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Art, Design, Craft, Beauty and All Those Things…-bookcover

By: Donald Richardson

Art, Design, Craft, Beauty and All Those Things…

Pages: 390 Ratings:
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Responding to many recent calls for redress and restitution, Richardson summarises the historical and current situation and attributes its problematics to the fact that theorists and historians have taken the concept art as a generic that includes both design and craft – which are actually and validly distinguishable from art by application of the concept function/al ­– or else ignored the two entirely. Considering the concept function/al, he maintains, calls into question the view that the three may be sub-classes of the one class: whereas in a work of art, typically there is a resolution of the tension between form and content, in works of design and craft the resolution is between form and function. How this recognition can clarify the issue informs the entire book.

The book’s other major thesis is the realisation that aesthetic values are inherently human and that, therefore, they apply not only to art but to life in general. Far from being frivolous or a mere ‘emotion’, the aesthetic is a sense of equivalent psychic status to sight and hearing ­and, like them, is employed at almost every moment of our daily lives – which fact grounds art, design and craft deeply in human life. This is reflected in the universal use of the human form (including the exhibition of sexual characteristics) in art.

The eternal conflict between making art and making a living from making art is examined and contrasted to the rarely-recognised, but positive, role of design in planning and industry.

Richardson also critiques common theories of representation and composition, including ‘creativity’, Albertian perspective and scientific and geometric theories of beauty and composition; also the relevance of the camera and the computer in the field.

Donald Richardson OAM, a senior practicing artist and retired long-term educator in art, design and art history, has never been satisfied by historic writing in the field. In this book, he summarises and deconstructs key documents and marshals the clamouring desperation of many for redress and restitution. In the process, he proposes innovations for education and practice (in particular relating to perspective rendering and form).

More generally, he proposes that the aesthetic be recognised as a sense of universal human relevance and value.

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