By James O. Young
Now, for the 1st time, a thinker undertakes a scientific research of the ethical and aesthetic concerns to which cultural appropriation provides upward thrust. Cultural appropriation is a pervasive function of the modern global (the Parthenon Marbles stay in London; white musicians from Bix Beiderbeck to Eric Clapton have appropriated musical kinds from African-American culture)Young deals the 1st systematic philosophical research of the ethical and aesthetic concerns to which cultural appropriation provides riseTackles head at the thorny matters bobbing up from the conflict and integration of cultures and their artifactsQuestions thought of contain: “Can cultural appropriation lead to the creation of aesthetically profitable works of art?” and “Is cultural appropriation within the arts morally objectionable?”Part of the extremely popular New instructions in Aesthetics sequence
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Extra resources for Cultural Appropriation and the Arts (New Directions in Aesthetics)
Ray Eldridge, the distinguished African-American jazz trumpeter, was an adherent of the cultural experience argument. He once bet Leonard Feather, the music critic, that he could reliably tell the difference between jazz performances by AfricanAmericans and non-African-Americans. If anyone could tell the difference, Eldridge could. Widely regarded as the greatest trumpet soloist of his time, Eldridge’s credentials were impeccable. Put to the test, he failed 38 The Aesthetics of Cultural Appropriation miserably.
Potentially both interpretive and creative artists suffer from a handicap. For example, both a Westerner who performs Beijing opera and a Chinese who paints landscapes in the style of Monet could suffer from an aesthetic handicap. I will reach the conclusion that the works of artists who appropriate content or who represent other cultures in their works do not necessarily suffer from aesthetic flaws. On the contrary, artists who engage in cultural appropriation may produce works of considerable aesthetic merit.
If certain acts of appropriation are an affront to their culture, we may say that the actions are profoundly offensive. An act of cultural appropriation could be offensive for a variety of reasons. It might be sacrilegious. The manner in which outsiders have used materials may be inappropriate by the standards of insiders. For example, symbols with religious significance might be used disrespectfully. Andres Serrano’s Piss Christ (1989), a photograph of a crucifix immersed in the artist’s urine, is offensive in this way.
Cultural Appropriation and the Arts (New Directions in Aesthetics) by James O. Young