Old Greeks New Art


How do you think Plato and Aristotle might react to Koon’s body of work? Would they differ in their opinions? If not, why not? If so, how and why?

I believe that Plato would be pleased with Koon’s body of work considering the fact that kitsch denies all that is terrible in the world. Moving past the fact that Plato did not accept art, if he were to accept art he would like his work because it wouldn’t confuse the Greek people and cause them to act imperfectly. Plato wants people to reach for perfection, and kitsch is the starting point of making attempts only toward perfection and nothing else. Plato believed that people need to be guided how to act in order to try and gain a level of perfection. Kitsch denies the problems of the world and aims to make its audience feel the same way.

Aristotle on the other hand would not like Koon’s work because it does not indulge in the beauty of the world. Kitsch is not beautiful; it is only superficially deep, whereas Aristotle is concerned in finding the deeper beauty in the world. Koon’s work is purely kitsch and does not go beneath the surface to explore and analyze beauty. Aristotle is more concerned with artists that will educate its viewers or take them on an experience. Whether this experience is something they have never done, but can witness it through an image or teach the viewer something about the world, especially beauty. Koons does not actively try to stimulate his audience, he only make them believe in his image of perfection, which is not what Aristotle would find worthy.

Among the others presented in the chapter, is there one artist either or both philosophers would have better affinity toward than Koon’s? If not, why not? If so, how and why?

Alexis Rockman would be an artist that Aristotle would have better affinity towards. Alexis Rockman gives his audience a glimpse into what possibilities our future could hold if certain actions were taken. Aristotle finds beauty in works of art that allow the audience to live through a situation with the imagery from a painting. Rockman stimulates his viewers by trying to show his point of view on a certain subject. This is something that Aristotle believed was important because different depictions of ideas are valuable to society. Rockman’s art style is unique and has its own special qualities that make it beautiful.

Plato would not have an affinity towards any other artists in this chapter other than Koons. Andres Serrano would not be an artist that Plato would approve of due to his observations of the average human subject. Plato is only concerned with the perfection of beauty that we cannot yet reach that is otherworldly. Plato would also react poorly to Alexis Rockman due to the fact that he is not concerned with beauty or perfection. Rockman wants to make a point to his audience and open up lines of discussion surrounding the content.

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1 Comment

  1. Despite that my position differs in almost every point you make, I can see where how you would suppose how Plato and Aristotle would view the works of the artists mentioned. The only thing I have a hard time reconciling is your point that Plato would approve of the use of kitsch to guide society to perfection. I think that its denial of the world’s problems would detract from Plato’s utopia because kitsch would fail to educate the populous of the problems with society, an education that would be necessary for people to want to change for the better.

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