Re: ART: What Art Is

From: Natasha Vita-More (
Date: Sat May 27 2000 - 22:40:14 MDT

At 08:58 PM 5/27/00 -0700, Daniel wrote:

>"Cultural icon Ayn Rand (1905-1982) was known as much for her philosophy as
>for her fiction. Her original theory of esthetics, which attacks many
>"masterpieces" of modernist art, is as combative and controversial as any of
>her work, but until now has received little serious scrutiny. In What Art
>Is, the authors demonstrate that Rand's ideas are supported by evidence from
>other academic fields."

Rand's lack of appreciation for art and the arts outside her own personal
opinion (however, she called it objective) was more due to her inability to
understand and appreciate knowledge outside her own sphere. Her rigidity
and lack of experience in Contemporary Art seems to be reflective of the
rigidity in her psychology and her need for control. This behavior runs
contrary to the open mindedness and curious attitude which can be aroused
by fluidity and uncertainty. Such reactions as feelings of fluidity and
uncertainty stem are emotions experienced form contemporary art and which
art modes. Rand did not have the intellectual flexibility to understand
such freeness of intelligent thinking, and such she disregarded as

Although an "intellectual", she lacked a necessary ingredient of an
intellectual thinker -- ability to develop knowledge and understanding from
areas of thought outside one's one sphere of expertise.

>>From the Back Cover (also as
>"A groundbreaking alternative to this view is provided by
>philosopher-novelist Ayn Rand (1905 1982). Best known as the author of The
>Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, Rand also created an original and
>illuminating theory of art, which confirms the widespread view that much of
>today's purported art is really not art at all.

Narrow, limited, uninformed. This is as ridiculous as claiming that
today's purported science is really not science at all. The subjective
aspect of art is whatever the artists chooses his art to be. the objective
aspect of art is represented in the outcome of the artist's ideas -- the

I find that art today is so fascinating -- so beyond anything ever thought
of years ago -- it's just different. This evening, I was watching a
program on TV with Ray Kurzweil and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, and four other
creative thinkers on the subject of "Creativity." I loved it. The
consensus was that there are no boundaries on creativity and that a most
necessary element of creativity is to allow oneself to explore an open
range of possibilities, to make mistakes, to rearrange ideas, etc. If the
only worthwhile art, as Rand preferred, was the Romantic period and artists
kept making the same plays, fiction, music paintings and sculpture with the
same ol' tools, there would never have been challenge to artististic
creativity. How contrary to her own values!

>"The authors apply Rand's theory to a debunking of the work of prominent
>modernists and postmodernists from Mondrian, Jackson Pollock, and Samuel
>Beckett to John Cage, Merce Cunningham, and other highly regarded
>postmodernist figures. Finally, they explore the implications of Rand's
>ideas for the issues of government and corporate support of the arts, art
>law, and arts education."

Oh my. This paragraph is painful to read. Pollock (painter), Cage
(musician), Cunningham (dancer/choreographer) were brilliant artists whose
*innovative* abilities shook the very foundation of the old-world
stifling-stamp on what society thought art was supposed to be. Their
visionary approach to creativity helped society to break free of
intellectual and emotional constraints.

Natasha Vita-More:
To Order the book: Create/Recreate: The 3rd Millennial Culture
Extropic Art & Transhumanist Arts Center:
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