Aesthetics for Birds

Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art for Everyone

November 29, 2017
by Aesthetics for Birds
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The ASA at 75: Diversity and the Tipping Point

The following is a guest post by Charles Peterson (Oberlin College). This is the third of three companion pieces that reflect on the ASA’s 75th anniversary. Click here for the first, by A.W. Eaton, and the second, by Paul C. Taylor. See also the ASA Officers’ response letter here. The age of 75 can signify multiple indicators. At 75 years old, an ant would be ancient. At 75 years old a mountain would be considered infantile in its span and at 75 years old a human being, has lived to a ripe and healthy age. For an academic organization, 75 years is a perfect time to celebrate its longevity and take stock of its future. The American Society for Aesthetics is at this point in regards to the inclusion of diverse scholars and discourses in its proceedings.  The ASA stands at the threshold where its present efforts to open up, … Continue reading

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

November 16, 2016
by Aesthetics for Birds
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More Bibliographies

Last week, we presented three new diversity curricula supported by the ASA. Relatedly, here are a few bibliographies people might find useful in trying to assemble diverse course readings, or for those interested in exploring other areas: Race and Aesthetics, from the BSA-sponsored Race and Aesthetics Conference last year Feminism and Aesthetics (1990-2003), by Joshua James Shaw (Penn State, Behrend) Theological Aesthetics, by Laura Smit (Calvin College) Marxism & ‘the Left’ in Philosophy of Art & Aesthetics, by Patrick O’Donnell (Independent Scholar) Image credit: Nicolaes Maes, “An Old Woman Dozing over a Book” (1655), via NGA

October 18, 2016
by Rebecca Millsop
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Kelley Walker & A Manifesto for the Artworld Institution

Perhaps you heard about the recent controversy at Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis: Since opening in mid-September at CAM, a solo exhibition of white male artist Kelley Walker has been under fire over a series of works that appropriate images from the Civil Rights Movement and magazine covers of black women streaked with toothpaste and chocolate. After failing to offer adequate explanation for the works during an artist talk at the museum on September 17, both Walker and Uslip—who is said to have had a crucial role in realizing the exhibition—incited criticism from the local community, who found the works malicious in nature. A September 18th letter called for the removal of four offending works; among signees were three black members of the CAM staff. The museum refused to remove the works, and instead added barrier walls and signage to warn museum-goers that Walker’s works “may be difficult for some … Continue reading

December 10, 2014
by Aesthetics for Birds
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Diversity in Aesthetics Publishing

What follows is a guest post by Sherri Irvin. Sherri is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Oklahoma. She specializes in aesthetics and the philosophy of art with strong interests in ethics and philosophy of race. She has written extensively on matters related to contemporary art and on aesthetic experience in everyday life and is currently working on two books, both under contract with Oxford University Press: Immaterial: A Philosophy of Contemporary Art, which argues for a view of the ontology of contemporary artworks, and Body Aesthetics, a multi-authored collection that treats the aesthetics of the body in relation to art, evolutionary theory, ethical considerations, race, age, gender, disability, sexuality and sport. Sherri is also a member of the editorial boards of the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, and Philosophy Compass. UPDATE(12/10/2014)******************************************************************************** Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism editors Ted Gracyk and Bob Stecker have announced some changes to … Continue reading

November 5, 2014
by Aesthetics for Birds
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The Socio-Aesthetics of Pink

What follows is a guest post by Elisabeth Camp. She teaches at Rutgers University, New Brunswick. Her research focuses on thoughts and utterances that don’t fit standard propositional models, including metaphor and sarcasm, slurs and insinuation. She also works on the varieties of imagination, the theory of concepts, non-human animal cognition, and maps. I’ve been spending a disproportionate amount of time in the past year musing about pink.  I have a daughter who just turned 2 and is quite vocal in her opinions. High among these is the general gloriousness of pink and the intrinsic goodness of things that happen to be colored pink: for instance, that strawberry ice cream is maximally delicious, in virtue of its color. Her passion for pink is, most obviously, a form of comeuppance being visited upon me by an irony-loving universe; but it also raises some puzzles at the intersection of aesthetics, semiotics, and … Continue reading

June 1, 2014
by Aesthetics for Birds
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The Twisted Femmes Fatales of Christopher Nolan

What follows is a guest post by Andrew Kania. Looking at the plots of Christopher Nolan’s films, you might worry about his attitude towards women. At the end of his first feature-length film, Following (1998), the only female character (“The [unnamed] Blonde”) is murdered with a hammer by her gangster boyfriend. In Nolan’s first mainstream movie, the revenge thriller Memento (2001), Leonard is on a quest to avenge his wife’s rape and murder, though it may be that Leonard himself has inadvertently killed her with an insulin overdose, the fate of another female character in the film (unless these women are one and the same – it’s complicated). The rivalry of the magicians in The Prestige (2006) begins when one kills the other’s wife by (again, inadvertently) tying a trick knot incorrectly. The wife of the first at least gets to exercise her agency in her own death – she … Continue reading

March 7, 2014
by Aesthetics for Birds
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The Philosophy of Facial Hair

What follows is a guest post by Henry Pratt. Sometimes, when asked what I work on, I’ve been known to reply, “Philosophy of the mustache.” In the past, this has always been a lie. This site seems like an appropriate venue for correcting the problem and mitigating my guilt, particularly because of esteemed Professor Mag Uidhir’s own fondness for sporting a mustache most appropriate to the genre of seedy 1970’s biker films. Though ridiculous, the philosophy of facial hair is actually a pretty interesting topic, one that raises a number of issues in aesthetics and ethics and the intersection of the two.

July 6, 2013
by Aesthetics for Birds
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TOWARDS A GENDER-BALANCED PHILOSOPHY OF ART SYLLABUS

by Christy Mag Uidhir ***UPDATED 07/31/13. I encourage readers to continue to send suggestions.***[minor update by Alex King in 2020; major update coming soon] Lamarque & Olsen’s Aesthetics & The Philosophy of Art: The Analytic Tradition is arguably the best general anthology in Contemporary Anglo-American Aesthetics. Unfortunately, this anthology distinguishes itself yet another way by having only 2 of its 46 articles written by women (in fact, the very same woman as it turns out). A friend of mine teaching philosophy of art for the first time recently discovered this and asked me to suggest some articles written by women with which to supplement the anthology. I’ve copied the list I sent him below so that it might be a useful resource for others in similar situations. I welcome and actively encourage readers to suggest additions in the comments section at which point I’ll update the list accordingly. However, please … Continue reading