Prof. Andy Hamilton 

THE ARTIST AS ENTERTAINER, THE ENTERTAINER AS ARTIST: AN ESSAY ON THE AESTHETICS OF ENTERTAINMENT

 

Prof. Andy Hamilton teaches Philosophy, and also History and Aesthetics of Jazz, at Durham University, UK. He was also until recently Adjunct Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Western Australia, Perth, and has taught music aesthetics at Hong Kong University. Andy specialises in aesthetics, political philosophy, philosophy of mind, J.S. Mill and Wittgenstein. At the moment he is working on monographs on Art and Entertainment, and on The Claim of Art.  He is also producing a book of conversations with improvising pianist Steve Beresford, and a volume on the aesthetics of improvisation.

 

THE ARTIST AS ENTERTAINER, THE ENTERTAINER AS ARTIST: AN ESSAY ON THE AESTHETICS OF ENTERTAINMENT

ABSTRACT
My thesis is that art and entertainment are not polar opposites, as modernist theory assumes, but rather, form a loosely connected conceptual system, the modern system of the arts and entertainment.  This article thus rests on, but develops, Kristeller's thesis of the modern system of the arts, proposing a continuum between two senses or forms of art, and two senses or forms of entertainment.  Entertainment existed before the modern era, but not as an overarching concept.  According to the aesthetics of entertainment developed here – a philosophical enquiry into its nature – entertainment aims to give pleasure or delight to an audience by amusing, exciting or otherwise diverting them, in a way that calls on them to make little or no concentrated effort.  Art, in contrast, is a practice involving skill, with a conscious aesthetic end, that richly rewards aesthetic attention.  Entertainment is consistently audience-centred in a way that art is not.  My stance is not elitist, but modestly aestheticist, not least in rejecting the modernist high art dismissal of entertainment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sarah Marsden

Research Events Co-ordinator, PPR

s.marsden@lancaster.ac.uk

 

Stephen Wilkinson

Director of Research, PPR

s.wilkinson2@lancaster.ac.uk

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