Old Greeks and New Art

Jordan Miller
Art 122Y
Fall 2017
Prof. William Cromar

WHY IS THAT ART? Well that is a good question…you are not the only one to question that, Aristotle and Plato also question if and why things were art. Have you heard of Jeff Koons? No? Well your about to…I will dive into the thought processes of them both while deconstructing the body of work from Koons. Let’s talk about Koons for a second…Koons is best known for his works, “Puppy” and “Balloon Dog”. In class, we discussed in detail more them as well as “Made in Heaven”; which is basically still life pornographic sculptures (It’s ok, we are all adults here).
So, let’s get it down to the dirt, the juicy stuff…I wonder what Aristotle and Plato would think about his work. If I had to guess, I would think that of the two, Aristotle would be accepting of Koons work, including “Made in Heaven”. Aristotle believes that “The artist does not simply, copy nature, but celebrates it by finding the universal or archetypical, representing an amalgamation of the best that nature provides”. The beauty of a person is in fact natural as well…that cannot be changed in any NATURAL way. “Beauty for Aristotle, in based on knowledge first, then on the appearance and function of that which is said to be beautiful”. Plato on the other hand I do not believe would take my liking or understanding to Koon’s body of work. Plato feels as though “The young should be taught to love beauty, first in one single beautiful human body, then be taught to love recognize shared features of beautiful bodies, and ultimately to learn that the beauty of “souls” is superior to the beauty of the bodies.”
Plato’s disinterest and opposition to the “Made in Heaven” series would be comprised of the simplistic view point that “It is because they are so enjoyable and alluring that they are potentially dangerous and must be subjected to critical scrutiny.” Plato also believes that it could have psychological effects on behavior… “If we enjoy the fictional imitations we experience, we may have an increased disposition to act in a similar fashion in daily living.”

Among the others presented in the chapter, is there one artist either or both philosophers would have better affinity toward than Koons? If not, why not? If so, how and why?

Between the other two artists we covered in the chapter I would have to say Plato would have a better affinity toward Rockman. Take Rockman’s “Manifest Destiny” …to me it shows the dark destructive side to life, what mother nature could do to us…and that in it of itself makes me appreciate the “beautiful” things I have in life. So, in conjunction Plato’s view on beauty, in it that we should hold the inner beauty at higher standard than the superficial beauty of the outside rings a remarkable resemblance to the beauty of the soul of the earth not the destructive nature of the beast…

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