^^^^@Woodduck: I agree with the bulk of your post #125 above, but as usual with our posts, we fail to fully understand one another. Minor example: how to interpret your statement; "If your first sentence is true then we have no debate". Is this A) that we are in perfect agreement, or B) that we cannot debate these issues; that I have somehow blocked the possibility of debate. An ambiguity. And C) I think you have yet to grasp the central point that I have attempted to have others understand--that art is entirely a human construct and has no meaning or existence in the external world--as art--unless there is human intervention to energize, vitalize, actualize it. In a sense, my position is a variant of Bishop Berkeley's curious thesis that to be is to be perceived in the one instance where his notion is correct. Our friend Waehnen, who is responsible for this whole thread by bringing out our easy weakness in discussing again this topic for the 47th time, tells me that a Bach fugue exists as a physical object, touting this as a refutation of my position of pure subjectivity of art. It would be folly to deny that said fugue exists as writing on a piece of paper, or as sound waves when rendered as such, or that a Bernini statue exists. But with no one to perceive it as such, as art, it has no existence as art. it is a variant of the well-worn notion that if a tree falls in the forest and there is no entity to hear it, does it make a noise?
As I indicated, all of your other points are true and good--the useful role of experts, the availability of a collective, your remarks about who gets to program, what gets programmed, who can afford,etc.--all well and good. But, again, this does not deal with the issue at hand, to my understanding.
I extract the following as your attempt to clarify "the central point [you] have attempted to have others understand":
"art is entirely a human construct and has no meaning or existence in the external world--as art--unless there is human intervention to energize, vitalize, actualize it."
I'm afraid that statement is not as clarifying as you may think it is. In fact I think it's terribly ambiguous. Art has no existence in the external world? What is filling the walls of museums and the shelves of libraries? Into what world did art emerge, if not the external one, when a painter or writer put his ideas onto canvas or paper? What do you mean by "as art"? By "intervention"? By "energize," "vitalize," "actualize"?
I have to assume that all of that means something more than "if a tree falls in the forest", etc. As far as that's concerned, I can't speak for anyone else here, but I'm sure I've never argued that music is communicating any meaning when it isn't audible, with no one to hear it. That seems so obvious, so epistemically elementary, as to be not worth mentioning, much less debating. I'm sure I've never debated it, and if you've imagined that I have I'd be curious to have my own statements to that effect read back to me. But it does not follow that art has no meaning except during the process of being heard or viewed. Nor does it follow that all worthwhile judgments about the meaning and quality of a piece of music are private, or that all private judgments about a painting or poem represent equally valid understandings of it. Moreover, it does not follow that there are no controlling factors inherent in the artwork and in the human mind that guide and place limits on reasonable interpretation. An Ingres portrait and a Rembrandt portrait cannot legitimately mean the same thing, no matter how drunk or insane the "sovereign individual" looking at them. Rembrandt and Ingres were very different individuals who have both mastered their craft sufficiently to make their differences abundantly clear, and their works contain a wealth of information about who the artists are and what they're trying to communicate. Our personal, individual responses to their work, however eccentric or bizarre, may matter more to us than what anyone else can tell us about them, but those paintings contain what they contain and not something other, and they are sure as hell "in the external world as art," whether or not we choose to "intervene" and "energize," "vitalize," or "actualize" them.
Our appreciation and enjoyment of art is only the final step in a sequence that began in the mind of the artist, and between his mind and ours stands the work - "as art," in the external world - full of implicit meanings bound up in words, sounds, colors, and ready to divulge those meanings to anyone willing and able to look for them. Are many of those meanings ambiguous, open-ended, suggested rather than defined? Of course. A work of art isn't a dissertaion or a sermon. We are expected to contribute. But we do so best when we're curious and humble, and not infatuated with our sovereign individuality.
It is not so much we who energize, vitalize and actualize art, as art that energizes, vitalizes and actualizes us, in ways we could never dream of. That's what art is for.