Aesthetics for Birds

Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art for Everyone

February 14, 2019
by Aesthetics for Birds
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Owning What Isn’t: Copyright and Conceptual Art

What follows is a guest post from Darren Hudson Hick (Texas Tech University). A few weeks back, as my aesthetics undergrads were taking their final exam, I was sitting in the back of the room, reading Susan M. Bielstein’s 2006 book, Permissions, A Survival Guide: Blunt Talk about Art as Intellectual Property. It’s a book about the history, legality, and pragmatics of art permissions, and it’s a page-turner. Seriously: it’s easily one of the best books about copyright that I’ve read in years (and, by God, that’s saying a lot). Bielstein is the executive editor for art, architecture, classical studies and film at the University of Chicago Press, so she knows what she’s talking about, and she’s an enviably good writer. Accompanying each image in the book is a note about how much Bielstein paid to use the image, and to whom. On page 58 is a reproduction of Robert … Continue reading

January 31, 2019
by Aesthetics for Birds
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Sterling HolyWhiteMountain on Blood Quantum, Native Art, and Cultural Appropriation

Blackfeet author Sterling HolyWhiteMountain talks about what it means to call something “Native Art” and whether it’s a useful category. Continue reading

December 6, 2018
by Aesthetics for Birds
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Can We Separate the Art from the Artist?

The following is an updated version of a post that appeared originally on the philosophy website Daily Nous as part of their “Philosophers On” series. Thanks to Justin Weinberg for permission to repost it with updates here. This edition of Artworld Roundtable appears in collaboration with Chris Richards, the pop music critic for the Washington Post. Over the last several weeks, we have presented a series of roundtable discussions based on Richards’ “five hardest questions in pop music”: “cultural appropriation, problematic lyricism, selling out, the ethics of posthumous listening, and … separating the art from the artist.” AFB has rounded up several thinkers working in these areas to see what they have to say about each question. Richards has provided AFB with key examples to draw out the problems and complexities of each debate. First was cultural appropriation. Second was how to respect the wishes of dead artists. Third was whether selling out … Continue reading

October 10, 2018
by Aesthetics for Birds
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Artworld Roundtable: Objectionable Lyrics

This edition of Artworld Roundtable appears in collaboration with Chris Richards, the pop music critic for the Washington Post. Over the next several weeks, we’ll present a series of roundtable discussions based on Richards’ “five hardest questions in pop music”: “cultural appropriation, problematic lyricism, selling out, the ethics of posthumous listening, and … separating the art from the artist.” AFB has rounded up several thinkers working in these areas to see what they have to say about each question. Richards has provided AFB with key examples to draw out the problems and complexities of each debate. First was cultural appropriation. Second was how to respect the wishes of dead artists. Third was whether selling out is still possible. Today we ask how we should engage objectionable lyrics. The lyrics to some of our favorite songs are, upon moral reflection, completely horrific. Do those lyrics affect whether we should endorse the music or … Continue reading

September 13, 2018
by Aesthetics for Birds
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Artworld Roundtable: Can Today’s Artists Still Sell out?

This edition of Artworld Roundtable appears in collaboration with Chris Richards, the pop music critic for the Washington Post. Over the next several weeks, we’ll present a series of roundtable discussions based on Richards’ “five hardest questions in pop music”: “cultural appropriation, problematic lyricism, selling out, the ethics of posthumous listening, and … separating the art from the artist.” AFB has rounded up several thinkers working in these areas to see what they have to say about each question. Richards has provided AFB with key examples to draw out the problems and complexities of each debate. First was cultural appropriation. Second was how to respect the wishes of dead artists. Today we ask whether it’s still possible for musicians to sell out. What does it mean to sell out? In today’s commercialized, social media, sponsorship-driven world, can musicians still sell out in any meaningful way? Or, in an era where people are … Continue reading

September 4, 2018
by Aesthetics for Birds
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Artworld Roundtable: How Should We Respond to the Wishes Of Dead Artists?

This edition of Artworld Roundtable appears in collaboration with Chris Richards, the pop music critic for the Washington Post. Over the next several weeks, we’ll present a series of roundtable discussions based on Richards’ “five hardest questions in pop music”: “cultural appropriation, problematic lyricism, selling out, the ethics of posthumous listening, and … separating the art from the artist.” AFB has rounded up several thinkers working in these areas to see what they have to say about each question. Richards has provided AFB with key examples to draw out the problems and complexities of each debate. First was cultural appropriation. Up today is how to respect the wishes of dead artists. If an artist opposes, say, her music being available on Spotify, should record companies respect her wishes after her death? If they don’t, what become our responsibilities as consumers? How should we respect the wishes of dead artists? Should we do … Continue reading

August 22, 2018
by Aesthetics for Birds
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Artworld Roundtable: Is Cultural Appropriation Ever Okay?

This edition of Artworld Roundtable appears in collaboration with Chris Richards, the pop music critic for the Washington Post. Over the next several weeks, we’ll present a series of roundtable discussions based on Richards’ “five hardest questions in pop music”: “cultural appropriation, problematic lyricism, selling out, the ethics of posthumous listening, and … separating the art from the artist.” AFB has rounded up several thinkers working in these areas to see what they have to say about each question. Richards has provided AFB with key examples to draw out the problems and complexities of each debate. Up first is cultural appropriation. Nicki Minaj and Chun Li. Eminem and Iggy Azalea. What counts as cultural appropriation in music, and when is it bad? And is there such a thing as acceptable appropriation? Cultural appropriation is the crux of the first of “the five hardest questions in pop music”, as described recently in the … Continue reading

June 22, 2018
by Aesthetics for Birds
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Pyke’s Portraits of Philosophers

What follows is a guest post by Michael Newall (University of Kent). This post is a partial continuation of the earlier post about Hans Maes’ recent book, Conversations on Art and Aesthetics. Hans Maes’ excellent book, Conversations on Art and Aesthetics (Oxford UP, 2017), features a collection of ten photographic portraits of philosophers of art by Steve Pyke. (These can also be viewed on the website for the book, where it has to be said they appear to better effect. The book also features one portrait by philosopher and artist Claire Anscomb, which appears on the website too.) Pyke, of course, is known within philosophy as a photographer of many of its leading lights. Nobody has documented philosophers in this way before, and few professions have the benefit of such a constant and accomplished portraitist.

May 25, 2018
by utahphilosoraptor
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Fearless Girl on the Move?

Latest development in the Fearless Girl case, brought to you only three weeks late courtesy of yrs truly and the end of the semester: the city wants the girl moved, citing traffic and safety concerns. I can’t imagine that any one was surprised by this decision, given the statue’s story as an advertisement playing opposite an iconic piece of guerilla art. It was unlikely that it would stay forever. And at 250 pounds, it hardly presents the obstacle to removal that Charging Bull did; it’s a much easier call.

April 24, 2018
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Beauty in Strange Places: Art First

I met a critic, I made her shit her drawers She said she thought hip-hop was only guns and alcohol I said “Oh hell naw!” But yet it’s that too You can’t discrimi-hate cause you done read a book or two What if I looked at you in a microscope, saw all the dirty organisms Living in your closet would I stop and would I pause it? …Speeches only reaches those who already know about it This is how we go about it – André 3000, “Humble Mumble” What follows is a guest post by Olúfẹ́mi O. Táíwò (Georgetown University). This blog recently hosted a post on country music which defended country music partly because of its interaction with the class dynamics between the working class people who listen to the style and the broader culture in which they do so. The author of this piece comes close to a … Continue reading