Aesthetics for Birds

Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art for Everyone

November 11, 2017
by utahphilosoraptor
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Jury IN 5pointz Lawsuit Agrees with Artists!

(AfB was way ahead of the game on the 5Pointz lawsuit.  Just saying.) So the jury’s back with a recommendation, and the jury has decided that when Gerald Wolkoff whitewashed the graffiti mecca at 5Pointz, he broke the law; under VARA, he should have given the artists sufficient notice so that they could preserve or remove their artwork.  The judge gets the final say on the verdict and on any penalty, but the jury’s decision is still a big deal, as this marks the first time that VARA has been decided by a jury in court. The artists argued, under VARA, that their work was of reasonable public stature, and so they needed to be given 90 days notice.  If the news reports are correct, the lawyers for the developer argued that VARA was irrelevant, because the case concerns property, and presumably they argued that street art didn’t qualify for … Continue reading

October 17, 2017
by utahphilosoraptor
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The Intrigue Of Anonymity

  Banksy arrested!  Unmasked!  Exposed! [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FEGxUYxJYz0?rel=0&w=560&h=315] Breaking fake news, as it turns out, created by a guy who has developed an Andy-Kaufmanesque approach to creating hoaxes, delighting in particular when his hoaxes get picked up by mainstream news sites.  The hoax article by Jimmy Rustling (how did the Internet not catch this? Come on, Internet.) mixes fiction with fact, and probably would make an excellent example for those interested in knowledge, the propagation of fake news, echo chambers and the like, (cough, cough), but I wondered: Why does Banksy bother with anonymity?  Banksy’s identity isn’t public, but the rough consensus is that Banksy is probably male, probably British, probably white, probably from Bristol, and probably in his forties.  Banksy has claimed that they’re anonymous because their work is illegal, but this seems not to capture the entirety of it.  Someone that worried about arrest wouldn’t publicize their work on … Continue reading

October 12, 2017
by Aesthetics for Birds
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Rube Goldbergism, the Geodesic Mindset, and Instrumental Rationality

What follows is a guest post by Elijah Millgram. You can be effective but ridiculous, or effective but a very special sort of unbelievable. And that tells us that some of the most basic distinctions in the domain of practical rationality—that is, of the reasons we invoke when we decide what to do—are matters of aesthetic judgment. Most of us have seen various of Rube Goldberg’s once very popular drawings; here’s one of a “self-operating napkin” that involves a soup ladle, a parrot, a rocket, and a pendulum, among other components. And if you look around on the web, you’ll find one after another video homage to his work; this tribute, a construction that turns a page of your newspaper for you, deploys lit fuses, billiard balls, a vase, a smashed laptop, and an animal that I’m guessing is a hamster. Now, it was naturally the comics page on which, … Continue reading

September 28, 2017
by Aesthetics for Birds
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Site-specific Art: Robert Smithson, Ooldouz Alaei Novin, and the Marble House Project

What follows is a guest post by Shannon M. Mussett (Utah Valley University). I am an academic philosopher. This means that my contact with my peers consists mainly in electronic communication, or, a few times a year (if I am lucky) a conference—varying in length from a day to a week. If I am very lucky, there may be an occasional workshop peppered here and there throughout the course of a decade. Academic philosophy conferences consist largely of sitting in ill-lit rooms, on uncomfortable chairs, listening to someone either read a paper at you, or click through power point slides where the gist of the paper is presented to you. (Christy Wampole’s Conference Manifesto pretty much nails it). Afterwards, questions and dialogue follow—which can be more or less lively—depending on many factors, most of which boil down to how much coffee is available and whether or not people are in … Continue reading

April 18, 2017
by utahphilosoraptor
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Mary Beth Willard Revisits “fearless Girl” Statue

What follows is a guest post by Mary Beth Willard (Weber State University) When I last wrote about Fearless Girl, I observed that the meaning of the little Bull-challenging statue will lie in its interaction with the public, who for the moment has claimed it as an icon of feminism, capturing the vivacity of little girls at that tender age where they still dare to dream. Fearless Girl reportedly now has a permit through 2018, and this has angered none other than the creator of Charging Bull, Arturo di Modica, who has asked for Fearless Girl to be relocated, because it’s making his Bull into a villain.

April 4, 2017
by Aesthetics for Birds
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Artistic Representations of Philosophical Thought

There’s a post over at the general interest philosophy blog Daily Nous that might be of interest to our readers. Susanna Berger, assistant professor of art history at the University of Southern California, has posted an excerpt adapted from her book, The Art of Philosophy: Visual Thinking in Europe from the Late Renaissance to the Early Enlightenment (Princeton University Press, 2017). From Berger: I show how their inventive iconography inspired new visualizations of thought in a range of drawn and printed sources, including student lecture notebooks, printed books, and alba amicorum (friendship albums). The book culminates with a new study of the celebrated frontispiece to Hobbes’s Leviathan. I argue that previous accounts of the print have failed to capture the full complexity of this etching and offer a new, if complex, account of this famous image—one which emphasizes the process of the state’s generation. Artists and philosophers invested significant amounts of … Continue reading

March 13, 2017
by Aesthetics for Birds
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Jerry Saltz: Bad Art Cannot Become Good in New Contexts

Another entry in philosophy-meets-the-artworld: Famous art critic Jerry Saltz weighs in on Vulture about Robert Longo’s All You Zombies: Truth Before God, which was recently installed at the Whitney. Saltz writes of ‘badness’ as a “metaphysical constant”: Can older bad art be made good by changing political times? The short answer, I think, is “No.” Really bad art may be a metaphysical constant, and in the case of rediscovered, long overlooked masterpieces I tend to believe the work was always good and we just weren’t capable of seeing it yet. But says that, really, it might not be that important: But when thinking about how times change works of art, we probably need to get away from using words like good and bad. Let’s focus instead on values that make art useful: surprise, energy, redefinitions of skill, a willingness to fail flamboyantly, originality in pursuit of different ideas of beauty, ugliness, … Continue reading