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About the Authors Gene Mittler Gene Mittler is one of the authors of Glencoe's middle school art series, Introducing Art, Exploring Art, and Understanding Art. He. Mar 11, Download [PDF] Books Understanding Art (PDF, ePub, Mobi) by Lois Fichner-Rathus Complete Read Online. Editorial Reviews. About the Author. Lois Fichner-Rathus is professor of art in the Department of Art and Art History of The College of New Jersey. She holds a.
The Annunciation, Dieric Bouts, — Intensity describes the purity or strength of a color. Bright colors are undiluted and are often associated with positive energy and heightened emotions. Dull colors have been diluted by mixing with other colors and create a sedate or serious mood. In this image the artist captured both the seriousness and the joy of the scene with the dull gray stone interior and the bright red drapery. Texture The surface quality of an object that we sense through touch. All objects have a physical texture.
Walton and Danto, on the other hand, would start from the theoretical level and work towards the specific object: the context into which an object is placed determines its status as art more than any intrinsic features of the work itself. The object in question the Brillo Box was placed in a museum and was intended to be seen as art. Therefore, the Brillo Box is a work of art. Granted, no matter which of these methods we are examining, there is a back-and-forth between example and theory, and the path of logical reasoning can be traced in both directions.
Danto began by thinking about the Brillo Box specific , formulated a theory about it general , and then applied the theory to other objects to show that they are also works of art specific. There are compelling reasons to use all three of these methods, depending on the situation and the object or type of objects under consideration.
In my studies, I begin from the standpoint that nearly any object can be a work of art.
My definition is: A work of art is a physical phenomenon object or event that is created for appreciation. This is an unusually liberal definition of art, but contemporary artistic practice has shown that there are no intrinsic limits to what may be classified as works of art.
Each object can be traced along this root system back to the main trunk of the tree, to be shown as belonging to the greater conceptual whole. Dynamic The act of placing the fixture in a gallery and exhibiting it AS a work of art caused people to re-evaluate their ideas of what constitutes a work of art.
Additionally, placing the fixture on its side created a new point of view from which to consider the object as being something other than its original manufactured purpose. To understand a work such as Fountain, it is necessary to begin by identifying it as a work of art.
The static level of Fountain does not offer much insight by itself, but when seen in light of a previous identification of the work as art, it can be understood according to the same terms as the static level of other, less controversial, works of art.
To invert the MIC chart in this way can often lead to a more comprehensive understanding of a work of art. Inductive reasoning follows the pattern of observation static , recognition of patterns in the observation dynamic , generation of a tentative hypothesis evaluative , and formulation of a theory identity.
Inverse fractal analysis reverses the process according to deductive reasoning. Beginning with a theory identity , it follows through the generation of a hypothesis evaluative , observations dynamic , and confirmation as found in specific data static.
Particularly in the evaluation of problematic objects presented as works of art, it may make more sense to begin with a theory: this object IS a work of art, and then to proceed to prove this theory by evaluating the dynamic and static aspects of the work. In other cases, it may be more logical to examine the specific static and dynamic components of the work and formulate a theory at the end of the process.
For instance, a close examination of the Understanding Art 25 artistic elements static and subject matter dynamic of a given Renaissance painting may lead to the identification of the artist who produced the work even if a signature is absent.
Positivism and Constructivism in MIC: Family Resemblances and Historical Narration A longstanding debate in epistemological circles concerns the philosophies of Positivism and Constructivism, a debate that is also played out in the identification of works of art. Positivism teaches that we can only fully understand that which we experience through direct sensory input—what we see, hear, touch, taste, or smell for ourselves.
According to this point of view, knowledge is only found in what can be directly observed and measured. Watching any given episode of Mythbusters on the Discovery Channel offers excellent illustrations of the scientific method in action. Wimsatt, Jr. Constructivism, on the other hand, is the view that knowledge has a social basis—that human beings construct knowledge within a particular societal context. While Positivism would maintain that Truth can be known through objective observation and measurement of data, Constructivism views Truth as being relative to an individual within a given society.
Taking a larger view, Constructivism is the view that knowledge is, literally, constructed, whereas Positivism would suggest that it is discovered through empirical means. Understanding these ideas involves a series of examples and explanations rather than an overall general definition. Just as in the case of games, there is no single quality or essence shared by all works of art; instead we can understand these terms by looking at how particular examples either are, or are not, works of art by examining the ways in which they resemble other items that are already known to be artworks.
Understanding Art 27 Sometimes, there really is not much to see—the truth about a work of art must be found in other ways. The narrative approach to classifying artworks establishes the art status of a candidate by connecting the work in question to previously acknowledged artworks and practices.
In this regard, it may appear to recall the family resemblance approach. However, the narrative approach is not merely an affair of similarities between past and present art. The pertinent correspondences must be shown to be part of a narrative development.
Such historical narratives track processes of cause and effect, decision and action, and lines of influence. Carroll, , p. This approach is compatible with Constructivist thinking, in that it grounds a work of art in a particular social and historical setting. To perceive these works as art, it is essential to be familiar with the conversation about them, a factor that is not at all apparent in their outward appearance.
Duchamp determined that ready-made objects could be seen as artworks—his intention that this was so, and his subsequent action in placing these objects in settings in which they demanded attention as works of art have had far-reaching consequences for generations of other artists and the products of their creative actions.
Fountain opened the door to conceptual art and to conceptualization of artworks in general, because it was the concept, not the object, that was truly significant in that work. As new works of art are created, the roots of the tree go deeper. It could even be imagined that the branches, twigs, and leaves of the tree represent individual theories and philosophies about art, extending upward as infinitely as the specific works continue to grow downward into the Earth.
It would be possible to start with a leaf—a particular philosophical position—and trace it downwards to a specific work of art at the end of a root. Understanding Art 29 Some of those paths would be short and clear, others would be more convoluted, but all works of art and all theories about art exist within this intricate network of connections.
Thus, all ideas about art bear a striking amount of interrelatedness, no matter how contradictory they may seem on the surface. If we view artworks and art theories as all being roots and branches of the single tree known as Art, and if we can see the interconnected nature of these as being various aspects of a single, albeit highly complex, Idea, then the remarkably liberal definition of art proposed in this paper seems to be a nearly inescapable conclusion.
Painting, sculpture, ceramics, textiles, photographs, Readymades, found objects, conceptual art, performance art, installation art…the list is necessarily endless because new forms of artistic expression continue to emerge.
There are no Understanding Art 30 limits to human creativity, and there are therefore no limits or boundaries to Art. Likewise, there are no constraints on the theories related to the making of works of art, their interpretation, the various ways in which works of art may be identified or evaluated, and so on. The tree continues to grow in each direction, upwards and down into the Earth, with new theories about art and new works of art continuously emerging.
Like a tree, no one root or leaf is more important or more significant than any other, and in this same way, no single work of art and no individual theory about art can stand alone. They are all interconnected. Grant Wood. Art Access website of the Art Institute of Chicago. New York: W.
Bell, C. Carroll, N. Identifying art. Cahn and A. Meskin Eds. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing. Danto, A. The Artworld. Olson Eds. Gray, M.
American Gothic. National Public Radio. Bones [Television series]. Miller, J. National Review Online. House [Television series]. Stanford, P. Kathy Reichs: The ice queen of crime. The Independent. Research Methods Knowledge Base. Categories of art. Critically, a document need not be a factual representation of something else to be a document.
And more importantly: What value might such a perspective offer? Challenging this dichotomy, two scholars have begun to discuss how artwork itself can be documentary. Mirna Willer, Anne J. Auslander seems chiefly interested in drawing an account of performance art documentation, but his work exposes something deeper: Whereas documents of performance art are traditionally or naively understood as proof of the performance that transpired, these theatrical documents firmly assert themselves as works of art in themselves.
This may be because they seem to conceptualize the document in an Otletian way.
These views can be advanced by incorporating the neo-documentation perspective of the document as semiotic. As an example of this, museologist Kiersten Latham sketches such an account in her framework for considering museum objects as documents, drawing on Briet and Buckland: Museum objects are material, collected, deemed meaningful and wrapped up in cataloging and other processes. As such, I contend that all art can be considered a document, and all art-making documentation.
More deeply, we can see that artistic works perform documentary reference in interesting ways: They may reference not observable facts of the world, but deeply felt meanings, states of mind and the like. For example, if we consider the theatrical documents discussed by Auslander to be artistic works in themselves, what they document is that the trust we place in documents may be exploited.
In the following section, I will discuss the implications of seeing artwork as documentary. Moreover, when analyzed critically, a document also discloses how it references. If we consider art as a document, light is shed on all these conceptual aspects of art.
In the following sections, each of these will be discussed in turn. Artwork references something outside itself Artworks, of course, exist on their own and assert their own existence. However, they also point to things outside themselves. This has been asserted with respect to contemporary conceptual art, such as that by Marcel Duchamp,21 but in my view it is the case for all art. To understand this more deeply, we can consider the work of philosopher Nelson Goodman.
Of course, Goodman is only one commentator among many in this realm. His work, now 40 years old, has seen some comment within art history and theory, but in my view it also has important relevance for information studies, and this is why I focus on it here.
Further research may find worth in exploring the question of the document through other theoretical frames. In Languages of Art,22 Goodman presents the general view that humans use symbols in perceiving, understanding and constructing the worlds of our experience. As part of this, artworks do not merely reflect the world, but they help create new ones. Goodman suggests that humans have faculties for understanding artworks just as for natural language indeed, the same underlying faculties , and these faculties involve a referential system.
Throughout the book, Goodman develops a theory of how this system may work. In one section of the book, Goodman argues that art is a kind of representation, but not one that hinges on resemblance which would be the naive assumption.
After all, an oil painting of a buffalo is a smallish, rectangular and flat assemblage of cloth and oil which resembles very little a living, hulking buffalo. Thus, rather than resemblance, art is representation in the sense of reference, or something standing for something else—what others have called indexation.
Indianapolis, IN: Hackett, Gorichanaz Preprint 6 Figure 1. Real-life Stateliness, George Washington Presidenthood, etc. Art references in two key ways, according to Goodman see Figure 1. First, art can denote. In denotation, a work of art functions as a label for its subject. In this case, the reference is rather straightforward. Second, art can exemplify. In exemplification, a work of art refers to a label. It does this by being a sample of or embodying some particular aspects of that label.
Exemplification can be not only literal, but also metaphorical. In the metaphorical case, Goodman terms it expression. This concept accounts for how abstract art, such as non-objective painting and instrumental music, can be meaningful even though they do not represent anything that can be described through propositional statements.
With this framework to hand, it becomes obvious that image retrieval systems predominantly organize images according to their denotation, missing their exemplification entirely. In both denotation and exemplification, artistic reference is a matter of abstraction—in the sense the word is used in information science, referring to a summary or distillation.
In this way, Becker flattens the ontology of the art world, giving visibility to the manufacturers, couriers, shop owners, gallery owners, critics, etc. Networks entail tracing the processes and relationships that link the diverse entities of the worlds.
Apparatuses refer to the physical, mediated activities involved in planning and making a work of art, such as using an information system to conduct research and putting brush to canvas.
These concepts are meant to allow different levels of analysis and detail to be possible. As relevant to the discussion here, what they provide is a toolkit for thinking through the broad systems within which art works. Artworks say something about how they reference Information science theorist Ron Day has long championed critical inquiry in information science, on the grounds that such inquiry can expose assumptions and other hidden layers of meaning.
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This 11th edition features new and expanded sections on religious and world art, green buildings, graphic design, and conceptual art, as well as a new Art Tour for Los Angeles and over new images in the areas of fashion, crafts, industrial design and architecture.
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