Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The end of Art (course) in Ealing and Big Idea #193 is Aestheticism

Which YBA would like these?
So last week was the final 14th part of the 13 sessions (originally) of the Modern Art course held at OPEN Ealing (next door to the Cherry Pye shop) and most ably led by OPEN Ealing art director, artist and lecturer Nick Pearson .
The lectures have been really informative and have provided a narrative and structure to slot the  works and artists of the late  19th and 20th century visual creatives into.
The extra session added was about what were the YBAs (known as Young British Artists but generally now in their late 40s and early 50s) the artists included the enfant terrible Damien Hirst, the sometimes troubled Tracy Emin and the somewhat door fixated Gary Hume.

Damien pushes the boundaries
The concept around the rise of pupils from the Goldsmith's college taught by the Irish born conceptual artist Michael Craig-Martin raises the same questions other 'movements' bring to mind, do artists have a common mood and purpose or is the creation of a grouping merely a convenience for critics?
 In my mind there's little doubting the creativity of someone who can formulate something like The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living but time will tell if it is something that resonates through the years.
Certainly if there was a movement it put Britain on the map again as a force in Art and gave the establishment a  kick up the derriere.  Which perhaps brings me onto ...


Big Idea Number 193 which is Aestheticism

This idea came about in the late 19th-century European and is an  arts movement which centres on the doctrine that art exists for the sake of its beauty alone, and that it need serve no political, didactic, or other purpose.
Like other movements it was a  reaction to a prevailing belief in utilitarian social philosophies and what could be considered as the ugliness and philistinism of the industrial age. Its philosophical foundations were laid in the 18th century by Immanuel Kant, whose concept was the autonomy of aesthetic standards, setting them apart from considerations of morality, utility, or pleasure. This idea was taken on  by the German J.W. von Goethe and by the poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge  (Kubla Khan etc.) and Thomas Carlyle in England.
Famously the philosopher Victor Cousin, coined the phrase l’art pour l’art (“art for art’s sake”) in 1818.
In England, the artists of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, from 1848,  included  Dante Gabriel Rossetti and Edward Burne-Jones, whose works expressed a yearning for ideal beauty and they noticeably included  medieval influences. The attitudes of the movement were also represented in the writings of Oscar Wilde and the illustrations of Aubrey Beardsley ( he famously illustrated Wilde's Salome).
The painter James McNeill Whistler (his Mother on the left) further raised the movement’s ideal of the cultivation of refined sensibility .

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