The Many Forms of Art
June 10, 2008
For this assignment we are asked to give various definitions of the meaning of “Art”. After we have found these different definitions to the meaning of Art we are asked to give our own definition, and then we are asked to find an example to each of the various forms of art and tell why we think they are works of art, and what definition of art does the piece of art fit? I have found three definitions to the meaning of “Art”, and have placed an example to each of the different forms of art, with a description of the art work. Definitions of Art
Art –“For numerous reasons, the most difficult word to define without starting endless argument! Many definitions have been proposed. At least art involves a degree of human involvement — through manual skills or thought — as with the word "artificial," meaning made by humans instead of by nature. Definitions vary in how they divide all that is artificial into what is and is not art. The most common means is to rely upon the estimations of art experts and institutions.” (Delahunt, 1996-2007) Art with a capital A
“This is what Sir Ernst Gombrich writes in the very first sentences of his immensely popular The Story of Art, the million-selling handbook which went through sixteen editions since its first appearance in 1950: "There really is no such thing as Art. There are only artists. Once these were men who took colored earth and roughed out the forms of a bison on the wall of a cave; today some buy their paints, and design posters for the hoardings; they did and do many other things. There is no harm in calling all these activities art as long as we keep in mind that such a word may mean very different things in different times and places, and as long as we realize that Art with a capital A has no existence For Art with a capital A has come to be something of a bogey and a fetish."11
Art is an intrinsic part of human behavior
“A long quote from Nancy Aiken's The Biological Origins of Art where Aiken refers to Dissanayake's Homo Aestheticus: Where Art Comes from and Why:
“Art can be made by any of us. It need not result in museum-quality work; it can be only an elaboration of an ordinary object: a hair style rather than plain hair, fashion rather than a simple covering to keep warm, decorating rather than a room with furniture. We can all dance, sing, and doodle; some just do these better than others.”
“Art is appreciated by all of us. We need no special knowledge or sensory apparatus or experience to respond to a rhythm, a tune, a series of bright colors, a monumental building, or a parade. We can all be thrilled and soothed by art.”
“Art is a species-specific behavior which can be used for social manipulation. All of us are subject to art's whim. Art can direct thinking, beliefs, and behavior. Art is a means to educate, subjugate, subvert, and convert. Art has this power because it can tap into and use our reflexive responses to natural, biologically relevant stimuli. We are unable to control these responses. We do not even realize what is happening."
The origins of art
Steve Mithen defines art as “Artefacts or images with symbolic meanings as a means of communication.” “Art, in Mithen's theory, is a product of the cognitive fluidity in the "Modern" (i.e., Homo sapiens) Human Mind. The three cognitive processes critical to making art were all present but still separated in the earlier Early Human Mind (e.g., Neanderthal). These cognitive processes are 1. Interpreting "natural symbols"; such as hoof prints, ("natural history intelligence") 2. Intentional communication ("social intelligence"); and
3. The ability to produce artefacts from mental templates, e.g. a stone hand axe ("technical intelligence").
Mithen (1996): Steven Mithen, the Prehistory of the Mind: A Search for the Origins of Art, Religion “and Science, London: Thames &...