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Art as Communication

Michael Griffin

Subject Art
Communication Studies » Visual and Non-verbal Communication

People Hume, David

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405131995.2008.x


Since the modern era in the west, art has increasingly been defined as distinct from communication. Since Kant and Hume, discriminations of sensory beauty and “delicacy of taste” have been invoked in judgments of →  aesthetic value that separate those forms of communication that qualify as art from those that do not. Gross has argued that an important part of the process of art appreciation is the “perception and evaluation of the competence displayed by the artist” ( Gross 1973 , 124). That is, does the reader or viewer attribute skill on the part of the artist to “the selecting, transforming, and ordering of the elements” ( Gross 1973 , 127) that constitute the work of art, and see these creative actions as intentional? For Gross these demonstrations of competence may be appreciated anonymously, as examples of conventionally recognized ability or talent, but most often they depend upon the valorization of an individual artist, the repository of the skill that is distinguished. Yet in most cultures for most of human history, the creation of art has been a socially organized activity, central to the communication of shared religious beliefs, mythic understandings of the world, and social relations. Indeed, the rise of technologies of mass communication were theorized in the twentieth century in terms of their relationship to the traditional arts, and the resulting media content ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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