My definition of Art and Beauty

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My definition of Art and Beauty

Postby Pariah on June 14th, 2010, 9:54 pm 

These attempts at definitions and interpretations are MY definitions and are very subjective and flexible. I'm going to try and quickly define what I think makes us view something as beautiful and what makes something art.

Firstly beauty, in the sense of the word: what is beautiful? Since there are common grounds on what we consider beautiful, it is clearly not purely subjective. There is some sort of objective standard by which we measure beauty, and although there may be discussion and disagreement as to what is beautiful and what is not, there is a general consensus that most people agree upon as to what is considered aesthetically pleasing, such as flowers, sunsets, butterflies and the pyramids. I believe that beauty is in direct relation with health and life. By this I mean that things that human beings associate directly or indirectly to the progression, preservation and advancement of health, strength and thus inevitably: life.
Things that we view as ugly are things that we generally associate with disease, deviance, deprivation and invariably lead to death. This is taken further in that principles such as symmetry, structure, rhythm and most importantly, order, are associated with beauty. This is why flowers are generally seen as beautiful, since they show an impeccably fine structure and almost always a sense of symmetry. Furthermore they are often vibrant colours, not low, unsaturated hues such as brown or grayish green that we associate with decay, rot and disease. We are attracted to order and structure and repelled by things that symbolize or represent chaos because order and structure we associate with safety, peace and preservation of life, while chaos we associate with destruction, danger and death.
This is why although the atom bomb is something that brings massive amounts of death and destruction, many people (myself included) see the mushroom cloud explosion as beautiful. It is bright, symmetrical, massive, powerful and has an amazingly fine structure. Since our minds have been around and evolved for far longer than the atom bomb has existed, our sub-conscious minds, the part that decides what we think is beautiful or not, has not yet learned that the bomb means immense amounts of death.
For example, acne is commonly viewed as unattractive (yes I know there are fetishes out there, I'm talking about beauty, not sexuality) because it reminds of disease. Wrinkles are also a sign of aging and nearing death. In objects, rust and dirt are signs of something being OLD and decrepit. At the same time the pyramids are revered as great objects of beauty due to the fact that they are a representation of something that is massive, powerful and had an incredible amount of life and strength put into it.

Now that I have briefly described what I think beauty is, I'd like to move on to my definition of what is art. Art is most definitely not defined as something beautiful and GOOD art does not have to be beautiful. Art can represent and remind us of things that are incredibly fatal, sickly, rotting and decrepit. For example, I wouldn't consider this in any way beautiful, but I would consider it art: ... f+Evil.jpg

To me, art must meet the following criteria:
It must be created by someone. (A colorful supernova is not art, a picture of it may be)
It must invoke some sort of feeling in you.
It must serve no further utilitarian purpose.

Firstly, art cannot be something that occurs in nature. A flower is not art, a person in themselves is not art and the sun is not art. It must be something that is either created or arranged by someone intentionally or unintentionally in some form. So a photograph of a flower, or a painting of the sun, or a woman dancing on a stage can apply for the position of "art".

Secondly, for something to be art to someone (yes it is subjective) it must invoke some sort of feeling in them. If I was to stare at a picture of a flower as I would in a science textbook without any reflection as to how I feel toward the flower or the picture itself, then it is not art, or at least not in my eyes. I was roaming around the contemporary art section of the AGO and I saw an installment that was simply a plastic box with a pin in it. I was so infuriated that this was put in the gallery and actually up for sale for some ridiculous 5 figure price. But it was this emotional response from me that gave it the title of "art". I would also like to take this time to note that "art" is not a qualitative measurement, there is no additional merit given to something that is deemed art. There is terrible art, such as the pin in the box, and there is amazing art, such as Rembrant's paintings (which you may notice are not very "beautiful"). It is not a word that applies value to something above another, its simply categorizes, such as one would say that I am a white male without implication as to whether or not this was a positive thing.

Finally, for something to be considered art it must serve no further purpose. All else, all other creation of man is for a further purpose. The table is there so you can place your computer on it, the computer is there so you may access the internet, the internet is there so that you may access information, the information is there so that you may cut and paste from to your essay, the essay is there so that you may learn, the learning is so that you may get a job, the job is so that you can get money that you use to buy things etc. etc. etc.
Art serves no further purpose other than to invoke response. It is not the cause of any further physical effect. It has no utilitarian purpose and it creates nothing else tangible. As soon as it does, it fails to be art. A billboard used to sell christmas gifts is no longer art because it serves the purpose of promoting the buying of gifts. An anatomical drawing of a human in a medical textbook serves to train doctors. Propaganda posters serve to strengthen peoples loyalty to the government. Cartoons are created to be sold and make money, and in my eyes art that is created for the purpose of being sold, is not art.
Therefore since art (this includes but is not exclusive to visual art) is the only action in which humans act upon that has no further purpose, it is evidently the effect to all previous cause, it is the point and purpose of being. It is what all other action exists for and everything humans work for is and should be to create a stable platform upon which art can be created and thrive. Its like the last boss of the game of human achievement. Now the trick is to make GOOD art. But what is good art?
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Re: My definition of Art and Beauty

Postby Herrybraun on November 10th, 2015, 2:30 pm 

I really love your art and beauty introduction. Really nice wording.

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