Monday, November 12, 2007

Fallacy # 5: Works of Art Make No Truth Claims

This final fallacy is an obvious one for our postmodern culture to have turned to. This theory says that art is purely an aesthetic expression. "Art for Art's sake" goes the expression. Movie producers and directors make these claims as do painters and poets. The failure of this claim, however, is that it fails to consider that artists do not create without purpose, and purpose equals intended meaning.

Leland Ryken gives the example of words on the side of a cliff. If you were driving down the highway and saw words in the side of a cliff what would you think? You'd probably wonder what they were doing there. What if you found out they were caused by erosion? Well then you wouldn't probably wonder what they meant anymore, because, after all, erosion does not create with purpose. Artists, however do. And every time we view art, or listen to art, or read art, we believe that the artist has created with meaning. Even Jackson Pollock and Gertrude Stein created with purpose.

Since the subject of art is the expression of the human experience there is inherent within ever piece judgments, values, and perceptions of the world. Each artist has a worldview. Jay Z's worldview is different than Maya Angelou's but each has one that comes forth and makes truth claims in their various pieces of art.

To suggest that art has no truth claims is to suggest that, in fact, the art is meaningless (and even this may be an expression of meaning, see Gauguin).

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Blogger noneuclidean said...

You're right on with this. Even the act of making "Art" implies various truths:
1. Humans are capable of communicating ideas (even if it is the idea that human communication is inadequate).
2. To create is better than to not create (echoing God's own Creation Act).
3. There are experiences, events, and ideas in life that are so meaningful that it is worth the incredible time and effort required to communicate them in art.

8:38 PM  

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