Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A note on artistic expression & society

In Saturday Morning Musings - civilisation, progress & the importance of empathy, I mentioned Whitehead's Adventure of Idea. Over at Freedom and Flourishing, Winton Bates was inspired to read the book and has responded in Could civilization be maintained without progress?.

It's always interesting to see how others interpret the same material. In Winton's case, his reading continued the musings expressed in a previous post: Are the arts a force for progress or do they just reflect contemporary society?

I don't have time this morning to follow up properly. To my mind, artistic express both reflects a society and affects that society. It is also influenced by the availability of raw materials whether as platform (a cave wall for example) or in form of expression. Whatever the form, the desire for artistic expression seems deeply imbedded in humanity.

The relationship between artistic expression and society, between artistic expression and culture broadly defined, means that our own interpretations are culturally determined. Yet there does seem to be some form of universal response that can cross cultures and indeed time.   


Winton Bates said...

Perhaps the title of my post should have been: Should we feel despair about trends in the arts? My short answer is no. The stuff that fails to communicate anything worthwhile is unlikely to survive.

Evan said...

I love ancient Egyptian art. I guess it doesn't mean the same to me as it did to those who did it in some ways. But I still connect with it.

Jim Belshaw said...

Winton, that's a very good point. Those who complain that art in particular will destroy society or moral values - I have Robert Menzies in mind - are generally proved wrong. Where right, history tends to side with the artist!

Jim Belshaw said...

You demonstrate my underlying point, Evan.