The meaning of Art

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by geordief, Apr 13, 2017.

  1. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

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    So the legal stance on alteration to existing art-work should be: Meh, whatever feels okay that week.
     
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  3. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

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    In New York City? Seriously?
     
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  5. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

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    Yup.
     
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  7. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

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    Pity.
     
  8. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

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    So Shakespeare's plays should never be performed because some actor might *shudder* put his own interpretation on the role? They should never be translated into another language because some subtle nuances might be lost, or gained? West Side Story should be banned as an insult to Romeo and Juliet?
     
  9. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    A more accurate comparison would be someone getting control of one of Shakespeare's plays and making some amusing alterations to the context and settings that affect every performance from then on - so all performances from then on would be of "Queen Lear", say, and no other performances would be available. Nothing else changed, of course - Shakespeare's deathless dialogue intact, barring the occasional pronoun.
     
  10. parmalee peripatetic artisan Valued Senior Member

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    Well/circular temperament or equal? Until fairly recently (with the exception of organs with individually tuned oscillators and dividers), altering the tuning of a keyboard instrument was no easy feat--or at least, not one that most would be inclined to fiddle with on a regular basis.

    Unfortunately, in the music industry (among others), control over these things is often wrested from the creators, and another entity has full license to do whatever they damn well please with the artists' work. I recall snippets of Faust (the German band, not the opera) and Fred Frith being used in Nike commercials back in the late 90's, and being really pissed because neither did (or would) allow for such thing. But it was out of their hands.
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2017
  11. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

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    That isn't what's happening with the bull. Nobody did anything to the bull. They only changed the context. It's the equivalent of the artist demanding that a new building be torn down because it casts a shadow on his bull.
     
  12. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

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    Why are you back on the bull?
    When I asked this:
    "So the legal stance on alteration to existing art-work should be: Meh, whatever feels okay that week."
    I was referring to the principle that should govern changing/improving other people's art-work.
    Your unqualified, non-bull-related answer was:
     
  13. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

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    Do you have a point?
     
  14. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

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    Not anymore. I made it some time ago.
     
  15. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    Meaning derives from context.

    And that is exactly what is happening with the bull - just as Shakespeare's dialogue depends for its meaning on whether it's a Queen or a King declaiming the lines, or whether the characters are speaking in a castle or on a ship or in an office on the 25th floor, in France or England or wherever.

    Look, if somebody wants to add a political comment like that in front of the famous bull I'm not going to make a big deal out of it - trivialize away, if it makes you happy. When Beethoven's symphonies are being used to sell junk on TV, the principle is long gone (and the meaning of the bull highlighted, btw). But I can understand the sculptor being irritated - couldn't they have waited until he was dead? Or failing that courtesy, at least acknowledged the brat factor?

    A town I lived near once had a war memorial including the figure of a soldier coming out of a trench with his bayonet fixed - and some kids once set up a sort of crude sculpture recognizably a hog, positioned so that the soldier appeared to be about to ram his bayonet up its ass. And of course they hadn't done anything to the soldier. Just altered the context. But people had it removed, and apologies were in order. And apologies were in order.
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2017
  16. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

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    Yes, that's one aspect of the current situation which would be relevant to a general principle.
    A horticulturist might sell the city a rare new rose, on condition that it be adequately watered and kept in full sunlight. If the city hall building were expanded so as to put the rose in shade, they would have to move the rose to a new, sunny location. If not, the horticulturist could take it back.

    If this sculptor had a good contract, it would have included a clause regarding the display: the location of his work and the juxtaposition of other objects. Then, he would be within his rights to remove the bull and return the fee - minus expenses incurred and whatever penalties the contract stipulated - leaving Girl Power standing there with nothing to defy. The meaning of the second sculpture is as dependent on the first as if it were sitting on the bull: it's taking a free ride it's not entitled to.
    If the second artist had made a bull similar to the first one and set up the pair in this relation, but somewhere else, that would be a new work, not covered by contract or copyright, since bulls and girls as subject matter are in the public domain.

    The play 'Rosenkrantz and Guildenstern are Dead' is entirely dependent on 'Hamlet'. If Shakespeare removed his play from circulation, the other one would lose its frame of reference and most of its meaning. Since Hamlet loses none of its power through being used as a vehicle, no harm's been done - but Shakespeare would certainly be within his copy-right to demand that the names be changed and all unauthorized quotes removed from the other play. He couldn't do anything about 'West Side Story', since it's only a reiteration of a theme he himself had cribbed from an earlier story.

    These details are not unknowable or unforseeable or unpreventable. It's just a matter of having a clearly articulated principle to base judgments on.
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2017
  17. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

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    Sure. But when your sculpture is installed on a public city street, you have no reasonable claim to control every aspect of that context.
     

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