Intersections of Art and Science to Create Aesthetic Perception: The Problem of Postmodernism

  • Alicia Craig Faxon
Part of the Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science book series (BSPS, volume 182)


This is the best description of aesthetic perception of which I am aware. For the scientist, it may be a frustrating one because it contains no measurable properties and no table of values. It is often equally frustrating to the artist, as there is no formula for reaching this perfect moment. However, standards, ideals, and judgment of formal properties have been enlisted over the centuries to try to approximate this vision. It is here that science and art most often intersect in an attempt to achieve this elusive ideal. The abstract expressionist artist Barnett Newman reportedly said that aesthetics was to artists as ornithology is to birds. This apocryphal remark implies that aesthetics is as irrelevant to artists as the study of bird habits is to birds. However, as ornithology studies what birds do, the domain of aesthetics includes what artists do. Newman implied that theory was not essential to artists; their making of art was the important activity. This is an orthodox abstract expressionist tenet, but in fact, theory and aesthetics were extremely important in the making of Newman’s own art. The exact placement and proportions of his vertical bands (or “zips”) on a saturated color field were crucial to the impact and perceptions of his paintings.


Aesthetic Experience Color Theory Aesthetic Judgment Aesthetic Perception Aesthetic Standard 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1996

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  • Alicia Craig Faxon

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