Mike Toliver Posted April 14, 2005 Share Posted April 14, 2005 John's topic on women in art has already raised a number of interesting issues, many of which should have their own threads. One such seems to me to be the question I pose for this topic. I'm teaching in the aesthetics section of our western civilization and culture course right now. The title of this section is "You cal THAT art?" - a kind of send-up of many people's reactions to modern art. The alternative title is more traditional: "Why is art important?" It is abundantly clear that even the students interested in art have never encountered aesthetics before - and quite frankly they're encountering it right now from a biologist who's sole training in this area comes from a spouse who is an artist and art historian and discussions with my colleagues over the years. In the "women as artists" topic one of the contributors noted the difference between "modern art" - which she characterized as non-representational - and representational art. Many people want their paintings to look like something real. But the advent of photography (an art form in itself) pretty much takes away the need for representationalism unless the painter wants to make a particular kind of statement. I began the aesthetics unit by showing some Kandinsky and Franz Marc - two of the painters most responsible for the break from representation. I particularly focused on Marc's "Fate of the Animals" because to me, that is one of the greatest works of the 20th century. It is prescient - of WWI, of ecological destruction, of the fragmentation of our own lives. I think great art captures revolutionary moments before anyone else recognizes them as revolutionary moments. Picasso's cubist paintings did that, so did the impressionists, so did the expressionists. Jimi Hendrix did it at Woodstock when he played the "Star Spangled Banner". What do you think makes something "art"? Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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