even more original, imo, than any physical thing, something purely emotional. He wrote wonderful melodies, and reorganized everything in a more communicable way, that is warm and wonderful, and really not as unoriginal as critics may think, and there will always be a huge part of "him" and his message in his work. It's like the difference between advancing the human race, and just creating a new race. Art is in the essence.

    To me, copying something is just as useful as creating something new. The point isn't originality, but communication, or in a more tangible form, use. Like that pillar, if it holds up the building for ages, there is purpose in that. It advances something, its art. Why they call various arts, like music, an advanced language. If you can advance something, you are an artist. If you can advance something of objective purpose, you're a reknown artist.
    Last edited by 717495; 11-21-2010 at 12:50 PM.

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    Art is NTR (mostly Feeling though), but concrete aesthetics is very Si. My EIE mom for example is a skilled and very accomplished artist, but she never paints reality. She doesn't appreciate it. Instead she paints abstract, amorphous figures -- mostly of angels. Here's some of her paintings:





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    Just one example: in MBTI, Se (extraverted sensing) is associated with life pleasures, excitement etc. By contrast, the socionic function (extraverted sensing) is first and foremost associated with control and expansion of personal space (which sometimes can manifest in excessive aagression, but often also manifests in a capability of managing lots of people and things).

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    I like the second one quite much. Well, fantasies and amorphous figures can look really nice, I also enjoy paintings made by Dali which are extremely abstract, for example. It may be surreal, but you still can realize that the artist must be skilled to make it. I just don't like it if people read random meanings into paintings like this black square from above and freeze with respect when they see it. There is just nothing to see in this one, given that there is no further context like other paintings close by.
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    Here's another (albeit unbelievable) example for real art:

    „Man can do what he wants but he cannot want what he wants.“
    – Arthur Schopenhauer

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    Interesting, I've always mentally separated things by Utility vs. Aesthetic.

    Pure Aesthetic is beautiful but useless... i.e. flash but no substance

    Pure Utility is useful but ugly... i.e. what gets the job done

    I think in design I've always been obsessed with the marriage of these two components, a simplistic solution that is both elegant and aesthetically pleasing as well as efficient and useful.

    In fact I feel like most of design is rather intuitive, you come up with the design first out of a generic sense of it, then the reason later. There are just too many possibilities to deduce a single best/ideal/optimal answer.

    This is probably based, usually I get small intuitions about how to design something, but never an overall concept.

    So usually I have to structure things at a high level. Draw a huge box and fit something inside of that... come up with a generic concept... then work in the next level of detail and so forth, each stage requiring two steps, first an intuition then an analysis of why that intuition is useful. I usually associate the intuition with the aesthetics and the analysis with the utility. You stop when you've reached a practical depth of detail, constrained by practical measures of time, resources, safety, reliability and authority.

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    LOL! Hahaha, you own the internets for today!
    „Man can do what he wants but he cannot want what he wants.“
    – Arthur Schopenhauer

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    Your kind of art, Absurd?
    „Man can do what he wants but he cannot want what he wants.“
    – Arthur Schopenhauer

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    Quote Originally Posted by MegaDoomer View Post
    Your kind of art, Absurd?
    Unfortunately not.

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    This was at the national portrait gallery in London.

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