Using the image from the final slide of this week's powerpoint slideshow, what do you think this work of art means? Think of how meaning gets into a work of art AND Form, Content, and Context.
Cognition, Creation, and Comprehension
How Art Communicates
The Task of Criticism
O Arthur Danto: O “The task of criticism is to
identify the meanings and explain the mode of their emobidment.” (Freeland 58)
O Three Key Things: O Identify Meaning
O What is meaning? O And, for whom?
O Mode of Embodiment #1: Material O What is the medium of
the work? O What does the artist use?
O Mode of Embodiment #2: Formal O How is that material
arranged? O According to what
Art and Culture O “Art ‘expresses the life of a community” ~ John Dewey, qtd.
in Freeland, page 87 O “Art as “culturally significant meaning, skillfully encoded in
an affecting, sensuous medium.’” ~ Richard Anderson, qtd. in Freeland, page 88
O Key Concepts: O Definitions of Art O Art World O Culture O Community
O “We use the word culture in these two senses: to mean a whole way of life–the common meanings; to mean the arts and learning–the special processes of discovery and creative effort.” ~Raymond Williams, http://www.giarts.org/article/culture-ordinary
Interpretation To “interpret” is to offer a rational construal that explains the meaning of an artwork. I do not believe that there is one true account of ‘the’ cognitive contribution made by an artwork. But some interpretations work better than others. The most advanced interpretations are reasoned, detailed, and plausible; they reflect background knowledge and community standards of rational debate.” (Freeland 175)
Theories Art Communicates. Interpretation helps explain how art does this. “A good interpretation must be grounded in reasons and evidence, and should provide a rich, complex, and illuminating way to comprehend a work of art.” (150)
Cognitive Theory: artists communicate thoughts and ideas Expressive Theory: artists communicate emotions and feelings
from, “The Rhetoric of the Image”
O “How does meaning get into the image? Where does it end? And if it ends, what is there beyond?” (32)
O “If the image contains signs, we can be sure that in advertising these signs are full, formed with a view to the optimum reading: the advertising image is frank, or at least emphatic.” (33)
O Images have Three Messages: O The linguistic message
O Denotative and connotative meanings
O A coded iconic message O Require a generally cultural
knowledge, imbued with values.
O A symbolic message, a cultural message
O A non-coded iconic message O A perceptual message, the
Mark Tansey A Case Study for Interpretation
Mark Tansey Tansey's work typifies the
complexity of our age. In his paintings, it is difficult to
determine whether east is west, up is down, left is right, or good is
evil. The literal is the figurative, and the figurative is literal.
Tansey embraces this ambiguity and invites the viewer to participate in a visual and metaphorical adventure.
His paintings selected here are intended to show a direct concern with certain "myths"
of modern art, and most especially, the myths woven
by American critics of the fifties, sixties, and seventies.
“Action Painting II”
“Action Painting II” Here we have Mark Tansey, an artist smitten with the contrast between the static moment and the dynamic (lengthy) process of
painting itself. Tansey's Action Painting I and II place the artist in
a position that only a photographer could capture,
depicting a moment of catastrophic energy as if it were
just another still life of fruit.
“The Innocent Eye Test”
“The Innocent Eye Test”
"In Tansey's painted metaphor for the perception of art, we
are the cow, and the scientists want to
know how and what we see — hardly the stuff of Frank
Stella's famous dictum "What you see is what you see."
Mt. Rushmore, South Dakota, 1969 Lee Friedlander
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