Wednesday, November 7, 2018

"How Art Works: A Psychological Exploration"

This book by Dr. Ellen Winner, Professor of Psychology at Boston College, was published earlier this week. According to the Amazon description, it addresses some questions from philosophy, such as:
· What makes something art? Can anything be art? 
· Do we experience "real" emotions from the arts? 
· Why do we seek out and even cherish sorrow and fear from art when we go out of our way to avoid these very emotions in real life?  
· How do we decide what is good art? Do aesthetic judgments have any objective truth value?  
· Why do we devalue fakes even if we -- indeed, even the experts--- can't tell them apart from originals?
· Does fiction enhance our empathy and understanding of others? Is art-making therapeutic? 
Other topics are questions that are more practical, like:
· Does learning to play music raise a child's IQ?
· Is modern art something my kid could do?  
· Is talent a matter of nature or nurture? 

I found out about this book last week, when the Wall Street Journal published an article by the author, Dr. Ellen Weiner, describing her research on whether we can distinguish paintings made by children from paintings made by professional abstract artists.  Sounds interesting? I've already put in a request at my local library for this new title.

1 comment:

Margaret said...

Hmmmm..."Can anything be art?" is a good question. Also, "Can anyone make art?" and sometimes -- the one I ask myself, "Is the ability to make art (as opposed to being creative) innate or learned or some of both?" Hmmmm...