Week 2 – Classmate Response to Chris G. (Barker Chp. 2)

“In the end, I feel that it is perfectly legitimate to judge the quality of a piece of artwork or music, if the judge states upfront the standards and rules by which the judgment is made.”

Chris, although I agree with the aspect of how one would determine the quality of a piece of art under scrutiny or critique, I’m not sure how that would be culturally enacted. What would be the agreed upon rules or standards? They would then be a cultural norm, and perpetuate the Leavis-ism of the industrial revolution. If the standards or rules of judgement are individual, does that not become an individual with their opinion and nothing more? Further, would it not do more to reveal ones understanding of beauty, art or aesthetics over and above the inherent beauty or aesthetics in the judged work? We understand better, then, the one who does the critiquing (or ourselves perhaps if we are in agreement) than we do of the art. The quality of culture then, is called into question again by who determines it. The framework needs to be established by the someone/something in the culture, which then brings us back to the problems of the industrial revolution. It also points to the issues that Foucault brings up around knowledge/power: those that determine beauty also hold power and subjugate over those within its structure.


~ by Brian Shope on January 21, 2008.

2 Responses to “Week 2 – Classmate Response to Chris G. (Barker Chp. 2)”

  1. This is a good point! I think you are right that “judging” culture needs to be done from the inside… I wonder if the prophets of Israel functioned in this role. They were “cultural insiders” who denounced the culture of their day as having strayed and in need of transformation. Just a thought.
    Thanks for your interaction!

  2. Well said, Chris; I hadn’t thought of it from that angle. Perhaps then what you may be speaking to is a cultural norm that is established from a different host, in this case the Kingdom of God, that offers the lens or framework with which we would “judge” aspects of culture. In the case of art, I wonder what the framework would be for judging aesthetics? Perhaps it could be as simple (and complex) as “was YHWH glorified through my work of art?”

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