Aesthetics for Birds

Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art for Everyone

December 28, 2019
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Experts Rank the Top 5 in This Decade’s Art

This year marks the end of the second decade of the 2000s. In honor of this, we thought we’d take a look back at our decade with an end-of-year series. The internet loves lists, especially year-end ones, and we’ll feed that love a little bit this December. We’ll be hosting seven lists of expert Decade-Best picks. We’ve done movies, games, writing, TV, and music, and you can look forward to one more surprise list at the end. Our experts include philosophers and other academics whose work concerns these topics, and people working in the relevant media. Up today: art! Okay so obviously movies and music are art, but what we mean by “art” today is arty art, that special kind of artworld art that’s in galleries and art fairs and museums, and attended to by art magazines and news outlets. We’re looking at photography, painting, video art, performance art, and more. … Continue reading

July 31, 2019
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Zombie Formalism: Or, How Financial Values Pervade the Arts

What follows is a guest post by Sarah Hegenbart. Once upon a time, the month of June was jet-set season for the international artworld. After a meet and greet at the preview days at the Venice Biennale, which used to take place in early June, the crowd of artists, curators, critics, dealers, and collectors jumped on a plane, a train, or a yacht heading towards Basel, Switzerland. Basel wakes up at least once a year when astronomical amounts of money are paid for works so contemporary that the paint on the canvases has hardly finished drying. Or possibly even works that are such hot shit that they are not available yet because they are still on view in one of the national pavilions at the Venice Biennale. But the unavailability only increases the desire. (This is a pattern recognizable from other unhealthy relationships, too.) Knowing the economic laws of supply … Continue reading

November 20, 2015
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AFB Artworld Roundtable: Animal Rights and Art

The Headlines Will Italy Back Down on Hermann Nitsch Show? Italian animal rights activists have launched an online petition to stop a Nitsch performance, slated to kick off in Palermo on July 10, and continue throughout the summer until September 20… The full story can be found here. Animal Rights Activists Protest Untitled (12 Horses) Animal activists turned up at Gavin Brown’s West Greenwich Village gallery space in New York to protest the showstopping final exhibit there before the gallery moves uptown to Harlem. The work in question is Jannis Kounellis’s Arte Povera masterpiece, 12 Horses, which debuted in Rome in 1969. The installation features 12 horses tethered to the wall, eating hay, on a rubberized floor… The full story can be found here. The Roundtable Cynthia Freeland, Anthony Cross, Ross Cameron, John Rapko

April 14, 2015
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Artist Interview: Rachel Hecker

Visual Artist Rachel Hecker interviewed by Alex King Rachel Hecker is a visual artist and an Associate Professor of painting at the University of Houston School of Art. Her conceptually based projects, from contemporary portraits of Jesus to levitating bottles of Xanax, have been included in numerous group and solo exhibitions in museums, galleries, and alternative spaces throughout the US. She’s received many awards, among them Art League Houston’s 2013 Texas Artist of the Year.

February 4, 2015
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Why Can’t Painting Just Be Painting

What follows is a guest post by Rebecca Victoria Millsop. Rebecca is a fifth year PhD student at MIT writing her dissertation in the philosophy of art. In the not-so-distant past she worked on issues in philosophy of logic and mathematics and, while she found this incredibly fun, she believes that working on issues in the philosophy of art will make more of an impact on the world. She also lives on a sailboat in Boston Harbor, paints, and volunteers for a non-profit art organization in Boston, HarborArts. It’s been a while since painting was first proclaimed dead (apparently it was French painter Paul Delaroche in 1835), and ever since then there’s been a lot of ink spilled (and words typed) about whether or not it is dead, is dying, or never died in the first place. The consensus has shifted throughout the years, and, at least recently, the jury seems to be … Continue reading

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