chapter  9
10 Pages

Aesthetics Dewey’s Finely Wrought Object

Dewey claims that eventhough the object is precisely what it was before the discovery, immediately upon such discovery, “it ceases to be a work of art” (48) and “belongs in a museum of natural history, not in a museum of art” (48). Why? His answer is that to qualify as art, a work must be “framed for enjoyed receptive perception” (48). Mere technique or virtuosity on the part of the artist is not enough, but neither is simply being perceived. What is important, says Dewey, is the relation between “doing and undergoing” (48), the connection between production and reception: “The doing or making is artistic when the perceived result is of such a nature that its qualities as perceived have controlled the question of production” (48). Furthermore, just as the artist must create with the perception always in mind, the beholder must perceive with the creation in mind.