“Why is That Art?” Chapter 3 Response

Woops!!! i thought this went up last week but apparently it only saved it. Anyways, here are my answers to Chapter 3 in “Why is that Art”, Expressionism and Cognitivism.

1.When if ever is knowledge of an artists intent in making a work of art valuable and relevant to interpreting or judging a work.

I think that a piece of work should be able to stand on its own and be judged on its own merits without any other information known. However, if an artist is adamant that they want a piece of work to be viewed in a certain light then it is critical that they provide that extra information to the viewer.

2. When, if ever, is biographical information of a psychological nature relevant when interpreting and judging a work of art?

The same as in #1, the work should stand on its own but if the artist feels that their life is important to interpreting the piece of work the way that they originally intended it or feel that it should be seen as, then that history is important. Obviously anyone can play psychotherapist and assume that a certain element from childhood affected a piece of art when in actuality it had absolutely no effect on the artist.

 3.What does it mean to say that x expresses y?

The phrase is used to express “x expresses y if and only if the artist was or felt y when producing x.”  So the painting expresses happiness if and only if the artist was or felt happiness when producing x. This can be false since many people could find a supposedly sad painting to seem happy or vice versa. Also, an artist could feel many opposite sentiments while making a work so it is not safe to assume that only one emotion was felt the entire time.

 4. Is a “sentimental” work of art a good work of Expressive art? 

Since Expressive art is all about expressing the artists feelings, then if they have certain feelings while making a work of art then they have the freedom to express it. I do not think that that a particular category of feeling should be a judge of whether it is a good or bad piece, ie works of happiness vs works of rage.

5. Can knowledge derived from works of art be trusted?

There is no knowledge that can be derived from a piece of work that can be “trusted.” Without in-put from the artist, you cannot judge a piece and deem everything to be true since it is how the artist feels or a point they want to express that they may see in a certain light but it could be false. Artists have “artistic license” since they are free to change whatever they want in their work whether it is the color of someones hair or the entire way they see the human body. There is nothing to say that their way or idea is better or worse but it should be seen as their views and not necessarily fact. Even though Expressionism and Cognitivism believe that art should be sincere expressions of feelings and insights, there is no way to verify that.

6. What is the relevance of Expressionist or Congnitivist aesthetics to a working artist? 

As an artist, Expressionist and Cognitivist aesthetics can be helpful in providing guidelines to work by as well as inspiring the artist to express a feeling or view in a way that the viewer could learn and appreciate from. Both admire the unique characteristics of an artist and encourage those to be honestly displayed in the work that they make.

7.What is the relevance of Expressionist or Cognitivist artworks to an aesthetician? 

Expressionist and Cognitivism desire the viewer to be active in viewing a work and to make an effort to understand what is expressed by the artist.


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