Articles of ‘John Valentine’

The Paradox of Expressionism

The Paradox of Expressionism

By John Valentine

For the purposes of this essay, I shall define expressionism-à la the Romantic movement of the 19th century-as the theory that one of the main functions of artworks, if not their very essence, is that they somehow ‘contain,’ ‘suggest,’ or ‘give voice to’ human feelings. I shall not be [...]



On the Trail of the Unicorn: Trying to Define Art

On the Trail of the Unicorn: Trying to Define Art

By John Valentine
There have been many attempts to capture and analyze this elusive animal in the history of philosophical thought. Plato and Aristotle, for example, took the route of necessary and sufficient conditions. That is, they assumed that for any item correctly to be designated as art it had to be 1) [...]



Art Critics as Postmodern Scouts

Art Critics as Postmodern Scouts

By John Valentine
Thesis: Modernist standards of objectivity in aesthetic evaluation are illusory. (Consider Lyotard’s “…incredulity with respect to all metanarratives.”) Art evaluation cannot logically proceed via the traditional deductive model.
Conclusion: The only relevant role for art critics today is not rational evaluation by way of reason-giving, but rather the function of the scout [...]



The Nets With Which We Try To Capture Art And Beauty

The Nets With Which We Try To Capture Art And Beauty

By John Valentine
Let me begin by confessing considerable agnosticism about the essence and/or definition of art and beauty. I shall not attempt to deal with that issue in this essay. Rather, I want to look at some of the nets or narrative stories about art and beauty experiences that some scientists and some [...]