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The True Goal of Great Art

The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance. ~Aristotle

One Response to “The True Goal of Great Art”

  1. Claire says:

    A provocative (inviting) post….

    To get the ball rolling:

    When thinking about the “goal” of art, or by extension the criteria by which to judge “greatness,” I think it useful, perhaps necessary, to have in mind a more fundamental (philosophically speaking) question as to what is art.

    Personally I am still very persuaded by Heidegger’s return to this fundamental question (The Origin of the Work of Art) … and to what is in effect an important conceptual shift away from locating art in objects and things over onto the realm of “experience” whereby the “work of art” is not conceived to be an object or thing itself, but rather an “event” or occurrence (and of course a host of other philosophers follow suit…)

    So for me, the “aim of art” is not to reveal the significance of “things” as such (as static, as object), but rather to produce experience(s). To experience art is necessarily a temporal and embodied (sensual and situated) event, something that occurs in both the presence of the work (in its “luminous concreteness”) and through time (we certainly know how the significance of “things” changes through / over time and is subject to such subjective and “situated” things as “interpretation” and “taste”).

    The secondary question then, of the criteria by which we judge art (as “great” etc.) are then happily freed to be embedded in, or “contingent” upon, our times and our understanding of history, traditions, culture, “art” etc. (… this certainly is NOT an “anything goes” vision by which there are no such criteria; rather it is one that requires responsibility to history and to ones time…).

    I guess the question that interests me then rather concerns how to adequately, ethically, write about such experience…

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