“Without emotion there may be craftsmanship, but not art…”


“Without emotion there may be craftsmanship, but not art…” This.  This makes all of the sense in the world, but is baffling all at the same time.  When I read Dewey’s words, obsessing over what art is comprised of, this line made his thoughts clear.  A well thought out project; a carefully designed building is not necessarily art – it is craftsmanship.  When that craftsmanship is paired with emotion and a deep understanding and draw to the project, then it is art.  However, is it art if it lacks craftsmanship?  Is emotion and passion in a project enough to constitute something as artful when it may not be well crafted?  Is a sloppy finger painting art?  Sure, it is emotion, but there is no craftsmanship; there is only paint splattered on the paper.

However, this seems to be a polarizing idea within myself.  Why can not pure emotional exodus contribute to great art?  Why is it necessary for the artist to toil away in suffering to contribute to the ether a product of his suffering which is ill fated to be recognized after his death?  I have many times created out of passion and happiness – no torture.  Okay sure, Dewey wrote this in the 1930s so perhaps my perceived stubbornness within his writing is a result of the time warp between then and now?

Now, Brun…what to say about Brun.  I honestly feel as though I need a crash course in computer programming to fully understand Brun.  What I did gather though is his resistance to electronically composed music?  Again, I am going to attribute this resistance to the fact that this piece was written in 1973.  However, computer assisted music composition has come so far from Pac-Man esque sounds and now incorporates more emotion that ever before.  The computer is just another tool – like a piano or a guitar.  It has different cords, more varied and can transform the sound of tapping keys into a bass line so dense you’ll drop.

I suppose what I’m trying to say is that I really didn’t find these articles to be relevant to our modern world.  Perhaps when they were written? But not now. For sure not now.  These two men held views that aesthetic value comes from extreme struggle, work and effort.  However, my belief is if that emotion is involved, there is automatically effort.  Art is a lifetime of effort, compacted by every experience and secreted into something representative of a particular stance in the universe.  It is not about understanding what the meaning behind the art is, but instead understanding that there is meaning behind the art.  It has always been favorable to me when viewing art to destroy my notions about the world to fully connect with the piece.



  1. I agree with both of you when it comes to the relevance of these articles, particularly the Brun one – I do not see the point of reading a non-history-related theory piece about computers in relation to music that was written in 1973, a time when most computer generated digital music had not even been developed yet. And honestly I read it twice and still have no idea what he is talking about or trying to argue.

    I also do not get why computer generated music is given such a bad name by so called true musicians. Like you said, it is a tool, or even an instrument.


  2. I actually love your tittle, btw. And it does make sense when you actually think about it. However, the relationship between craftsmanship and art is quite complex because they depend on each other but at the same time they don’t. I agree when he said that art is expressed through the experience of another person encountering art but I also believe it’s a combination of things that make this experience a valuable one.


  3. As you’ve said that you’ve created out of “passion and happiness,” I have also created simply out of the belief that what results may be beautiful. I wish I had read the final readings to see if they provided a deeper articulation of aesthetics or beauty, which is rather unquantifiable in my opinion. I am also at a kind of impasse in Dewey’s mutually exclusive understanding of art and craftsmanship. Why can’t something be art if it is beautiful but not “meaningful?”


  4. I think it’s important that you point out how art doesn’t have to come from suffering, and that the viewer of a piece of art doesn’t have to know anything about what went on behind a piece of art. That when you view a piece of art, you try to just experience, not over analyze it. My goal for the break is to take your advice. I’m going to go to a museum and just experience what has been created. Thanks so much for the inspiration!


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