Virginia Commonwealth University

VCU Honors College


Course information

Art and Language (one word at a time)
Instructor: Adair-Luke, Tom

HONR 398 701
Time: F 9-11:50

What can be said at all can be said clearly, and what we cannot talk about we must pass over in silence. Ludwig Wittgenstein, Tractatus Logico Philosophicus, This course will examine the nature of critiquing art, via ‘Art-Speak;’ the "language-game" (coined by Wittgenstein) commonly used, which does not address art, but simply offers a way of providing a vague notion of visual construction. Perhaps there are subtle differences within a given study, yet the case remains that a particular "language-game" governs the field, which becomes a crucial problem, as it is naturally exclusive. It is unknowingly guarded by the habitual use of its practitioners and unless examined, is thus secured in place. A wealth of clear thought is available: by careful observation, language can be accessed at a deeper, purer level, and in the end, the student becomes more adept at examining conditions in whatever field, offering personal, genuine insights. Ultimately, a fervent and renewed respect for language is gained; as words are more [carefully] chosen, the student becomes more adept at speaking and writing.