Art as Performance (New Directions in Aesthetics) by Dave Davies

By Dave Davies

During this richly argued and provocative publication, David Davies elaborates and defends a extensive conceptual framework for considering the humanities that unearths very important continuities and discontinuities among conventional and smooth artwork, and among assorted creative disciplines.

  • Elaborates and defends a large conceptual framework for considering the arts.
  • Offers a provocative view concerning the varieties of issues that works of art are and the way they're to be understood.
  • Reveals very important continuities and discontinuities among conventional and smooth art.
  • Highlights center subject matters in aesthetics and paintings conception, together with conventional theories in regards to the nature of paintings, aesthetic appreciation, inventive intentions, functionality, and creative meaning.

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Sample text

We need to address possible objections to the “pragmatic principle,” and also provide some positive arguments for accepting it, if our reliance on it in the rest of this book is to be justified. Perhaps the most obvious objection to treating artistic practice as the arbiter in the ontology of art is that practice neither can nor should play such a role. It cannot, because our actual artistic practice, incorporating the critical and appreciative judgments we actually make about works, is almost certainly internally inconsistent, reflecting the various incompatible quasi-theoretical or explicitly theoretical assumptions of individual receivers and critics.

For what we normally cite in justifying our judgments of artistic value on a painting are not in any obvious sense manifest properties of the design – its being a particular arrangement of pigment on canvas – but, rather, more traditional “aesthetic” qualities such as balance, symmetry, grace, and expressiveness. 8 Thus only if two paintings differ in their pictorial properties can they differ in their artistic properties. The same applies, mutatis mutandis, in the other arts. The import of sophisticated pure empiricism depends upon how we understand the posited relation of supervenience.

Thus, it seems, we have a profound difference in artistic value, but sameness in both pictorial properties and artistic category. A second example might be the painting of The Disciples at Emmaeus by van Meegeren, discussed in chapter 1. If we grant that the provenance of this painting affects its artistic value, without this effect being explicable in terms of either manifest pictorial properties or category of art, we must reject the moderate empiricist’s supervenience claims. However, as Currie acknowledges, Walton can respond that the differences in ascribed value in such examples are not differences in artistic value, in our sense, but differences in art-historical value.

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