Archive for October 1st, 2014

Jerome Bruner On Knowing CoverToday, October 1, is the 99th birthday of groundbreaking psychologist Jerome Bruner, who, by the way, still teaches at NYU.  To be honest, I don’t know a lot about Bruner or his work.  But on the BrainPickings site today, Maria Popova wrote a wonderful essay about one of Bruner’s articles, Art As a Mode of Knowing, from his 1962 book, On Knowing: Essays For the Left Hand.  In it she describes how : Bruner considers the unique language of art and how it complements that of science. He outlines the four psychological aspects of the art experience — connectedness, which deals with the reward of grasping the essential ideas a work of art communicates; effort, which we exert to draw meaning from the ambiguity of art; conversion of impulse, which makes an object of beauty move us; and generality, which deals with the universal aspects of what we find beautiful and moving.

It’s a great article, one that I highly recommend for anyone who has wondered about what defines the difference between art and decoration and why we are moved by some works and left emotionally unsatisfied before others.  I know that I am often perplexed by work that I see that is incredibly crafted and beautiful to look at yet doesn’t raise any response from within me.  What is it that makes this beautiful thing so cool and vacant?  Is it art or is it just a wonderful decorative piece?  Popova’s article sheds some light on Bruner’s insights into this matter and it rings true for me.

Happy birthday, Professor Bruner, and thank you for these wonderful observations.

Click here to see the article.

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