Categorizations as reduction.

Recently I have engaged Everett Scott in what has become a very interesting conversation into how and why we organize art, looking at why there is Art and art and where entertainment plays a role and how Art acts differently. What has come from this are some very interesting notions as to entertainment and art being on separately playing fields and ultimately incomparable as to effect and purpose on society and culture. This may not be false in the end. And I being one who loves adapting and utilizing arguments contrary to my own brought this up in a recent conversation in a Mystical class I am currently in being taught by Professor K. The conversation was on the mystical merit of Dali. I being of the mind to challenge even my own beliefs on art decided to take the opinion that Dali was a “sellout artist” and one not deserving of any merit; in the end I used this distinction to place Dali as an entertainer rather than an artist. My professor, Professor K, stated rather bluntly that such distinctions were reductive and closed minded.

Well first I’d like to say that I disagree entirely with both sides of that little debate, Dali is an artist to me, and such distinction are most certainly not reductive and closed minded. In fact I would argue that such a statement is the only thing closed minded and reductive in that debate. To refuse to engage in a debate because you believe it to be reductive is the closed minded attitude. I grant that I am not one to revel in categorizations but I do believe there is merit in trying to understand why such works as Guernica or Olympiad or even the Mona Lisa are distinctively different than that of Disney or MGM’s Bond films. But I am not bringing this up to just point out a failure in our class’s ability to discuss openly, rather I want to acknowledge the merit of trying to understand the differences between Art and art and why we should do that. I know that personally I do not believe in such differences but I think in looking at the apparent differences we better understand why we create them. So then I guess I do believe in them I just don’t prescribe to them. I really do not know. But in regards to aesthetics, I do want to delve into how that word applies to art and I will very soon.


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