Author Archives: danitsa andaluz

Posts by danitsa andaluz

Are these statements true? What is the significance of this?

In “Art and Civilization”, John Dewey says “the first stirrings of dissatisfaction and the first intimations of a better future are always found in works of art.” Do you agree with this statement? Why or why not?

But art, wherein man speaks in no wise to man,

Only to mankind– art may tell a truth

Obliquely, do the deed shall breed the thought

What is the significance and/or meaning of this quote? Why might Dewey have chosen to conclude this way?

Given Richard L. Anderson’s various examples, such as the Navajo and Yoruba peoples, do you agree with his assertion that “art is an absolute necessity”? Why or why not?



Does it really matter?

Both Peter Schjeldah, the author of “Moving Pictures” and Martin Filler, the author of “Victory!” seem to agree with the relocation of the Barnes Collection. Although, both very thoroughly describe the new location, neither delve into the legal/political obstacles faced by the state in having the collection moved.

  • Why have the authors decided to leave this information out?Would the readers of these articles view the situation differently if presented with such information or would it not make a difference?

Although it is clear that Barnes’ will was violated by having the collection moved from its original home in Merion county to Philadelphia’s museum mile, both authors argue that strict stipulations have preserved Barnes’ aesthetic as much as possible. They also mention that the collection is still being used for educational purposes as was desired by Barnes.

  • Could one argue that although the collection was moved, Barnes’ wishes are still being respected?
  • To what extent is it significant that the collection has been relocated if the experience has been preserved?

Comments by danitsa andaluz

"In "Aesthetic Concepts," Frank Sibley discusses aesthetic terms and non-aethetic terms. Aesthetic terms (such as balanced) are not often applied by the layman as he/she may not have "taste" or "sensitivity." He defines "taste" as "an ability to notice or see or tell that things have certain qualities…." This concept of taste is rarer than other human abilities but can be exercised by everyone to a certain degree. Essentially, aesthetic terms are dependent upon non-aesthetic terms (it is balanced because the entire painting is illuminated equally). Due to this dependency aesthetic terms do no have specific formulas and cannot be easily defined. Sibley says that unlike, say a square which is defined as a four-sided polygon with four right angles, words such as delicate or powerful cannot be defined this way. From this arises the various arguments and debates as to how these words can be defined and applied. Sibley also makes the distinction between taste and judgement, judgement often requires weighing the negatives and the positives unlike taste. A person incapable of taste could through some fabricated formula decide what may be described using an aesthetic term such as beautiful but it would be rather easy to convince him otherwise simply by changing what goes into the formula for beautiful. However, the critic is not insecure in this way about his/her analysis. He supports his claim and manages to convince us that his view is the correct one. The same way a critic develops his sense of taste it is possible for any person to develop their sense of taste. Basically, although most people do not have taste, we all have the potential to acquire it."
--( posted on Nov 20, 2013, commenting on the post Frank Sibley, “Aesthetic concepts” )
"In "Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?" Linda Nochlin first addresses the usual answers to this question. The first is that "the rarity of female artists is in fact an illusion" because there have been plenty of great female artists who have been overlooked or ignored and subsequently their work has disappeared from history. Nochlin does not believe that history has been manipulated enough to have completely eliminated female artist from history. The second response to this question is that female greatness in art is different from male greatness because a woman's experience in life is very different from that of a man. She argues that this could be considered true if somehow the work of female artists shared some attributes in contrast to the work of men. However, "in every instance, women artists and writers would seem to be closer to other artists and writers of their own period and outlook than they are to each other." Nochlin argues that both of these responses fail to recognize that there really have been no great female artists. This response comes partially from the misconception of "genius", the idea that talent is "embedded in the person" and will make itself known no matter what and the underestimation of environmental factors, institutions that encourage artistic development. She says that similarly, there have been no great Eskimo artists or Black American artists and this is to blame on the institutions that foster great artists and not on the lack of talent among these groups. These institutions such as the great art schools of Europe were designed to include and exclude certain people, such as women. Until rather recently, women were not allowed to receive the same education as men or to explore the same careers, therefore they have not been able to reach the same potential as men in these fields. In answering the question "why have there been no great women artists?" we must not analyze the lack of talent of females but society's inequity of opportunities for females. How can we expect there to be great women artists if they are not given the chance to reach equal standing with men?"
--( posted on Nov 18, 2013, commenting on the post Linda Nochlin, “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?” )
"In "Understanding Art and Understanding Persons", Berenson makes reference to cultural relativism, a concept those of us taking philosophy are familiar with. This idea basically states that we cannot impose our standards of what is moral behavior on anyone outside of our culture. He brings this theory to art in saying that a relativist would argue that we cannot present judgements of the arts of other cultures as we are not part of them and therefore our own biases would affect our opinions. Berenson disagrees with this and sites "members of remote cultures excelling in Western music," as proof that this is not an accurate idea. Although, I think it is sometimes difficult for us to understand the practices and subsequently the art of other cultures and sometimes we have no real basis to judge this art, there are certain unspoken basics to what is considered beautiful or pleasing to the senses. Some art I think appeals to a specific culture such as traditional tribal tattoos or religion-specific music but some arts transcend this specificity and so create an impression on anyone. It is also important to note Berenson's point about understanding a specific culture and the context of that work of art and how that helps us to further appreciate that work. He says, "one has to work at it in order to understand it with no guarantee of success. One has to learn… about what such music is trying to achieve.." By this I think that he is saying that understanding art in general takes effort, even the art of one's own culture, it just takes a little more effort to understand another culture's art. He is also saying that to understand the significance of a work and what that work seeks to achieve furthers our ability to comprehend it. I would fully agree with this point."
--( posted on Nov 6, 2013, commenting on the post Frances Berenson, “Understanding Art and Understanding Persons” )
"In "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction," Walter Benjamin makes it very apparent that he disagrees with the concept of mechanical reproduction of artwork. He makes various points as to why mechanical reproduction detracts from the artwork itself. One of those point is that "the desire of contemporary masses to bring things 'closer' spatially and humanly, which is just as ardent as their bent toward overcoming the uniqueness of every reality by accepting its reproduction." I interpret this statement to mean that we cheapen things because people are so obsessed with making everything convenient or easily available and subsequently we destroy uniqueness. In essence we must ask ourselves if by producing thousands of pictures of the Statue of Liberty do we take away from seeing the Statue of Liberty in person? In our attempt to make things faster, closer, or more convenient do we take away from the experience? My opinion is that we often do. In the new generation of technology many people do not feel the need to go hear an orchestra because they can easily go to YouTube and listen to the same music. Why would they bother to go to an art museum if they could easily Google Picasso and get hundreds of results? If the only way you could see the Eiffel Tower was to go to Paris yourself then you would make it your business to go to Paris. The idea of uniqueness is also a major component of this argument. If there were pyramids everywhere would we think pyramids were so amazing. When we are constantly surrounded by something we seem to dismiss it, to look over it, because we expect it to be there the next day. However, when we don't have something available to us everyday we are more likely to focus on every aspect of that thing. Overall, Benjamin is saying that mass mechanical reproduction of art robs it of so many of the things that make it special including its uniqueness."
--( posted on Oct 29, 2013, commenting on the post Walter Benjamin )
"To what extent do you agree with Copland? Do you think that because a piece of music relays the same message or experience to you each time you hear it makes it dull over time, or is this something that you might enjoy about a composition (it’s consistency and clearness, arguably)? I completely agree with Copland that music that relays the same message to you often becomes dull after repetitive listening, whereas a piece that makes you feel differently every time seems to reach you on a higher level. I believe these pieces that reach you on a higher level are what we often call "classics." These songs seem timeless and affect us no matter how old we are or what we are going through. What we find in these songs is not a clear and consistent message but a message that is flexible and molds to our situation, comforting us or lifting us. These are usually the songs that we remember years later and chose to play at important events. Do you agree with Copland that unlike with reading a novel or with watching a play, our experience with music covers a different dimension of response to which words and thoughts aren’t satisfactory to explain our experiences with music? I also agree with Copland that music often reaches us on a level or makes us feel things that we cannot find words for. However, naturally as humans we attempt to express these emotions or something close to them anyway. I believe this is what we can refer to as sublimity, an emotion so unlike any other that we cannot describe it. It is perhaps because music unlike literature does not state anything, it is merely the use of sound to attempt to make a statement, nothing is said explicitly. Therefore, what we feel is not always an explicit feeling but one we reach implicitly perhaps because of our own experience or emotional state."
--( posted on Oct 9, 2013, commenting on the post 10/8 – Copland, Kramer, Sparshott )
"1. In refuting how art has previously been defined, Tolstoy argues that definitions of art are formed around that which has already been accepted as such. He states that "no matter what insanities appear in art, when once they find acceptance among the upper class of our society a theory is quickly invented to explain them and sanction them...." Do you agree/disagree that this phenomena is true? Why might this occur?Are there any exceptions to this phenomena? 2. Tolstoy says that, "in spite of the mountains of books written about art, no definition of art has been constructed." He argues that this is due to the emphasis of art as that which creates beauty, and not on how it is a method of transferring emotions.What do you believe has inhibited man from accurately defining art? 3. Tolstoy then goes on to provide his own definition of art as "one of the means of intercourse between man and man." He asserts that art is that which transmits one man's emotions to another man and gives various example to support his claim. Is Tolstoy's definition better than those he deems inaccurate? Does Tolstoy come closer to defining art?"
--( posted on Sep 25, 2013, commenting on the post 9/26 – Tolstoy )
"Do you agree that culture has a connotation of elitism and elegance? If so, does stripping it of its connotations and integrating it into our everyday vocabulary help us attain a state of mind where we strive to learn and grow as a person? I agree with Williams that in American use the word "culture" is often associated with wealthy, elitists who, (as Barnes argued) use art as a backdrop for their social affairs. However, I do not agree that integrating it into our everyday vocabulary can help us strive to learn and grow as people. Our willingness and drive to learn, stems not from the way we use the word "culture" but from many other sources. I believe it comes more from our own curiosity, maturity, and an encouraging environment. Changing the connotation of the word "culture" does help to expand our perception of what can qualify as "culture" and perhaps even encourages creativity and innovation. Nonetheless, our quest for knowledge in general and growth will remain unaffected."
--( posted on Sep 23, 2013, commenting on the post 9/24 – Williams and Cortazar consolidated )
"Can anyone benefit from art or do you need to have some education in art to truly enjoy it? I do not believe that one needs any formal education to benefit from or enjoy art. To benefit from art/to enjoy art means to have an emotional, perhaps even psychological, reaction to the work of art. No diploma or degree could possibly facilitate that. Any person (rich, poor, educated, uneducated) could look at a painting and feel something, whether it be what the artist intended or simply confusion as to what it is they feel. It could be argued that attending an art class could help one understand the context of a work of art, such as the time period, the aesthetic of the artist, and/or the artists that influenced that artist. In many ways, this could allow one to look more deeply into the piece, however the educated individual does not enjoy the piece any more than the uneducated one. If a performance is designed to make one feel something it will make both the educated person and the uneducated person feel something."
--( posted on Sep 23, 2013, commenting on the post 9/24 – Williams and Cortazar consolidated )