Aesthetics for Birds

Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art for Everyone

April 28, 2021
by Aesthetics for Birds
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Polite Conversations: Philosophers Discuss the Arts

A YouTube series features interviews with philosophers about their work in aesthetics and the philosophy of art. Continue reading

May 19, 2020
by Alex King
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AFB’S TERMS OF ART #37: FORM FOLLOWS FUNCTION

Now that increasing numbers of people are stuck at home and sheltering in place, I figured I’d do a little series. Every weekday for the duration of this intense period, I’ll post a short definition of some term in/related to aesthetics and philosophy of art. Let’s see how this goes! See them all here. This week is another grab bag of important terms and phrases. Yay! Terms of Art #37: form follows function

April 16, 2020
by Alex King
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AESTHETICS BY DECREE: TRUMP’S PROPOSAL ON “MAKING FEDERAL BUILDINGS BEAUTIFUL AGAIN”

What follows is a guest post by Jay Miller. Recently, a draft proposal of a presidential executive order was obtained and printed by the Chicago Sun-Times. Under the banner of “Making Federal Buildings Beautiful Again,” the leaked document effectively mandates the classical style of architecture for all federal buildings in the U.S. It seeks to right the wrongs of modernist architecture by officially proclaiming the classical style of architecture “the preferred and default style” for federal buildings. The proposal proceeds by first identifying the culprits: It blames the federal government for “largely abandon[ing] traditional, classical designs” in the 1950s; it accuses the General Services Administration (GSA) of overseeing “aesthetic failures”; even more specifically, it takes aim at the “Guiding Principles for Federal Architecture,” drafted in 1962 by an aide of the Kennedy administration, for having “implicitly discouraged” classical and other designs “known for their beauty.” Yet, the real target of … Continue reading

November 29, 2019
by Aesthetics for Birds
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What’s So Interesting About the Past? an Interview About Ruins, Monuments, and Memorials

Alex King interviews philosophers Jeanette Bicknell, Jennifer Judkins, and Carolyn Korsmeyer. Jeanette Bicknell, Jennifer Judkins, and Carolyn Korsmeyer recently co-edited a collection of new essays, Philosophical Perspectives on Ruins, Monuments, and Memorials. From the book description: This collection of newly published essays examines our relationship to physical objects that invoke, commemorate, and honor the past. The recent destruction of cultural heritage in war and controversies over Civil War monuments in the US have foregrounded the importance of artifacts that embody history. … The authors consider issues of preservation and reconstruction, the nature of ruins, the aesthetic and ethical values of memorials, and the relationship of cultural memory to material artifacts that remain from the past. See the full list of contributing authors here. Below, Alex King interviews them about themes from the volume.

April 29, 2019
by Aesthetics for Birds
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Une Autre Dame: Why Notre-dame Didn’t Really Burn

What follows is a guest post by philosopher Saul Fisher, on the recent tragedy of Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris. The burning of the roof and spire of the cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris on April 15 was a moving and dramatic event, variously interpreted as architectural disaster, economic loss, flashpoint for myriad heritage issues, and moment of French national unity. The cathedral has endured since medieval times: construction began in 1163 CE, the towers were completed in 1250, and figurative elements were added in the mid-14th century. From this endurance alone, it is little wonder that the cathedral captures the imagination of the French, the devout, the appreciators of architectural history, and the every Parisian visitor. Little wonder, too, then, that the fire consuming the cathedral prompted strong emotional response. While lamenting the event’s tragic dimensions and symbolism, I find consolation, or perhaps refuge, in formalist and abstractist ways that … Continue reading