john_j_enright (john_j_enright) wrote,
john_j_enright
john_j_enright

Aesthetic points in Crosspoints

Yes, I'm still reading Crosspoints by Alexandra York. There is clearly some Rand influence, and even some Rand homage in the book. There is also, I think, some subtle critiquing... or perhaps probing would be the better way of saying it.

For instance, there's an interesting scene where an artist presents 2 kinds of work that he does. One kind is representational paintings, and the other kind is a beautiful three-dimensional abstract object. The characters, at least so far, do not quite call the second objects a sculpture.

Both of these characters seem to be honest people trying to understand what they are looking at.

Speaking of the abstract piece, the viewer comments that piece is beautiful. "...the harmony of the design and the way it flows - so I suppose something that's primarily pleasing to the senses can be valid in the same way all good design and decor is valid."

The artist, in reply, points out that she is now veering into an aesthetic theory of good and bad design, and concludes "Not so simple, is it?"

How does this relate back to Objectivist aesthetics? Well, Objectivist aesthetics tends to slam abstract sculpture. But York stands back here, doesn't call it sculpture, and just looks at a piece which is beautiful, albeit not as expressive as a sculpture of a human figure. So, in a sense, she is holding up a hand and saying "Not so fast. Considered by itself, this thing is pretty, and is somehow a fit subject for aesthetics. I'm not saying it's superior to figurative sculpture. It's not. But it's something with aesthetic qualities."

At least, I THINK Ms. York is saying something like that. I'm still not through the book. Maybe she will pull a switch on me, but I don't think so. And if she IS saying what I think she is... well, I agree with her.

Rand herself referred to the aesthetic qualities of decorative fabrics and so forth. This raises a question within the context of her aesthetics, since she seems to treat aesthetics as the branch of philosophy that studies art.

Rand doesn't consider decorative fabrics art. So, how can non-art, which is NOT studied by aesthetics, nonetheless have aesthetic qualities? Perhaps she intends a broader meaning of the word "aesthetic." What would that broader meaning be, exactly?

Rhyme of the day:

Crosspoints, by Alexandra York
Starts in Greece, but moves to New York.

By the way, there is a name for rhyming a sound with itself. It's called "rime riche" and you can read about it here:
http://www.britannica.com/eb/article?eu=137954

I hardly ever do it, but I couldn't help it today.
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