Art as Experience
by John Dewey (1934)
Image: sculpture by Andy Goldsworthy
Our good friend Casey was correct when he stated that Dewey is THE man when it comes to authority on this subject. So, let’s explore this book a little more. As you know, I’m not covering it chapter by chapter because it’s encyclopedic in scope. Rather, I’m cherry-picking quotations that I think will give rise to interesting discussions here. So far, Dewey has ignited a firestorm!
So, here’s more to consider: The theories that attribute direct moral effect and intent to art fail because they do not take account of the collective civilization that is the context in which works of art are produced and enjoyed. I would not say that they tend to treat works of art as a kind of sublimated AEsop’s fables. But they all tend to extract particular works, regarded as especially edifying, from their milieu and to think of the moral function of art in terms of a strictly personal relation between the selected works and a particular individual. Their whole conception of morals is so individualistic that they miss a sense of the way in which art exercises its humane function.
Go for it!
P.S. If you’re new to this blog and haven’t read the posts and comments from the past two days, please do. My readers made awesome comments! Please feel free to join in and WELCOME!