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Formalism. Object-centered theory Focus only on the work itself Do not focus on the artist of the observer/audience. What is formalism?. Formal properties are the only things that matter about art Essence of art Definition of art Evaluation of art What are formal properties ?

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formalism
Formalism
  • Object-centered theory
  • Focus only on the work itself
  • Do not focus on the artist of the observer/audience
what is formalism
What is formalism?
  • Formal properties are the only things that matter about art
    • Essence of art
    • Definition of art
    • Evaluation of art
  • What are formal properties?
    • Shape, color, harmony, rhythm, angles, rhyme
    • NOT representation, expression, symbolism
    • NOT moral, religious, or political value
arguments supporting formalism
Arguments supporting formalism
  • What is distinctive about art objects as opposed to ordinary objects?
  • What makes art special or distinctive as a cultural phenomenon?
  • Are there examples that can be understood best in formalist terms?

Does it explain what we want to understand about art?

arguments against formalism
Arguments against formalism
  • Does it account for the things about art that make it distinctive or special?
  • Are there examples that cannot be understood best in formalist terms, viz., counter-examples?

Does it explain what we want to understand about art?

testing formalism do we see the same object
Testing Formalism: Do we see the same object?
  • Do we describe the same properties in the object? Is there one “correct” description?
  • Does our age or veterans’ status or education lead us to see something different?
  • Does our race or gender lead us to see something different?
testing formalism can we appreciate the object fully by focusing only on formal properties
Testing formalism: Can we appreciate the object fully by focusing only on formal properties?
  • Is information about the artist significant in understanding and appreciating the work?
  • Is information about the moral, religious, political value significant in understanding and appreciating the work?
  • Is the expression, symbolism, or representation significant?