Aesthetics and Ethics

May 6

May 7

A driving force in my artistic and intellectual development has been the intersection of aesthetics and ethics. These are two aspects of so-called “value theory” that have been intimately linked philosophically for centuries, although in my experience the past few decades have been dominated by writings on either ethics or aesthetics with only lip service paid to the connection between the two. As an artist I am particularly interested in the common assumptions and issues in both ethics an aesthetics as well as ethical issues in art making and aesthetics. I am constantly asking myself and examining the answers to questions around these areas:

Is there objectivity in ethics and art? If so, what form does it take? If so, how do you reconcile the apparent differences in ethics, art styles, and forms? Are there moral and aesthetics truths? What is the relationship between aesthetic value and value in general? Is aesthetic value a part of a larger value paradigm or a more fundamental anchor value? Can or should art have moral value? If so, how is it related to the assessment of art? Can you have morally abhorrent art that is at the same time aesthetically excellent? Are there limits to what can or should be appreciated aesthetically? Are there limits on what can or should be approached or attempted artistically? Are there moral obligations for artists? Are there moral obligations for viewers of art? If so, how are they related?

I don’t at present have any hard and fast answers to any of these questions. In fact, I think asking the questions are probably more important than answering them. Where I fall in my answers at any given time determines my artistic and moral experiences in that given moment. To blatantly steal from Emerson, I express my art and ethical standing in actions as hard as cannonballs even though they contradict everything I expressed the moment before.

Eric in a Word: oblatrate
Book of the Day: The Spartans - Paul Cartledge
Song of the Day: Odin's Raven Magic - Sigur Ros and Hilmar Orn Hilmarsson
Religious Figure of the Day: Shabbetai Tzevi
graphite and green tea on qaud-ruled notebook paper (May 6)
charcoal pencil, graphite, and coffee on business card (May 7)

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