2012 Abstracts Stage 2

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, which Fine Art is Best of All? A Philosophical Inquiry into whether Beauty Has Disappeared from Modern Day Artworks.

The discussion of this paper will be centred on the object of art with reference to beauty. We know that beauty has played a vital role in the lives of humans for thousands of years, we seek it in natural and man-made objects, and we crave it. So, why is our art turning towards what we would generally consider to be ‘ugly’ aspects within our modern culture?

This project will focus on the following main questions;
 What do we mean when we call a work of art ‘beautiful’?
 Does art have to be beautiful?
 Has beauty been lost to the modern world?
 Has the understanding of what is beautiful changed in the modern world?
 Can beauty still be found?

We will be discussing the position held by Roger Scruton, who asserts the purpose of art is to provide the spectator with a sense of comfort, however, he states this rationale has been consequently lost to modern art as the artist is no longer concerned with technique or skill and instead focuses on self expression. We shall consider the views of Arthur Danto, who claims since the Brillo Box exhibition, art has become a purely philosophical endeavour. Our discussion will finally lead us to the views of Hans-Georg Gadamer who is unafraid to admit that there is an inevitable ‘gap’ between what we classify as traditional art and what we see as modern art, however, he sees philosophy as being able to bridge this gap. We will also look to his concept of ‘play’, ‘symbol’ and ‘festival’ which primarily allow for an object to be regarded as art.