13 December 2009

in response to Bill

Are there morals and standards within news that should be followed on a daily basis and if so, why?

As a journalism major, I've studied such topics in my classes. Most news stations take a political lean, despite it being against journalism ethics. Whether the news organization is pressured by advertisers, politicians, or other any sort of outside pressure, it usually boils down to money.

I was admittedly naive before I took the journalism ethics class. I truthfully thought that news was gospel, and not to be disputed, but it has become obvious, especially after 9/11, that news has behind-the-scenes motivators.

Fox News boasts an impressive cast that is repeatedly accused of frightening the public and skewing their news to fit a Republican standard. Whether it's Hannity, Bill O'Reilly, or that gem Glenn Beck, Fox News is definitely not "fair and balanced."

Journalists have a "code of ethics" that they're supposed to follow while delivering the news. In a perfect world, the public would be delivered unbiased, ethically sound, complete news stories, but I really don't think that can ever happen. I think that the public should be completely informed, without censorship, but again, I feel as if it's something that once again is merely a wish, and not a possibility in the world that we live in today.

mona lisa's moustache

I read Mona Lisa's Moustache for the book review and the author, Mary Settegast, did not try to answer the question of "what is art", but rather discuss why there isn't a definition and why she doesn't believe that one can ever be reached.

The world has witnessed drastic change within the last hundred years or so. There has been an apparent breakdown of structure and form within every aspect of life. People dress differently, worship differently, and interact differently. Therefore, Settegast finds it obvious and understandable that no solidified definition of art has been obtained because even some of the simplest things in life have no solid definition.

Mary Settegast interweaves art with the breakdown of other aspects of life to explain why it would be difficult and negative to set out to build new boundaries by definition of everything.

Throughout the 1980s and 1990s specifically, the boundaries between high culture and pop culture continued to dissolve, as did the boundaries between categories of art. Today’s art world tries to be defined or characterized by the “exuberant use of all modes to explode any and all definitions of a genre”. With virtually no restriction on methods or materials, wacky exploitation of methods and materials, especially with modern art, continue to mock and sabotage any attempt to distinguish art into formal categories, let alone try to find a formalized definition.

None of the revolutionary artists that have come before us originally set out to change the world. They each just simply worked and questioned boundaries to find truth of individuality through their art. With that came artistic change. The dissolution of the boundaries that used to exist in the world is actually opening up opportunity for self-realization. The forms of art that have evolved are a pattern of movement and change that is necessary.

Does anyone agree with Settegast? Does the breakdown of boundaries across the board a valid reason for why art is not definable?

05 December 2009

Candidates for the Presidential Election 2008

Since we were talking about the candidates for art, it turned into who actually was running for President in 2008, so I looked it up since it was interesting.

Obviously, Barack Obama and John McCain for the Democratic and Republican parties respectfully, and Ralph Nader for the Independents, but the rest are quite interesting.

Bob Barr- Libertarian
Cynthia McKinney- Green Party
Chuck Baldwin- Constitution Party
Alan Keyes- American Independent
Gloria La Riva- Socialism & Liberation Party
Brian Moore- Socialist, Vermont Liberty Union
Roger Calero- Socialist Workers
Charles Jay- Boston Tea Party
Thomas Stevens- Objectivist
Gene Amondson- Prohibition Party
Jeffrey Wamboldt- We the People Party
Lanakila Washington- Humanistic Party
Ted Weill/Frank McEnulty- Reform Party
Jerry White/Bill Van Auken- Socialist Equality Party
Cody Judy- Conservative Independent
John Joseph Polachek-New Party
Bradford Lyttle-United States Pacifist Party
... just to name a few.

NOTE: The KKK did not have a candidate, they endorsed John McCain. I'm sure he was thrilled.

1) Given the amount of money and energy it takes to start a campaign, why do you think these people run? Since the odds are against them, what motivates them? Is it just to spread their opinions and hope for a few followers?

Dickie, a disappointment?

I was really excited to read Dickie's explanation of who is entitled to belong in the artworld, but after reading, I was so disappointed and frustrated. I thought that some answers, or maybe just deeper insight, was going to finally surface, but once again, I was left with more questions than answers.
I found that Dickie’s discussion of who belonged in the artworld was quite inclusive. In the book, Dickie first lists: “artists (painters, writers, composers), producers, museum directors, museum-goers, theater-goers, reporters for newspapers, critics for publications of all sorts, art historians, art theorists, philosophers of art, and others.”
I feel as if this list of the worthy people of the art world was a cop-out. It’s as if he didn’t want to offend anyone or leave any of his friends out of consideration. I agree with most, but have a problem with museum-goers, theater-goers, reporters, the inclusion of “all sorts” after critics, and how Dickie slipped in “others” at the end. Sure most museum and theater enthusiasts might be informed enough to be included into the artworld, but I’m not sure all of them belong, at least when you’re thinking of the elite artworld Danto described.
Although Dickie goes on and describes that a theatre-goer must have a broad knowledge and understanding of theatre, I still feel as if all that he listed is too broad. He then goes on to include that “every member who sees himself as a member of the artworld” shall be. There is, understandably, not a governing body that decides who does and does not belong, but Dickie, in my opinion, did not spell out any concrete guidelines for us to consider. He basically includes everyone if they feel so inclined or so worthy of such membership.

1) It seems as if Dickie's article has no concrete answers. Was Dickie aiming to please?

18 November 2009


The “distinguished members of the art world” seems a little elitist of Danto, but it makes sense. Such people have earned their elitism and are deserving of the title.

Is elitism a bad thing, or does it just have a bad connotation? I feel as if the honor society is a elite group full of students who strive to do their best for four years here at the College. Of course, my non-honor student friends think it's a little elite that we get our own study house, and special tassles and ribbons for graduation, but don't we deserve it? They could've joined this elite group too if they wanted.

I believe that being "elite" is just striving to be the best, and achieving it, whether in sports, school, or the "art world". Being elite isn't a bad thing, as long as snobbishness or an air of distasteful arrogance doesn't follow.

Why does being "elite" have negative connotations? Is believing you are "elite" snobby and rude? or is it deserving?

the "is" of artistic identification

Danto introduces a third “is”, the “is” of artistic identification. This is serves as a judgment of distinguishable properties of artwork. This is doesn’t describe the piece, it serves as an evaluation and interpretation.
This “is” of artistic identification is also different in that Danto claims it can only be used by distinguished members of the art world. Distinguished members are those who know not only the history of art, but have also studied art theory. Supposedly, knowledge of art history and theories allow for a more educated judgment of the piece in question. Such judgment can only be passed with proper studying, therefore only by a member of the “art world”.

I have mentioned all along that I don’t feel entitled to pass judgment on art, so maybe Danto has a point with this "art world" business. The only problem I have is how to judge when someone belongs in the “art world” club. Can they be included by only studying art history and theory and be totally inept at creating art themselves? Or vice versa, can they be naturally skilled at art and able to create beautiful art, but have no interest in studying art history and theory?

15 November 2009

Resonse to Fay's blog: solipsism 10.29

Do we all experience art uniquely from one another?

Fay’s blog entry on solipsism is an interesting concept. Of course we all have the idea of what certain feelings are but I strongly believe that no one experiences them all the same. The same goes for art. Everyone can appreciate something, but aside from appreciation, everyone feels differently about it. Love it, hate it, or have no opinion at all, I don’t think it’s possible for everyone to feel the exact same way.I think solipsism is also a good reason of why some things upset others more than someone else, since we all feel differently, and we all have experienced life differently up to that point. Maybe no one really does know how you're feeling when they say they do!

goodman's When Is Art?

Is Goodman’s question of “when is art?” an adequate replacement for “what is art?” I do agree with Goodman that the latter is a frustrating and confusing question, but I still believe it is an important main focus.
However, Goodman’s question answers some questions that we had been struggling with, such as when to consider normal objects art. Asking the wrong question leads down the path of failing to distinguish objects that function as a work of art at some times, but not as others, following the importance of the question “when is art?”. A leftover brick from the Berlin Wall had a function, but now, sitting in a museum covered in symbolic graffiti, it can be considered art.
Since it is difficult to nail down specific characteristics of art, or define it, Goodman seems to enjoy only classifying it when it is clearly being seen, portrayed, and functioning as art. It makes sense, but is it enough? Should we switch our focus to “when is art?” or does that exclude necessary things that we need to discuss?

the meaning of life essay from professor's blog: 10/4

The essay on the meaning of life is definitely complicated, however I feel as if delves pretty deep into things I have never considered. Like the essay originally states, I also considered ‘the meaning of life’ just living your life doing things that are positive for yourself, as well as others, in search of the ultimate goal, or the religious ‘eternal life’ after life. Of course, one can wonder if it is different than that, or if there is a specific reason we’re all here.

The essay continued to discuss how that it is possible for one person’s life to be more meaningful than that of their neighbors. However, the latter neighbor might feel as if they did nothing to deserve having a life that is less meaningful.

Also, having a meaningful life does not necessarily mean it was blessed in other ways, such as happiness, money, or health.

I believe that there are so many things that go into leading a meaningful life that it is hard to judge someone else’s life. Sure, someone might lead a meaningful life by curing cancer, but if someone else changed the life of just one person for the better, shouldn’t they both be credited with leading a meaningful life?

One sentence that I liked in the essay was “Although relatively few have addressed the question of whether there exists a single, primary sense of “life's meaning,” the inability to find one so far might suggest that none exists.” Therefore my question is: is the ‘meaning of life’ to each his own? If you lead a life that you believe is morally satisfying and meaningful based on your religion, or what not, is that enough? What is your definition of a meaningful life?

08 November 2009

questions of taste

Taste is personal to each person. There are multiple factors that affect each person’s personal taste, such as moral standards, concepts of beauty, as well as prejudices. Therefore, how is the Mona Lisa universally admired and recognized as a masterpiece then? Since taste is individual, how did we come to agreement? That is where judgment comes in. Something I’m skeptical, or confused about is the ability to separate judgment from personal taste. I feel as if all judgments are bound to be somewhat influenced by taste. Also, who is entitled to make such judgments? Personally, I would judge that the Sunday Evening Post covers by Rockwell were more interesting, and more aesthetically pleasing than the Mona Lisa. I’ve never understood why everyone likes the Mona Lisa, which obviously doesn’t discredit it in the least. Therefore, are there people that are entitled to make judgments on art, and therefore bring it up to masterpiece standards? It seems as if people capable of creating art would be more capable and better equipped to make such judgments. Also, we would assume that those people need to be also capable of separating taste from judgment.

So this blog has turned into a bunch of questions, which makes sense since I’m always confused on these concepts. I guess my main question is: Is there any masterpiece that is universally admired? Is it therefore only admired based on unbiased judgments since not everyone has the same taste?

01 November 2009

response to fay's blog: 10-29-09

When I see movies like Pleasantville or read the book The Giver I feel that that doesn't even come close to where we would be without art. Obviously it would be a less interesting world without art but the way in which our mind works, how much more advanced would we be to monkeys?
Is art the all defining aspect that truely sets us apart from all other species.

I agree that art is one aspect that sets us apart as a species, if not the aspect. I think that we would still be advanced, but we’d be boring.
When you think about it, a day without art is definitely bleak, if not depressing. Words that come to mind are mundane, humdrum, boring.
If you really think about how an artless life would be, it’s surprising to realize how much art affects your daily life.
You use the alarm on your cell phone to wake up, but it’s not your favorite song awakening you, it’s a dull tone, since music doesn’t exist.
Your clothes would be boring and unoriginal. Your favorite heels don’t exist, and that shirt that you love wouldn’t exist either, since there aren’t any fashion designers to help you dress uniquely. You’d probably be better off dressing like a monk.
If you turn on the TV to maybe watch a show before class, it won’t be funny, dramatic, or anything remotely entertaining since acting and comedy don’t exist. It’d probably be talk, which without the added music and entertaining features of news, it too would be dull.
Even food would be boring without the culinary arts to influence taste and presentation. (yes, even worse than aramark.)
I think the objects around us would be boring as well. Your house wouldn’t be unique, your car would be stock and boring, your furniture dull and uninteresting, and probably uncomfortable.
This also leads me to believe that color wouldn’t exist, or if it did, it might not mean the same thing. Art electrifies color and makes it special, therefore I feel like grey would be the norm.
This artless life seems a lot worse than Pleasantville was. I feel like Pleasantville was a lot more forgiving than an artless world.
Each little aspect of your day is affected by the arts. It would be impossible to live without it without developing mental disorders.
One question I have off of this question is one that I couldn’t answer myself. Would language exist? Some people think of language as an art we humans formed. With a life devoid of art, would language have developed?

27 October 2009

Is creating a defintion necessary?

Even so, I remain hopeful that we might construct a satisfactory -- however inclusive and broad -- intensional definition of art.

Professor Johnson wrote that quote on his blog. Although I believe that discussing art in hopes to create a definition is important, I’m unsure of our ability to actually create a definition. Will we be able to integrate all of the author’s opinions in the text? Will we be able to agree on our own opinions?

These questions are why I believe that maybe art should stay undefined and uncategorized. Progress has been made in striving towards a definition through discussion, and it has opened up some great conversation, thought, and debate. So can that be enough to satisfy our need to question the question of art?

Maybe with art remaining open and uncategorized, it leaves room for growth and development. Art is allowed to evolve since it has no boundaries, allowing for the development of future pieces like another urinal!

My question is those above: Should we continue to strive towards definition? Is definition possible?

Response to Michelle's blog 10.25.

While doing research for another class I came across the phrase, "Mother Nature’s Paintbrush." What do you think this means?

I believe that Mother Nature has a paintbrush that creates those beautiful sunsets, intricate details to flowers, or even the heart-shaped spot on that dog! It’s the little details that occur in nature, and usually go unnoticed.

If we stop from our busy lives and really look around, there is beauty all over in nature. Thousands of people flock to the area for the foliage every year, and I’ve become used to it, being my third year going to school here. It wasn’t until my aunts (who are from the Midwest) flew in to visit me this year, did I really stop to look at the colors that come out. They made me go on a hike, and it renewed my ability to see the beauty of the trees in the Fall and realize why leaf-peepers sell out the hotels in the area during September and October.

It’s the same as someone who lives on the ocean. If you see it every day, it loses its majestic qualities. However, no matter how busy we become as a species, Mother Nature continues to use her paintbrush, we just have to stop and notice.