Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Evolution and Concept Art

This fascinating article by Denis Dutton from the New York Times, "Has Conceptual Art Jumped the Shark Tank". Dutton fairly recently published The Art Instinct: Beauty, Pleasure and Human Evolution.

"We ought, then, to stop kidding ourselves that painstakingly developed artistic technique is passĂ©, a value left over from our grandparents’ culture. Evidence is all around us. Even when we have lost contact with the social or religious ideas behind the arts of bygone civilizations, we are still able, as with the great bronzes or temples of Greece or ancient China, to respond directly to craftsmanship. The direct response to skill is what makes it possible to find beauty in many tribal arts even though we often know nothing about the beliefs of the people who created them. There is no place on earth where superlative technique in music and dance is not regarded as beautiful.

"The appreciation of contemporary conceptual art, on the other hand, depends not on immediately recognizable skill, but on how the work is situated in today’s intellectual zeitgeist."

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