Re: ART: What Art Is

From: Technotranscendence (
Date: Mon May 29 2000 - 23:42:15 MDT

On Monday, May 29, 2000 6:44 PM Natasha Vita-More
> >(I'm
> >not sure if Natasha thinks they are, but I'd like to hear her comments on
> >what she thinks is salvageable from Rand's esthetics per se.)
> The subject of aesthetics would be good to discuss at some point, but
> a different thread. My interest in this thread has waned -- not because
> you didn't bring up an interesting subject, but because if we are going to
> discuss art criticism, I'd rather discuss the ideas of art critics, such
> Susan Sontag and Robert Atkins.

After hearing Sontag's dismissal of Leni Riefenstahl, I'm almost inclined to
dismiss her.:) Almost that is. I'm game. What do Sontag and Atkins have
to add here?

> >I expect Natasha here to contend that art _is_ outside identity or
> >its identity...:)
> I'm not sure where you picked up.

I didn't. I was just making a guess. Still haven't read Natasha's book, so
I should probably not try to divine too much from what I've read of her
stuff here. My bad.

> I find that it is difficult to separate
> art from the artist when considering motivation and/or theory. It seems
> be my practice to link art with the artist (surely in filmmaking, music,
> visual arts, literature, poetry, etc.)

I don't entirely disagree with this, though I'm sure Natasha is aware of the
"intentional fallacy." I'm not sure if I agree completely that it is a
fallacy, though, in many cases, one can't know much about the artist if
anything at all. How much, e.g., do we know about Homer? Certainly,
understanding and even enjoyment is enhanced when more is known.

Rand uses the artist's theme as a way of measuring the work -- by how well
the theme is concretized in the work. (Note: this type of measurement would
still be salvagable even if you disagree with the rest of her esthetics.)
See page 42 of her _The Romantic Manifesto_. This would in many cases NOT
depend on knowing the artist's intentions if the theme can be discerned from
the work itself. (She seems to believe such is possible as she rattles off
what she believes is the themes of various artists.)


Daniel Ust

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