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Art Will Always Be Diverse Essay

903 words - 4 pages

The definition of art has always been a wondering question throughout the centuries. Even our discussions in class lead back to the meaning of art and the individual viewer. The author Cynthia Freeland in But Is It Art? reviews and examines the diversity of both art theory and art. Most of the theories she examined from the different eras and cultures fell short. None of the theories were successful in defining the definition of art. Cynthia states, “Art enhances our awareness of both ourselves and our world. Unlike scientific theories, a theory of art does not predict what artists are going to do next. Art theory as I have described in this book is still an explanatory enterprise. ...view middle of the document...

Her example was the Mayan King that shed blood to contact the land of the dead. The problem with this theory is that it fails to reason for the value and belongings of much contemporary art (Freeland 27). One does not have to hold a ritual to make art. Even in galleries, pieces of art can hold aesthetic beauty.
This brings us to Kant’s and Hume’s aesthetic theory that rests upon beauty, significant form, detached aesthetic emotions, ‘purposiveness without a purpose’, and ‘good taste’ (Freeland 28). Many find different pieces of artwork as beautiful compositions, but then the content requests consideration. There is more to art than just beauty. This theory believes that the individual should approach challenging art through lack of interest. This does not seem accurate because the works content should be crucial. Certain pieces of artwork have a stronger content than the actual composition. Examples of strong content are Damien Hirst’s works. His works are usually of animals in a formaldehyde tank (Freeland 28).
This aesthetic theory also focuses on ‘good taste’. How can one label good taste? That sounds about as hard as defining the definition of art. Everyone has different preferences. A quote that fits is, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure” by Tom Zart. One cannot simply tell someone that they do not have good taste. Even the most disturbing art works get the most appreciation. Cynthia Freeland also writes, “Art includes not just works of formal beauty to be enjoyed by people with ‘taste’, or works with beauty and uplifting moral messages, but also works that are ugly and disturbing, with a shatteringly negative moral content” (Freeland 29). One can understand why this aesthetic theory fell short. The...

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