Late Night Thoughts

A Late Night Thought on Understanding Art

As most of us know, art need not be intellectually understood to be great art.  But why is that?

I would suggest it’s as simple as the fact you do not need to intellectually understand an experience — any experience — for the experience to in some way large or small change you.

7 thoughts on “A Late Night Thought on Understanding Art”

  1. Because, as Howard Gardner has pointed out, there are many different types of intelligence and intellectual is only one of them. Daniel Goleman and others have researched and written about emotional intelligence which, say, brilliant individuals with Asperger’s disorder lack. For me, emotional intelligence is one of the key ingredients for my personal art appreciation. This is different from person to person. For someone with Asperger’s, say, Temple Grandin, it might be the beauty of symmetry, for example.


  2. How about this: If art is intellectually understood, it is not great art, art being about something deeper and more fundamental.

    Obviously, my statement is no better or worse than any other statement about “art.” If there is some general agreement about what is “art” and what is “not art,” I have never seen it.


  3. Art is wonderful because anyone and anything can be a part of it. It’s something that everyone can relate to through one way or another. You can love it, hate it or not have an opinion about it and still be a part of it. It’s all around us and the internet has now revolutionized how we see it!


  4. The intellect is really only one strand of the larger web we call our mind. And it’s very much possible to feel a resonance with something without the mediation of the intellect.


  5. Art ‘speaks’ to me on such different levels – visual pleasure or discomfort, visceral reaction, emotional hit, ideational stimulation, a kinesthetic touch taste smell sound motion response – often on several levels at once, which requires meditation to unravel for myself. The viewer, reader, listener brings his/her own baggage to the situation experienced, which is why reams of stuff have been written about the ‘art experience’. Some beholders find much, while others remain unmoved or little affected. In my opinion, great art allows entry on many levels. G


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