Aesthetics for Birds

Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art for Everyone

October 22, 2019
by Aesthetics for Birds
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Five Philosophers Discuss “Joker” [spoilers]

This month saw the US release of the newest installment in the DC Comics film franchise, Joker. The film has been the subject of heated debate, with some having enormously positive responses, and others having enormously negative ones. Some see it as just a well-done villain origin story. Others see it as bringing more light to mental health and social support systems. And yet others see it as humanizing and even valorizing white male violence and the mass killings that have become too common in the contemporary US landscape. We thought we would gather up some philosophers working on ethics and the philosophy of art to give their takes on the movie. Below, you’ll see what they have to say about how Joker treats villainy and evil, race, and moral responsibility, as well as what we should learn from all of the debate and disagreement that surrounds it.

February 23, 2018
by Alex King
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Black Panther and Crossplay: Why Cosplay is More Important Than You Think

In a post for the Oxford University Press Blog titled “Cosplay is Meaningless”, G.R.F. Ferrari, a professor of Classics at Berkeley, argues that cosplay is just about perfecting the art of dress-up. He writes: Cosplayers … are not out to intimate something about themselves, or, for that matter, about anything else. As an occasional cosplayer myself, I have to say that I couldn’t disagree more with what Ferrari says. Cosplay is much more aesthetically, socially, and personally important than he gives it credit for.

February 20, 2018
by Aesthetics for Birds
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Bottom Rail on Top This Time: Politics, Myth, Culture and Afro-fantacism in Ryan Coogler’s Black Panter

What follows is a guest post by Charles Peterson (Oberlin College) I. As Walter Mosley observes in his essay “Black to the Future,” the genre(s) of science fiction/fantasy neé Afro-futurism speak clearly to the dissatisfied through their power to imagine the first step in changing the world: Black people have been cut off from their African ancestry by the scythe of slavery and from an American heritage by being excluded from history. For us, science fiction offers an alternative where that which deviates from the norm is the norm. As such, African-descended people have long understood and utilized the power of narrative to generate the images and ideas that will spark the liberatory imaginings of the sufferers. Particularly in the realms of the fantastic have characters, scenarios, and worlds been constructed to expose the truths of the world as it is and reveal the possibilities of worlds that could be. … Continue reading

September 12, 2017
by Alex King
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We All Have Our Reasons

Comic artist Zach Weinersmith of Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal talks about art: And the aftercomic, for those of you interested in questions about representation and depiction: And the referenced work, for your viewing pleasure, which has hilariously become Cesena’s profile pic on his Wikipedia page: According to Wikipedia: “It was widely said that when Cesena complained to the Pope, the pontiff joked that his jurisdiction did not extend to hell and the portrait would have to remain.”

October 24, 2016
by Aesthetics for Birds
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3d Animation for Adults: “Borrowed Time”

The emergence of new art forms and media is often, if not always, met with some resistance. Animation has always had a back seat, but now graphic novels have gained some cachet, and experimental animation has raised the status of what used to be stuff for kids. 3D animation of the style we see from Pixar and Dreamworks has been relegated to the same just-for-kids and not-for-serious-people category, but it too is trying to break out of that mold. (Remember the first 5 minutes of Up?) Watch the newly released short “Borrowed Time” from a couple of Pixar animators (Lou Hamou-Lhadj and Andrew Coats) to see for yourself. Have some tissues on hand. Borrowed Time via vimeo Other good pieces pushing these boundaries? Or is 3D animation just too wrapped up with kids to be rescued? Or does the whole issue rest on the mistaken assumption that things for kids can’t be for … Continue reading

June 23, 2015
by Aesthetics for Birds
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Artist Interview: Jeffrey Brown

Comic Artist Jeffrey Brown interviewed by Christy Mag Uidhir Jeffrey Brown was born in 1975 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. While earning his studio MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Brown abandoned painting and began drawing comics with his first autobiographical book Clumsy in 2001. Since then, he’s drawn nearly two dozen books for publishers including TopShelf, Chronicle Books, Simon & Schuster, and Scholastic. Brown has also directed an animated video for the band Death Cab For Cutie, had his work featured on NPR’s ‘This American Life,’ and co-wrote the screenplay of the film Save The Date. His book Darth Vader and Son was a NYTimes #1 bestseller, and its sequels Vader’s Little Princess, Goodnight Darth Vader, and Darth Vader and Friends, along with his middle grade series Jedi Academy, were also NYTimes bestsellers. His art has been shown at galleries in New York, Los Angeles, Paris, … Continue reading

April 3, 2014
by Aesthetics for Birds
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Interview with Visual Artist Curtis Gannon

Artist Curtis Gannon interviewed by Christy Mag Uidhir Curtis Gannon (b. 1974) completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Houston, and then received an MFA in Painting at San Diego State University. Using American action comics as source material, Gannon creates collages, sculptures and installations that reference the Pop language of the medium and its influence as a universal form of visual communication. Gannon’s works have recently been exhibited at Blaffer Gallery, Museum of Fine Arts Houston, Williams Tower, and Lawndale Art Center. Gannon lives and works in League City, TX.

October 15, 2013
by Aesthetics for Birds
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A Very Practical Defence of Aesthetic Value

What follows is a guest post by Simon Fokt. Simon is a recent graduate of University of St. Andrews and a professional musician. His work focuses on classification of art, aesthetic properties and art ontology, and exploring the borderlines of art and the aesthetic. His publications include ‘Pornographic art – a case from definitions’ (British Journal of Aesthetics 52.3, 2012) and ‘Solving Wollheim’s Dilemma: A Fix for the Institutional Definition of Art’ (Metaphilosophy 44, 2013). Aestheticism doesn’t fare very well these days. Modern artists not only aren’t very interested in making aesthetically pleasing works, but have developed a certain disdain towards them. Being aesthetically pleasing is often seen as being at best passé, and at worst an expression of artistic naivety or acclaim seeking. Of course, this is not without reasons – a great deal of aesthetic ideas have been exploited, beauty may be an obstruction on the road to art’s … Continue reading