AESTHETICS FOR BIRDS

Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art for Everyone


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100 PHILOSOPHERS 100 ARTWORKS 100 WORDS #63

Philosopher: Íngrid Vendrell Ferran, (Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena)

Artwork: Dieter Roth, 1974, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel’s Work in 20 Volumes

roth_dieter-1974-georgwilhelmfriedrichhegel-dhnnfndhdhnn

Words: This provocative “neo-dadaist” work is one of the “literature sausages” (Literaturwurst) elaborated by Roth between 1961 and 1974, using traditional sausages recipes but replacing the meat with paper.  In this case, the 20 sausages in question have been fabricated using Hegel´s collected works. How would you feel about seeing the philosophical work of an admired philosopher transformed in sausages?  What is the sense of such a metamorphosis? In my view, the work suggests that some of our deepest philosophical thoughts start as “gut feelings” and have to be somehow “digested” in order to be understood.


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ASA FUNDS WORKSHOP ON ART, PERCEPTION, AND HISTORY

The American Society for Aesthetics Board of Trustees has approved support for the Workshop on Art, Perception, and History, at the University of Toronto, May 5-6, 2017. The Workshop is organized by Sonia Sedivy, Associate Professor of Philosophy, University of Toronto.

ASA has awarded up to $4,600 in support, plus an additional $1000 to support attendance at the Workshop by ASA student members. Support is also being provided by several units of the University of Toronto. The workshop is free and open to the public.

“Chilkat Blanket, Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago, Illinois, Made of Goat Hair and Cedar Bark” by Field Museum of Natural History is licensed under CC0 1.0

“Chilkat Blanket, Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago, Illinois, Made of Goat Hair and Cedar Bark” by Field Museum of Natural History is licensed under CC0 1.0

Speakers will include:

From Art History

  • Whitney Davis, University of California, Berkeley, Art History

http://arthistory.berkeley.edu/person/1639581-whitney-davis

  • Jason Gaiger, University of Oxford, The Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art

http://www.rsa.ox.ac.uk/people/jason-gaiger

  • Amy Powell, University of California, Irvine, Art History

http://www.faculty.uci.edu/profile.cfm?faculty_id=5553

  • Paul G. Smith, University of Warwick, History of Art

https://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/arts/arthistory/staff/smith/

From Philosophy of Art or Perception

  • Diarmuid Costello, philosophy, University of Warwick

http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/philosophy/people/costello/

  • Robert Hopkins, New York University, Philosophy

http://philosophy.fas.nyu.edu/object/roberthopkins.html

  • Bence Nanay, University of Antwerp, Centre for Philosophical Psychology

http://uahost.uantwerpen.be/bence.nanay/

  • Belinda Piercy, University of Toronto, Philosophy, Ph.D. 2016.
  • Sonia Sedivy, University of Toronto, Philosophy

http://www.utsc.utoronto.ca/people/sedivy/

  • Kendall L. Walton, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Philosophy

https://sites.lsa.umich.edu/kendallwalton/

The workshop will focus on the way that works of art and visual culture are poised at the intersection of history and perception. Such works are imbued with their historical situation and with historical relationship to other works. Yet for the most part, it is through their perceptible properties that they have their impact.

To explore this nexus, the workshop aims to bring together art historians with two sub-disciplines from philosophy – philosophy of perception as well as aesthetics. While art historians and philosophers of art have collaborated to some extent, bringing philosophers of perception explicitly into the mix is a recent development. The objective of the workshop is to initiate fully three-way collaborative research between art historians, philosophers of art and aesthetics, and philosophers of perception.

The main goal of the workshop is to create bridges between these three fields of study to produce integrated, multi-dimensional research into works of art and visual culture. A small intensive workshop is ideal for discussing methodological differences, for sharing knowledge and for facilitating shared language.

The workshop will address a number of questions of broad interest to which art historians and philosophers of art and perception have turned their attention. For example:

1. How are historical developments made perceptibly manifest in artworks and non-art pictures more broadly, including photographs?

2. What is aesthetic value? How can such value be both historically contingent and perceptual in nature?

3. How do pictures work? How do diverse kinds of pictorial vehicles make contents available?

4. What is distinctive about photographs?

5. What makes properties aesthetic and when is perceptual experience aesthetic?


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MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN: GOVERNMENT EMPLOYED ARTISTS!

1936 or 1937 poster. Image via Library of Congress on Flickr.

1936 or 1937 poster. Image via Library of Congress on Flickr

 

Check out one way we could make America great again by reading a new article up on Artsy, written by Tess Thackara: “What We Can Learn from the Brief Period When the Government Employed Artists”. Learn about how the Works Progress Administration (WPA) supported artists and diversity in the arts for a brief time in American history…


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ASA TO AWARD DIVERSITY CURRICULUM GRANTS

The American Society of Aesthetics is pleased to announce the 2017 competition for Curriculum Diversification Grants.  Up to three grants for up to $5,000 each will be awarded in 2017.  The application deadline is May 1, 2017.

Coloured lithograph, 1868, depicting a double rainbow, by René Henri Digeon after Étienne Antoine Eugène Ronjat

Grantees will develop detailed annotated reading lists, complete with background reading, that are organized into modules covering core areas in aesthetics/philosophy of art. The idea here is not to develop modules oriented primarily around gender, race, disability, etc., but, rather, to promote diversity at the heart of mainstream aesthetics and philosophy of art.  Modules should be usable in, for instance: introduction to aesthetics/philosophy of art courses; courses on particular historical figures or movements (e.g., Plato’s or Aristotle’s aesthetics, Medieval aesthetics, Scottish Enlightenment aesthetics, Continental aesthetics); courses devoted topics or problems within core areas in aesthetics/philosophy of art (e.g., Fiction, Film, Narrative, Music, Depiction, Art and Ethics, Ontology of Art, Definitions of Art, Theories of the Aesthetic).

These modules can be “diverse” in a variety of ways by: (1) centrally featuring writing by members of underrepresented groups; (2) including works that give significant philosophical attention to artworks by members of underrepresented groups or from the non-European tradition; (3) devoting significant philosophical attention to topics related to members of underrepresented groups (e.g., disability in philosophy of dance, the relevance of social standpoint to aesthetic judgment, objectification and the genre of the nude, racist jokes and the ethics of humor, implicit bias in aesthetic judgment, and so on).

Each grantee should produce at least 30 English-language readings each (including translations into English), organized according to topics (or “modules” as described above) within mainstream aesthetics. (As noted above, modules include, but certainly are not limited to: ontology of art, definitions of art, theories of the aesthetic, depiction, metaphor, imagination and make-believe, taste, beauty, art and ethics, humor, historical topics such as medieval aesthetics, or any of the individual arts.) Each suggested reading should come with an annotation of at least one paragraph that gives a general summary of the reading and explains how it fits in the broader topic of the module. The citation for the reading should indicate sufficient information so that the reading can be readily obtained by potential users for teaching (e.g., journal article in a widely available database, book chapter generally available at North American libraries). Grantees must agree to respond to one round of requested revisions when deemed necessary by the review committee.

Previous successful projects are available at: http://aesthetics-online.org/?CurriculumGrants

Winning authors will retain copyright in their own modules, but the ASA reserves a non-exclusive royalty-free license to publish the winning modules for its own official purposes, including (but not limited to) publication on the ASA web site. Each author must certify that the module has not previously been published in either print or on-line media.

Applications should include:

  • Separate cover sheet with applicant’s name and contact information
  • CV
  • Detailed description of the project (no more than 1,500 words).
  • Budget and justification for the budget
    • Applicants may request funds for a summer stipend at the applicant’s regular institutional rate.
    • The budget can also include the cost of books purchased for this project.

Applications should be prepared for anonymous review, in either Word or PDF format.  The applicant’s name and contact information appearing only on a separate cover sheet and, of course, CV.  Applications will be reviewed anonymously by members of the ASA’s Diversity Committee, Feminist Caucus Committee, and Board of Trustees.  Only one proposal per applicant.  All decisions are final.  Applicants must be members of the ASA.

No grant will be awarded if, in the opinion of the judges, no proposal of sufficient merit and appropriateness is received.

Applications should be directed to A.W. Eaton, Diversity Committee Co-Chair, at: eaton.aw@gmail.com  Deadline for receipt of applications is 5 pm CDT Monday, May 1, 2017.  Grantees will be announced by Friday, June 2, 2017.  Projects due by Monday, August 21, 2017, unless otherwise requested and approved.

The complete CFA in PDF format is available here:

http://aesthetics-online.org/resource/resmgr/files/diversity/Curriculum.Diversification.C.pdf


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100 PHILOSOPHERS 100 ARTWORKS 100 WORDS #62

Philosopher: Dr. Martha C. Beck, Lyon College

Artwork: Fences, 2016, American drama directed by Denzel Washington and written by August Wilson, based on Wilson’s 1983 play, Fences

Words: This play exposes the long-term impacts of the deep-seated racism in American society. Its release at the end of 2016, soon after the presidential election, provided an opportunity for Americans to think more deeply about pervasive racism. The movie Loving, written and directed by Jeff Nichols, was released simultaneously. Both movies describe pervasive patterns, the artist by creating archetypes and the docudramatist through a historical event. Audiences should recognize these patterns and try to change. Both artists present citizens with stories that expose the dark side of their societies, hoping to bring about a higher level of civilization.


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ASA TO SPONSOR AESTHETICS SPEAKERS AT 2017 DIVERSITY INSTITUTES

The Board of Trustees of the American Society for Aesthetics has approved sponsoring aesthetics speakers at three diversity institutes in the summer of 2017:

  • (1) the Summer Program for Women in Philosophy at UC San Diego, June 28-July 8;
  • (2) the 20th Annual Rutgers Summer Institute for Diversity in Philosophy, July 10-17;
  • (3) the Summer Immersion Program at Brown University, July 28.

chinese-ornament

For each of the three institutes, the ASA-sponsored speaker will attend the Institute for two days, give a 2-1/2 hour presentation (including a question and answer period), and take meals with the students. Each speaker will receive an honorarium, plus travel, lodging, and meals at the institute site.

For more information on each institute, please consult their web sites:

Applications are now be sought for these appointments. Applicants to be the ASA speaker must be current members of the ASA. Applicants should send a current CV (or URL of a current CV) and a brief statement (no more than 750 words) of the proposed presentation in Word or PDF format. In each case, presenters will be introducing aesthetics to undergraduate philosophy majors with little or no experience with aesthetics.

Applicants should clearly indicate which program(s) for which they would like to be considered. Applicants can ask to be considered for one, two, or three of the institutes, but only one application should be submitted. ASA-sponsored speakers at previous summer institutes are eligible, although priority will be given to applicants who have not previously presented on ASA’s behalf.

Applications should be sent by e-mail no later than March 1, 2017, to the ASA Secretary-Treasurer at secretary-treasurer@aesthetics-online.org. A decision by ASA on finalists is expected no later than March 15 by an ad hoc committee appointed by the ASA President. The final speaker selection will be made by each respective institute director.

http://aesthetics-online.org/resource/resmgr/files/CFA_Diversity_Institutes_201.pdf


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100 PHILOSOPHERS 100 ARTWORKS 100 WORDS #61

Philosopher: Rossen Ventzislavov, Woodbury University

Artwork: Last Year at Marienbad, 1961, directed by Alain Resnais

Words: Last Year at Marienbad” is a cinematic argument for the inscrutability of thought. In the radical absence of plot, actions barely animate the succession of mysterious dioramas. The film’s cold aesthetic appeal—its rhythm of architectural and sartorial chiaroscuro—suggests relationships beyond the visible. But what does it all amount to? If this were merely an elaborate exercise in style, why would it leave the impression that it hides so much? And if it had a deeper meaning, why would it remain so persistently unavailable? What if logic could completely dissolve in the seduction of a cognitive impasse? 


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NEW MA IN PHILOSOPHY & THE ARTS AT THE UNIVERSITY OF WARWICK, UK

Applications are now open for an innovative new MA at the University at Warwick allowing students to combine Philosophy with one or more Arts disciplines. Warwick Philosophy operates a rolling admissions process, considering applications as they come in. Early application is encouraged to secure a place.

A Formal Garden, Janson, 1766
The contributing departments to the new degree are i) Philosophy ii) English & Comparative Literature iii) Film & TV, and iv) Art History. Candidates take modules from Philosophy plus one or more arts disciplines, and have the option of gaining the degree by fulfilling the coursework requirements of 6 modules or of 4 modules plus dissertation. The degree has been designed to introduce students from both Philosophy and a variety of Arts and Humanities backgrounds to detailed philosophical study of the arts, in combination with the kind of first order critical, theoretical and historical attention to works of art, film and literature offered by the relevant Depts. A first degree in Philosophy is not required for this programme, but conveners will be looking for evidence of previous theoretical/philosophical study of a relevant art, plus aptitude for philosophical study of the arts.

The degree has been structured so as to allow students maximum flexibility in tailoring the degree to their specific interests—e.g. by focusing narrowly on philosophy and one art, or more widely across philosophy and diverse arts. The following combinations are possible:

  • Philosophy & Literature
  • Philosophy & Film
  • Philosophy & Art History
  • Philosophy, Film & Art History
  • Philosophy Art History & Literature;
  • Philosophy, Literature & Film
  • Philosophy, Film, Art History, & Literature*

(*Non-dissertation route only.)

All students take the co-taught core module “Topics in Philosophy & the Arts:” http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/philosophy/studywithus/pgtstudy/modules/ph9f7/

Together with modules of their choice from the extensive list available across the contributing Depts. Information on the modules currently available can be found here:

https://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/philosophy/postgraduate/modules/
http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/arts/english/currentstudents/pg/masters/modules/mamodules16_17/
http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/arts/film/prospective/ma
http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/arts/arthistory/applying/postgraduate/macourses/modules/

More detailed information on the degree can be found by following the links on the pages below:

http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/study/postgraduate/courses/depts/philosophy/taught/philosophyartsma/

http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/philosophy/studywithus/pgtstudy/ma-philosophy-and-arts

The degree is supported intellectually by the Warwick’s internationally renown Centre for Research in Philosophy, Literature and the Arts:http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/philosophy/research/researchcentres/phillit

image


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NEW ARTHUR DANTO/ASA PRIZE ANNOUNCED

The American Philosophical Association and the American Society for Aesthetics are pleased to announce the establishment of the Arthur Danto/American Society for Aesthetics Prize. The prize recognizes outstanding published work in aesthetics in honor of the late Arthur Danto, a past-president of the APA-Eastern Division.

The Prize will be awarded to a member of the APA and ASA for the best paper in the field of aesthetics, broadly understood, in a refereed journal, or an original book chapter or original essay published in a collection with a multiplicity of contributors. The award will be presented in even-numbered years, commencing in 2018.

The winner will receive a $1,000 prize. In addition, a symposium in honor of the recipient of the Prize will be held at the APA Eastern Division meeting, normally the next such meeting following the selection of the prize winner. The symposium will normally include a summary of the selected paper by the award winner, followed by panelists commenting upon the ideas of the selected paper, then followed by a response from the award winner.

For the 2018 award, the nomination deadline is May 31, 2017. Nominations of papers published in 2015 and 2016 are encouraged from journal editors, authors, and colleagues. Nominations must be from a person who is a member of both APA and ASA at the time of nomination. Each such person may nominate only one paper per year and self-nominations are not permitted. The nominated material should be submitted electronically as a PDF replicating the original publication. Eligibility is governed by the volume year of the journal, regardless of the date on which the issue containing the nominated article actually appeared in print. Any individual may win the Prize only once.

In addition to providing the funds for the award, the ASA will provide travel support to the winner if that person has no other access to travel funds that could be used for the meeting during the academic year of the prize receipt. The travel funds would be determined solely on the basis of financial need, not the perceived merit of the paper.

Selection of the winner and the commentators for the symposium will be made jointly by representatives from the ASA and the APA with expertise in aesthetics, broadly understood.

For more information, please contact prizes@apaonline.org or secretary-treasurer@aesthetics-online.org

The ASA Newsletter dedicated to the memory of Arthur Danto (Issue 33.3-Winter 2013) is available here.


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100 PHILOSOPHERS 100 ARTWORKS 100 WORDS #60

Philosopher: Anne PollokUniversity of South Carolina

Artwork: Caravaggio, Saint Matthew and the Angel, 1602

caravaggio_st_matthew_and_the_angel_1602

Words: Caravaggio’s daring interpretation of St. Matthew captivated me instantaneously. A dynamic mixture of saintly helplessness and angelic sensuality – I longed to experience the original. That hope was squished immediately when I read the description – a lost work of art. Have we really lost the work, or could we save what is essential of it? Its main “idea” is still there in a sensible form, not as a concept, but once removed. It has been over 15 years now that I first felt Caravaggio’s greatness, and that I learned about the loss, and never have I ceased thinking about it.