Left: Michael Shermer (The Skeptic Society), Right: Denis Dutton
Tonight's lecture: Denis Dutton /// The Art Instinct: Beauty, Pleasure, and Human Evolution
Arts + Anthropology.
Dutton, boasting a background in sociology and anthropology, related Darwin's principals to art practice and it's evolution while Shermer, the man behind The Skeptic Society/magazine, insightfully proposed inquiries to Dutton about progression in art, like how and why the landscape is desirable, exploration versus asthetical urge, and many other points that hit buttons with me (like when Shermer couldn't get off the notion that Koons' vacuum cleaners in plexi could be art, or interesting, for that matter). It was seriously an interesting sight to see two very skilled, intelligent academic/pseudo-scientists talk about the constraints of art and say "I'd like some answers" or "[Koons] isn't surprising" or [Koons) won't be remembered 500 years from now and "shouldn't be". I actually would like to have seen Koons and Hirst perform a lecture on Darwin's principals so as to have an accurate rebuttal! The staged conversation went on to discuss how humans domesticated themselves and then a bit in the end about how monkeys who are given paint don't look at their artwork once the tools are taken away from them, so therefore they haven't created art, or something like that. Oh, sorta-scientists!
All in all, a great lecture - I would love to see more outside fields talk about art within the confines of their own language. Very insightful and thought provoking, although I am not sure I will be reading the book.