New Architecture and City Planning: A Symposium

By Paul Zucker | Go to book overview

THE CITY AS A WORK OF ART

By GEORGE BOAS

The use of the term "work of art" in the title of this paper requires some explanation. Assuming that there is a certain sense in discussing what is called the "real" meaning of terms, an assumption which is of dubious value, let me say at the outset that I am not attempting to tell anyone what the "real" meaning of the word "art" is. I am simply setting down on paper the way I shall use the word in this discussion. If others care to use it differently, and they will, they are welcome to their usage.

I am using the term to differentiate between things which men do and make unconsciously, without purpose, often involuntarily, and the things which they make and do after deliberation and planning. In this sense of the word, the plans of an architect are deliberate; the ejaculations of a beast or the crooning of a child are not deliberate. When an architect's plans are carried out, one has a work of art, as this paper uses the term; when the results of automatic writing are published, one does not have a work of art.

Thus to make a work of art in the sense of this paper, certain prerequisites are necessary. First, one must have as clear an idea as is humanly possible of what one is planning for. Is the object in which the artistry will terminate to exist solely for the pleasure of its owners, for the pleasure of others to look at; is it an instrument for the enrichment of a merchant who may be able to sell it;

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