ISBN : 9780190863357
Featured in the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal
There is no end of talk and of wondering about 'art' and 'the arts.' This book examines a number of questions about the arts (broadly defined to include all of the arts). Some of these questions come from philosophy. Examples include:
· 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?
Others are "common sense" questions that laypersons wonder about. Examples include:
· 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?
This book examines puzzles about the arts wherever their provenance - as long as there is empirical research using the methods of social science (interviews, experimentation, data collection, statistical analysis) that can shed light on these questions. The examined research reveals how ordinary people think about these questions, and why they think the way they do - an inquiry referred to as intuitive aesthetics. The book shows how psychological research on the arts has shed light on and often offered surprising answers to such questions.
Table of Contents
1. Perennial Questions
2. Can This Be Art?
II. ART AND EMOTION
3. Wordless Sounds: Hearing Emotion in Music
4. Feeling Like Crying: Emotions in the Music Listener
5. Color and Form: Emotional Connotations of Visual Art
6. Emotions in the Art Museum: Why Don't We Feel Like Crying?
7. Drawn to Pain: The Paradoxical Enjoyment of Negative Emotion in Art
III. ART AND JUDGMENT
8. Is It Good-Or Just Familiar?
9. Too Easy to Be Good? The Effort Bias
10. Identical! What's Wrong with a Perfect Fake?
11. "But My Kid Could Have Done That!"
IV. WHAT ART DOES - AND DOES NOT - DO FOR US
12. Silver Bullets: Does Art Make Us Smarter?
13. The Lives of Others: Fiction and Empathy
14. Does Making Art Improve Well-Being?
V. MAKING ART
15. Who Makes Art and Why?
16. How Art Works
"This shift from philosophical analysis to a robust empirical approach of experiment and observation is the starting point of this book, which is a fascinating account of social scientists' investigations of art through interviews, experiments, data collection, and statistical analysis. Winner touches on a variety of topics ranging from music and emotion, fiction and empathy, the Mozart effect, and perfect fakes and forgeries, to Hockney's theory of optical aids, effort bias, artistic prodigies, deliberate practice and talent, and our curious enjoyment of negative emotions. Recommended for all readers." - Choice
"In this thoughtful, judicious, and fascinating book, you'll find our best current answers to all the questions that thinking people ask about art, including what it is, what makes it great, whether it is universal, why we make and enjoy it, and whether it is good for us. How Art Works will be the place to look for knowledge on how art works for years to come. " - Steven Pinker, Johnstone Professor of Psychology, Harvard University, and author of How the Mind Works and Enlightenment Now
"Never have the links between the world of the arts and the sciences of the mind been so carefully and fruitfully drawn as they are in Winner's new book. " - David Olson, University Professor Emeritus, University of Toronto