Monday, 4 September 2006

Architecture v Architecture: Introduction

Commenting on this thread, blogger Den MT told me:
Far be it from me to engage in professional snobbery, PC, but for one who has erected such impregnable walls around their conception of 'art' and 'taste,' I'd be casting my eye a lot closer to home before rubbishing anyone else's aesthetic sensibilities.

Objectivity does not exist in art. You are a poor arbiter of taste if said taste is to be measured against the art you post (as 'the only true art').
'I see' your credentials as dubious. You demonstrate few intersections with what I enjoy and find engaging and entertaining about the visual arts, but the difference is that I don't claim any kind of intellectual authority for my opinion.
You post a lot of the classics on your site as examples of good architecture, but very few modern, current architects or buildings. Either you don't have your finger on the pulse as it were, you don't believe any good architecture is currently being produced, or (my bet) you wouldn't know good architecture if it landed on you from 6000mm AFFL.
You see, I'd been suggesting that it is possible to objectively determine that one thing is art and another is just a pile of shit, and Den disagreed. I'd suggested that individual taste is certainly subjective, but that what we like is nonetheless able to be analysed objectively to tell us something about ourselves and the way we see the world -- to which Den disagreed. I'd suggested that art is a shortcut to our philosophy ... and Den suggested I was talking nonsense.

So what's a commentator to do?

Well, in the interests of free speech and artistic and architectural debate (and of getting the fingers of 'Not PC' readers closer to the pulse -- where I know they want to be), I invited Den to join with me over the next week-and-a-bit in each posting here at 'Not PC' five of our own architectural favourites, and with each an argument for why we say it's good, and then let's see where it gets us.

So tonight, Den kicks off with ... well, you'll just have to tune back in tonight and find out, won't you. See you then.

RELATED: Architecture, Art


  1. So we can objectively state what subjectively appeals to us? That doesn't mean much.

  2. Well, let me restate it.

    A piece of art appeals to you. That it appeals to you, but not perhaps me, shows that your 'taste' for that piece is (somewhat) subjective.

    But can we say anything about that piece of art, and therefore our taste for it? Yes, we can. We can assess the art and our like for it, which are both facts open to analysis, and from that learn something about ourselves.

    Here's a very simple example. You find that you're really enjoying listening to sad music. That you do is a fact. That the music expresses sadness is also a fact. Your taste for this music at this point in your life is subjective, but it tells you something about yourself, which might be that you're sad.

    If you've just experienced a loss, that might of course be no surprise.

    Let me hasten to add that assessing art or your tastes like this is not the primary purpose of art (not unless you're an art therapist). In a time of great loss, for instance, you already know you're sad: what you're doing here is perhaps wallowing for a while in your sadness, really feeling it, and perhaps finding a way out -- but while we're enjoying it the music is emotionally reflecting back to us that this is the way we (presently) see the world, and the music we're enjoying is helping us to understand that, and to feel that as an emotional sum.

    So perhaps in that sense it does "mean much"?

  3. Richard Feynman, one of the greatest quantum physicists, also detected that you could objectively judge art.

    But only after he had tried it himself.

    In order to appreciate what is good and what is just bullshit, might it not be that people should try creating something first?

    That objectivity doesn't come from pure reasoning, but from experience?

  4. I think that art is bad when so called 'art expert' try to market a piece of shit as good art. I had seen in one episode of "60 minutes" current affair of how, some paintings produced by some primary school children were given to 3 New York art experts to evaluate. They all priced those paintings at 50,000 upwards. What were unknown to the experts, that the paintings were done by school kids , as part of "60 minutes" program. The goal was to see how obscene , art is being priced, by so called 'art expert'. When the experts were told that all the paintings came from school kids, 2 of them changed the subject to talk about the potentials of those kids in the art world. Instead of telling the '60 minutes' program that their so called expertise is nothing but a subjective opinion, which means that their expertise is no expertise at all, they avoided the question and started talking about the future of theso children in art. It is the so called professional 'art experts' that are conning the public to buy something worthless at a price of 100,000 or more. NOW, I have a problem with that. It means that shit art is made out as good art, and this is done deliberately. Such practice from art experts does devalue of what is really good & real art.


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