Thursday, February 08, 2007


OK... you are Tom Hanks, stranded on a desert island... who would you take with you: Jane Austen or Britney Spears? You also have a choice between Stephen King or Thomas S. Elliot... and some other artists. It's all part of an interactive survey to evaluate aesthetic criteria by . Although, I do not agree with their 5 criteria as being what defines a work of art:

The work displays great technical ability
This may be the only criteria that actually applies at some level. I mean, if the artist doesn't have the necessary technical skills, it's more difficult to transmit the message. So, for me, that's a maybe.

The work is enjoyable
NO. There are many works of art that cause the exact opposite of enjoyment. There are many works of art created to cause repulsion, disgust, anger, fear... etc.

The work conveys the feelings of the artist
Not necessarily, the artist may or may not have those feelings. One may say, that usually, yes. I would say that the artist may be emotionally attached to the work, but that doesn't mean that the artist had (or needs to have) the same emotion represented on that work. One could paint a very sad image without having to actually cry a river...

The work conveys an important moral lesson or helps us to live better lives
The message on a work of art does not have to be ethical or moral. In fact, that was the view of fascist censorship, presenting a controlled depiction of what they considered moral, ethic and acceptable. Art can not (or should not) be limited to moral o ethic boundaries.

The formal features of the work are harmonious and/or beautiful
Once again, the formal features may or may not be harmonious and/or beautiful. They could be ugly, random, unharmonius. .. if, IF that is the intention. An harmonious and/or beautiful world would be a world full of kitsch! Like Kundera would say: "It follows, then, that the aesthetic ideal of the categorical agreement with being is a world where SHIT is denied and everyone acts as though it did not exist. This aesthetic ideal is called Kitsch". Just like "the Simpson's movie" trailer: "in a time when computer animation brings us a world of unsurpassed beauty, one film dares to be ugly..."

The work reveals an insight into reality
What about surrealism... or impressionism... or even "pop art" ???!

So, after closer consideration, those 5 aesthetic criteria are either/or: the old fashioned aesthetic ideals OR democracy is (once again) causing philosophy to take huge steps back, trying to popularize art. At the end of the quiz, you can find out the artist, that people would like to take to a desert island with them. So, who will it be you are taking with you: Shakespeare or Britney?

Bookmark and Share


Post a Comment

<< Home