Aesthetics for Birds

Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art for Everyone

October 4, 2018
by Aesthetics for Birds
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JAAC X AFB: Hollow Sounds

What follows is a post in our ongoing collaborative series with the Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism. This is based on a new article by Daryl Jamieson, “Hollow Sounds: Toward a Zen‐Derived Aesthetics of Contemporary Music” which you can find in the current issue of JAAC. Losing yourself in the experience of listening to – or playing – is an experience that many (most?) people will have had at some point in their lives. It can be life-changing. For a child just dabbling in music, having a transcendent experience like that can turn her on to a career. Or it could turn someone into a lifelong fan of the musician or genre of music that they were listening to when it occurred. I can recall several such experiences: the first time I heard an orchestra live in my school auditorium (playing Akasha (Sky) by Glenn Buhr, if I recall correctly), dancing … Continue reading

June 19, 2018
by Aesthetics for Birds
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Reviewed: Ten Famous Aestheticians Interviewed in Oup Volume

This post appears as part of a collaboration between Oxford University Press and AFB. This edition of the Artworld Roundtable will focus on Conversations on Art and Aesthetics. The book contains interviews with ten prominent philosophers of art. The interviews are conducted by philosopher Hans Maes, who is Senior Lecturer in History and Philosophy of Art, and Director of the Aesthetics Research Centre at the University of Kent at Canterbury. Accompanying these interviews are portraits by photographer Steve Pyke. From the book’s website, where you can also read excerpts and view the portraits: In Conversations on Art and Aesthetics, Hans Maes discusses … key questions in aesthetics with ten world-leading philosophers of art. The exchanges are direct, open, and sharp, and give a clear account of these thinkers’ core ideas and intellectual development. They also offer new insights into, and a deeper understanding of, contemporary issues in the philosophy of art. The … Continue reading

April 24, 2018
by Aesthetics for Birds
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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

October 6, 2017
by Aesthetics for Birds
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Adrian Piper at Moma

A philosopher and artist is getting lots of recognition lately, culminating in an upcoming solo show at MoMA. Adrian Piper, who received the Golden Lion from the Venice Biennale in 2015, has enjoyed several shows in the past couple of years, and will now have a major exhibition at MoMA, “Adrian Piper: A Synthesis of Intuitions, 1965–2016” (March 31 to July 22, 2018), which will then travel to the Hammer Museum in LA (dates being finalized) before going abroad. From the MoMA press release: [T]he exhibition, which will be seen in its entirety only at The Museum of Modern Art, will occupy the Museum’s entire sixth floor—the first time that entire level has been devoted to the work of a living artist. Exciting! And the MoMA title isn’t just about her art. She has written about Kant’s notion of intuition. And indeed, this isn’t a case where “philosopher” is just … Continue reading

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

February 1, 2017
by Rebecca Millsop
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Make America Great Again: Government Employed Artists!

  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…

January 10, 2017
by Alex King
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Poet Answers Standardized Test Questions About Her Poetry – Incorrectly.

I must alert you to an awesome piece by poet Sara Holbrook on HuffPo, where she explains that Texas used two of her poems for middle school standardized tests. Holbrook: receives an email from a distressed teacher who doesn’t understand the answers discovers poor formatting that adds to the confusion finds the questions in question cannot, ultimately, answer them The narration of her thought process going through the questions is also delightful. At one point, she writes: Parents, educators, legislators, readers of news reports: STOP TAKING THESE TEST RESULTS SERIOUSLY Idiotic, hair-splitting questions pertaining to nothing, insufficient training, profit-driven motives on the part of the testing companies, and test results that simply reveal the income and education level of the parents. All very fair. But then a bit of intentionalism to finish it all off! My final reflection is this: any test that questions the motivations of the author without asking the … Continue reading

December 15, 2016
by Aesthetics for Birds
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Philosopher-Artist Interview: Scott Walden

Philosopher and Photographer Scott Walden interviewed by Alex King Scott Walden’s research focuses on the intersection between the philosophies of art, mind and language, with an emphasis on photography. These philosophical interests inform his photographic practice, which has been recognized by multiple grants and the 2007 Duke and Duchess of York Prize in Photography from the Canada Council for the Arts. As Associate Professor at Nassau Community College he is a 2016 recipient of the State University of New York Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities. Walden divides his time between New York and Newfoundland.

December 1, 2016
by Aesthetics for Birds
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Artist Interview: Lauren Kalman

Artist Lauren Kalman interviewed by Alex King Lauren Kalman is a visual artist based in Detroit and an assistant professor at Wayne State University. Her practice is invested in contemporary craft, video, photography and performance. Kalman’s work has been featured in exhibitions at the Renwick Gallery at the Smithsonian Museum of American Art, Museum of Contemporary Craft, Cranbrook Art Museum, Contemporary Art Museum Houston, Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Mint Museum, and the World Art Museum in Beijing, among others. Her work is in the permanent collection of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, the Smithsonian Museum of American Art, and the Detroit Institute of Art. She currently has a solo show at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York City, running through March 15, 2017, as part of their MAD POV series; as well as an installation at the Mattress Factory in Pittsburgh, PA, running through February 12, … Continue reading