Aesthetics for Birds

Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art for Everyone

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September 15, 2022
by Aesthetics for Birds
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Accessibility and the Problem of Alt Text: Who Is It For and How Could It Be Better?

An analysis of the intricacies of how alternative text is used to communicate fundamentally visual information in a linguistic mode. Continue reading

December 28, 2019
by Aesthetics for Birds
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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

June 22, 2018
by Aesthetics for Birds
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Pyke’s Portraits of Philosophers

What follows is a guest post by Michael Newall (University of Kent). This post is a partial continuation of the earlier post about Hans Maes’ recent book, Conversations on Art and Aesthetics. Hans Maes’ excellent book, Conversations on Art and Aesthetics (Oxford UP, 2017), features a collection of ten photographic portraits of philosophers of art by Steve Pyke. (These can also be viewed on the website for the book, where it has to be said they appear to better effect. The book also features one portrait by philosopher and artist Claire Anscomb, which appears on the website too.) Pyke, of course, is known within philosophy as a photographer of many of its leading lights. Nobody has documented philosophers in this way before, and few professions have the benefit of such a constant and accomplished portraitist.

April 18, 2018
by Aesthetics for Birds
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#nofilter: Philosophical Reflections on Photography in the Age Of Instagram

What follows is a guest post by Daniel Star (Boston University). All photographs are the author’s own. (Readers are encouraged to follow the links in captions for full-size, full-resolution images.) We’ve all seen it. Maybe we’ve done it. Maybe we’ve “liked” it. Someone takes a snapshot of a wonderful sunset with a smartphone and posts it on a social media site with the “#nofilter” hashtag. This is one of the most popular hashtags on Instagram, and it is now also used widely on Facebook and Twitter. The sunset was no doubt beautiful (sunsets tend to be beautiful), but it’s unlikely that the photograph itself was of a high quality – smartphone shots rarely are, and even a setting sun will tend to blow out highlights (bright regions in images, see below), leaving empty space in part of the photo. Perhaps this doesn’t matter, because the point of such a social … Continue reading

February 21, 2017
by Aesthetics for Birds
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Can #selfies be art? Saatchi says Yes

I’m going to go ahead and say Saatchi isn’t really that cutting edge on this one. People have been doing self-portraits for a long-ass time. Maybe those don’t count as “selfies” though? In any event, the famous Saatchi Gallery will host a show this spring called “From Selfie to Self-Expression”. This is funded together with the enormous Chinese telecom company Huawei. (Hm, I wonder why they’d be interested in selfies.) Maybe most exciting is for those artistic sorts who read the blog: You can enter your own selfie for a chance to be shown at Saatchi! They’re currently holding a selfie competition (entry rules here), open until March 12, 2017. You have to submit images via their website interface. For whatever reason, you can’t just post an Instagram with the #SaatchiSelfie hashtag and be entered. Although they do want you to use that hashtag on Twitter, Instagram, etc. Or you can just scope out … 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.

October 6, 2016
by Rebecca Millsop
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MoMA’s Entire Exhibition History is Now Online & It’s Free

  New York City’s Museum of Modern Art is certainly one of the most important and influential art institutions in the USA and the world. MoMA curators throughout the decades have made decisions that have greatly affected the way the artworld and public understand the nature of art. You can now view all materials from all of MoMA’s exhibitions, beginning with their opening in 1929. Check it out for yourself: MoMA’s Entire Exhibition History After, or perhaps before, check out a recent article in The Atlantic by Robinson Meyer, “The Museum of Modern Art’s Miraculous New Online Archive”, discussing the aesthetic and functional changes in exhibition documentation throughout the years.