First, I'd say that there's very little immune to time and relativism.
Again, I disagree. I'm not claiming that there is no effect, but neither time nor relativism can alter truly good art. That is yet another measure of what is good. Is it timeless? There is much good art that remains so.
As far as intent is concerned, suppose the artist intends to sculpt a horse but the result looks like a cow.
Then he is a poor artist and has produced poor art. You can claim that someone might find 'goodness' in what they see as a cow. That's valid. But I could write you a perfectly rational argument on the merits of the cross in the jar of urine too. And you'd be forced, by your logic to accept that as equally valid.
At that point his intent is meaningless.
No, the meaning is that he did not have the talent, skill or vision to artfully express his intent.
On the other hand the cow may be a very good cow, and if the artist is smart, he'll tell the world he intended to sculpt a cow.
This is problematic in several ways. First, if intent is meaningless the artist has no reason to tell what his intent was. Second, it is dishonest. And in reality, even in this fanciful example, no matter how cow-like the work is, that dishonesty will be apparent. And this is another marker of inferior art.
What I'm saying, again, is: the result is the result is the result, and once the result is there the artist's intent is out of the picture.
You keep saying that but you have not shown why it is true. There are ton's of examples of how it is not true. Particularly in literature but as much so in photography as well. You can choose
to ignore intent, but that does not mean it isn't there or that it does not matter. And it is similar to the examples you cite below in regard to someone missing the point of Faulkner or Goya. That viewer or reader has made a mistake
Once the artist has spoken he's either made his case or he hasn't
No, no , no. You cannot have it both ways. You say intent is meaningless. Any attempt at making a 'point' is artistic intent. By your view the artist cannot
make his case since his intent is, by your reckoning, irrelevant.
and whether or not he has [made his case] depends almost entirely on the viewer. The effectiveness of any work of art will vary from viewer to viewer
Yes. Art without the viewer, listener, reader is in a vacuum and is not art. But this does not absolve the viewer from making incorrect or unsupportable assessments of the art. There is a burden on the artist AND the viewer to get things right. If I read Faulkner and find that his theme is the pattern of global plate tectonics then I have got it wrong. That
is largely my point.
It all depends on your background.
Yes. But that approach all devolves into mere opinion. And we all know the value of mere opinion.
And yes, I think you can read Faulkner or look at a Goya and miss the point.
Thank you. Again, that is what I'm trying to say. Without intent there is no point.
Somebody who's background is rock probably is going to miss the point of Wagner or Chopin or Rachmaninoff. The reader who buys magazines at the grocery story checkout probably is going to put down Faulkner after the first paragraph and move on to cereal boxes.
Correct. They are getting it wrong. If intent does not matter you cannot say this. If every opinion from every varied background carries the same weigh and legitimacy then all of them are valid. Thus, my expose extolling the glories of a jar of pee with a cross in it or social commentary of Pollack's inebriated half psychotic dribbles is just as valid as the cereal box reader dismissing Faulkner as "too hard to read".
(I'm sure we're boring the OP and others to death. Maybe there is a better place for this discussion?)