The close relationship between art and ethics is framed by years of history as it has always influenced identity, family, community, relationships and the environment and contributes to the spiritual and ethical growth of society. This is demonstrated by the impact of public art, street art, video-art and theater. For this reason, art has often been labeled, censored and condemned, it can influence ethics through treatment with love and compassion as well as through the use of anger, hatred and violence. We may think that art means nothing outside of itself, but every theory of the relationship between art and ethics leads us to reflect on how it is lived, and it is inevitable that we ask questions about the responsibilities that the experimenter, the artist, and the popularizer have in promoting it.
Art is undeniably a communication channel and there are many questions to ask when you want to spread a message.
What kind of ethics is being promoted?
What ethical responsibilities do we have as artists?
What ethical responsibilities do we have towards art?
Can there be “ethical guidelines” for artistic communication?
Can art make a society more “ethical”?
Can art support or damage the development of ethical reasoning?
To date, how much has art ignored ethical issues?
And again, should artwork be judged from the ethical perspective of the artist or should it account for its impact universally?
Ethics, morals and aesthetics
Ethics is a branch of philosophy that investigates the sphere of practical human behavior, distinguishing it as good or bad, right or wrong, lawful or illegal, and is closely linked to morality and aesthetics. Morality is the set of values that distinguishes an individual or a community in the choice of their behavior. Ethics investigates and carries out a deep reflection seeking an explanation, while morality considers norms and values as facts.
Aesthetics is a branch of philosophy that investigates in particular the knowledge of beauty, natural or artistic, through the senses. The aesthetic experience today is becoming increasingly discussed and this also happens in the field of neuroscience and language. This phenomenon will most likely affect future artistic productions and the values associated with them.
Relationship between arts and ethics.
Considering how so many and such differing ethical issues can be raised in relation to the art world, let’s start by limiting ourselves to the contemporary and defining a specific area of interest in which it is realistic to ask such questions. Contemporary art is art produced since the second half of the twentieth century, a period during which artists have perceived an increasingly broad, open, global and multicultural space and can use a range and combination of opportunities, knowledge, ideas, concepts, subjects, materials and increasingly advanced techniques. Over time, more aware and free in producing their art, they have challenge traditional boundaries to create new emotions and new provocations. Contemporary art therefore stands out for being prevalently freedom of expression and impression, frequently foreign to the academic school, overturning the visual but also ethical and moral perspectives and the entire interpretative pillar. Contemporary art exhibitions are temporary art events lasting from one day to one year and can include performances, installations, private events and exhibits as a discussion ground. In contemporary art, anything can now become art when it is exhibited in the relevant exhibition space and is declared and recognized as art.
Many professions have a code of ethics but there is no code of ethics when it comes to art. Today art is considered a mode of expression so free that it is free to overcome any boundaries.
Ethics is generally seen as a set of guiding principles of good practices and this also happens in art. The ethics of art is about individual vision and a sense of moral responsibility towards the various groups that the art institution serves. The ethics of museums and exhibitions is primarily concerned with social responsiveness and honesty towards the various types of audiences served by museums. Exhibitions are one of the main terrains on which ethical battles are fought, when objects are put on display to the public some of the values associated with them create heated debates between the parties (museums, curators, citizens, indigenous peoples, governments or nations, collectors, dealers, etc). Exhibitions are very powerful representations that attract strong attention and as such are responsible for shaping the perception of the public. This puts artists in an unprecedented position of visibility by managing to influence our lives more than they have never done in the past, which gives them extraordinary responsibilities as role models for moral behavior by forcing them to reflect on their own behavior.
It’s true, art can open the mind to new points of view, ideas and beliefs, artists can have a huge impact as role models.
Artists can have a huge impact as role models.
If you’d like to answer these questions along with us, expand on the topic, ask more questions, reflect and discuss the most striking examples of art beyond borders, we will shortly publish the second part of the article and in the coming months we will try to clarify what the possible answers to these questions may be!