The controversy about the public funding of the arts in the USA has sparked off afresh the debate about the nature and function of art. This book argues that art is an essential human activity, but that this has been obscured in modern society.
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All human societies throughout history have given a special place to the arts. Even nomadic peoples who own scarcely any material possessions embellish what they do own, decorate their bodies, and celebrate special occasions with music, song, and dance. A fundamentally human appetite or need is being expressed--and met--by artistic activity. As Ellen Dissanayake argues in this stimulating and intellectually far-ranging book, only by discovering the natural origins of this human need of art will we truly know what art is, what it means, and what its future might be. Describing visual display, poetic language, song and dance, music, and dramatic performance as ways by which humans have universally, necessarily, and immemorially shaped and enhanced the things they care about, Dissanayake shows that aesthetic perception is not something that we learn or acquire for its own sake but is inherent in the reconciliation of culture and nature that has marked our evolution as humans. What "artists" do is an intensification and exaggeration of what "ordinary people" do, naturally and with enjoyment--as is evident in premodern societies, where artmaking is universally practiced. Dissanayake insists that aesthetic experience cannot be properly understood apart from the psychobiology of sense, feeling, and cognition--the ways we spontaneously and commonly think and behave. If homo aestheticus seems unrecognizable in today's modern and postmodern societies, it is so because "art" has been falsely set apart from life, while the reductive imperatives of an acquisitive and efficiency-oriented culture require us to ignore or devalue the aesthetic part of our nature. Dissanayake's original and provocativeapproach will stimulate new thinking in the current controversies regarding multi-cultural curricula and the role of art in education. Her ideas also have relevance to contemporary art and social theory and will be of interest to all who care strongly about the arts and their place in human, and humane, life.Review:
"Dissanayake argues that art was central to human evolutionary adaptation and that the aesthetic faculty is a basic psychological component of every human being. In her view, art is intimately linked to the origins of religious practices and to ceremonies of birth, death, transition, and transcendence. Drawing on her years in Sri Lanka, Nigeria, and Papua New Guinea, she gives examples of painting, song, dance, and drama as behaviors that enable participants to grasp and reinforce what is important to their cognitive world."―Publishers Weekly
"Ellen Dissanayake's book is the most forceful rejoinder I've read so far to the trivializing pessimism of postmodernist art theory."―Kenneth Baker, San Francisco Chronicle
"Affirm[s] the idea that art is for life's sake, for the fulfillment of fundamental human needs, and for human survival. . . . She gives us a coherent rationale for funding broadly based arts programs."―Art Therapy
"Homo Aestheticus offers a wealth of original and critical thinking. It will inform and irritate specialist, student, and lay reader alike."―American Anthropologist
"Homo Aestheticus calls for a counterrevolution in our thinking about art. It is timely, provocative, and immensely valuable."―Philosophy and Literature
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Descripción Free Pr, 1992. Hardcover. Estado de conservación: New. Never used!. Nº de ref. de la librería P110029078857
Descripción Free Pr, 1992. Hardcover. Estado de conservación: New. Nº de ref. de la librería DADAX0029078857
Descripción Free Pr, 1992. Hardcover. Estado de conservación: New. book. Nº de ref. de la librería M0029078857