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What is the purpose of Art?

 
 
msolga
 
Reply Sat 19 Jun, 2004 09:14 pm
I heard as good an answer (for me) to this question while listening to an Arts radio program on ABC radio this morning: "The purpose of Art is to enhance our understanding of the world we live in".

Then I found myself thinking: What artworks HAD enhanced my understanding of the world? I'm still thinking about this, but certain works of painting, writing, music, drama & film started popping into my head.
For example, Bob Dylan's music & lyrics, when I first heard them, certainly changed my perceptions, political understanding & attitude to music. No turning back after that!

As a secondary school student my discovery of the paintings of Monet, Degas, Manet, etc. changed my perceptions of what was "good" Art, which was a suitable subject for a painting & taught me to love brush strokes (!) Smile

There are many, many more examples of books, films, poems, paintings & sculptures that come to mind. But I'd love to hear YOUR thoughts on this:

Do you agree with this definition of Art's purpose? If not, what's your definition?

And which particular works did, in fact change your perceptions?
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Portal Star
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Jun, 2004 09:42 pm
A painting is a form of human communication. We wouldn't invest so much time and effort in painting if it was only for the benefit of the maker. It is about the other people who see the painting, and that, just like any essay or other record made by humans, is its intent.

Painting has its own unique quirks as do all methods of communication. It is visual and usually (but not always) deals with the expression of some kind of attitude or emotion. In some cases it is "we honor this man." In some cases it is "Isn't this pretty." In some cases it is "Don't these Ghana refuges deserve your help and sympathy." In some cases it is a message of a sort of zen - like simplicity.

I can see painting being described as an "enhancement of the world we live in," but I think it is much more basic than that, simply being one of many forms of human communication.
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msolga
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Jun, 2004 09:53 pm
Portal Star

Is enhancement of our understanding of the world we live in an outcome of the process of communication, then?
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Portal Star
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Jun, 2004 11:14 pm
msolga wrote:
Portal Star

Is enhancement of our understanding of the world we live in an outcome of the process of communication, then?


That's assuming that communication always leads to enhancement of understanding.

I don't think that communication always leads to enhanced understanding. I don't feel richer for having seen the life cereal advertisement or some really bad abstracts. I'll bet most people in China don't have enhanced understanding from communist propoganda. Also, if an artwork is mispercieved the creator of that artwork would not consider it to be enhancing communication with the viewer. By enhanced I'm assuming you mean in a positive way.

It could be argued that any communication is experience and all experience can be learned from (as in enhanced understanding.)
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JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Jun, 2004 12:35 am
I would agree that art (at least the kind of art I am most interested in) does enhance our "understanding" of the world if we define "understanding" broadly enough. Painting serves to strenghten our sensuous appreciation of life experiences. It provides a kind of aesthetic grasp of immediate experience--in addition to telling us edifying stories about the world. But, as you can surmise from my reference to immediate experience, I am most interested in the abstract properties of painting, with regarding to both representational and non-representational works. I hope this is intelligible.
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Miller
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Jun, 2004 04:59 am
I've always felt that art was a genuine means of connecting man to God.
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msolga
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Jun, 2004 05:09 am
JLNobody wrote:
I would agree that art (at least the kind of art I am most interested in) does enhance our "understanding" of the world if we define "understanding" broadly enough. Painting serves to strenghten our sensuous appreciation of life experiences. It provides a kind of aesthetic grasp of immediate experience--in addition to telling us edifying stories about the world. But, as you can surmise from my reference to immediate experience, I am most interested in the abstract properties of painting, with regarding to both representational and non-representational works. I hope this is intelligible.


JLN

Yes, what you've said is intelligible. Smile
I was wondering whether my question was intelligible! :wink:
Maybe "understanding" is too narrow a term here. Perhaps "deeper appreciation", or "heightened perception" of the world?
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msolga
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Jun, 2004 05:13 am
Miller wrote:
I've always felt that art was a genuine means of connecting man to God.


Miller

Do you mean creating Art or appreciating Art?
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Miller
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Jun, 2004 05:21 am
msolga wrote:
Miller wrote:
I've always felt that art was a genuine means of connecting man to God.


Miller

Do you mean creating Art or appreciating Art?


Both.
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msolga
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Jun, 2004 05:24 am
Miller

Could you name an artwork that has affected you in this way?
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coluber2001
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Jun, 2004 07:00 am
I agree with Miller about art's connection with god, but I would alter the statement somewhat by saying that music induces the perception of god, not that there is anything inherently religious about music. It simply affects our mind and lets us temporarily forget our self-image. I suppose any type of music can do this. It is a personal choice; whatever turns you on.

Since Msolga is not limiting art to two dimensional works, but is inlcuding music, writing, and drama, the purpose of the arts is complex and varied.

Early art wanted to transmit religious messages. But I can't help but think that most of us go to art for the sheer beauty of it, though beauty in this sense includes the banal and ugly. Van Gogh sought the beauty in all of nature; he didn't simply want to paint a pretty picture; he was after the "godness" of nature, so to speak, that manifestation of beauty beyond the dualism of pretty and ugly.
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JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Jun, 2004 04:49 pm
Coluber, BULLSEYE! And beautifully stated.
Miller, your thesis only requires a definition of God. I like the notion of Beauty as an aspect of God. (and I am, theologically speaking an atheist).
Msloga, I like "heightened (or deepened) perception" very much.
As a naturalist, humanist, secularist (mystically inclined, however), I still appreciate the notion of the "Godness of nature". I'm glad you did not say the Godness IN nature.

Good posts. Thanks
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Miller
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Jun, 2004 05:30 pm
msolga wrote:
Miller

Could you name an artwork that has affected you in this way?


Not an artwork. An art form, such as dance.
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cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Jun, 2004 10:13 pm
There are different "art" forms; drawing, painting, photography, music, drums, architecture, sculpture, glass art, metal art, plastic art, design, cloisane, jewelry, singing, theatre, clothing, costume, opera, ballet, nature, clay, botany, flowers, landscape, and any combination. It's my belief that understanding the different art forms enriches our lives.
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JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Jun, 2004 10:47 pm
CI., drums?
Just kiddin' you're undoubtedly right, as usual.
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cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Jun, 2004 11:00 pm
JLN, Take a gander at the following link. Wink
http://www.taiko.org/articles/rev-050997.html
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JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Jun, 2004 11:10 pm
Yes, thanks. I've seen on film traditional Japanese drummer groups. Powerful stuff.
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Miller
 
  1  
Reply Mon 21 Jun, 2004 08:44 am
Tap dance is also an art form.
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JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Mon 21 Jun, 2004 05:07 pm
Well, o.K., at the level of the harmonica and accordian.
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cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Mon 21 Jun, 2004 05:11 pm
I think tap dance is more athleticism than art. Wink
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