How Tim Jenison, a non-artist, spent nearly a decade attempting to re-create Johannes Vermeers The Music Lesson using a contraption some claim allowed the artist to create uncannily real paintings.
[The subject of a new documentary by Magicians Penn & Teller]
“One of the things I learned about the world of art (in making the documentary),” Teller says, “is there are people who really want to believe in magic, that artists are supernatural beings—there was some guy who could walk up and do that. But art is work like anything else—concentration, physical pain. Part of the subject of this movie is that a great work of art should seem to have magically sprung like a miracle on the wall. But to get that miracle is an enormous, aggravating pain.” To see Vermeer as “a god” makes him “a discouraging bore,” Teller went on. But if you think of him as a genius artist and an inventor, he becomes a hero: “Now he can inspire.”
"A hypothesis is clear, desirable and positive, but is believed by no one but the person who created it. Experimental findings, on the other hand, are messy, inexact things which are already believed by everyone except the person who did the work. "
"I can think of no criteria of truth in science that do not apply with equal force to art. Art has its language of symbols whilst science has a language of signs, but a symbolic language also has its strict system of rules, based on convention. The creative imagination has a logic no less strict than the logic of scientific reasoning, and the same ideal of clarity is held by both activities. Further, there is no sense in which verifiability is a necessary constituent of scientific method in which it is not also a necessary constituent of artistic creation. Great works of art do not survive through the centuries as expressions of desire or as valuations of behaviour. They state such universal truths as the artist is capable of creating; they search for no certainty and express no ideal. They are constructions, concretely physical. Emotions may be inserted into them: they may be clothed in appearances of good and evil, of tragedy and joy; but these expressive functions are not the verifiable content of the work of art. What is verifiable is a perceptible form which communicates a notion of being, a man-made piece of reality. - Abraham Flexner"
on the logic of art, from The Usefullness of Useless Knowledge(1939) by Abraham Flexner