Copyright c 1975 Volunteers in Asia

1. Who are the artists and musicians? Are they professionals? What is their social status? Is it more likely for one of the sexes or a particular social or economic class to become an artist or musician? What are the important positions, the leadership roles? What is the relation of the artist or musician to others? How is the artist or musician trained? Are art and music taught in the public schools? Do parents instruct their children? What are some of the attitudes of the artist or musician towards his or her work?

2. How do the artist and the musician create? What kind of planning goes into the work? Are models (the work of accepted masters) followed, or does the artist/musician strive for originality? Relate this to art and the society as a whole.

3. What are the basic purposes of art and music in this culture?

  1. Is accurate representation of the world a purpose? Is the artist an impartial chronicler of physical reality? Is a personal interpretation of reality sought? Does the artist comment on reality? Does he seek to add a part of his own insight into the work? Is convention sought? Does the artist accept certain basic standards of representation that are traditional? If so, what is this tradition, how did it evolve, what changes has it undergone, and how does it derive its justification? Within the tradition, how does an individual artist express his individuality?

  2. Is the creation of beauty, both in the content of the work and in the physical form a purpose? If this is so, discuss the basic components of beauty in this art.

  3. Is the expression of inward experience the purpose? If so, is it through dramatic representation of situations which arouse feelings? Is it through manipulation of light, color, form, or other technical factors, while still representing something of reality? Is it through non-representational forms of light, color, and form? Is it through choice of subject matter?

  4. Does the art or music of this culture have religious purposes?

  5. Does the art or music of this culture have political purposes?

4. Who is the art and music intended for (e.g. the artists themselves, the general public, an intellectual or artistic elite)? Who appreciates the art and music? What are the reactions inspired or provoked?

5. Who judges what is good and what criteria are used? Are art and music relative only to personal taste? Are they relative to cultural tastes, that is, does the quality of the work depend on the way it interprets the aims and needs of the specific culture? Are they relative to "eternal laws" and if so, who has established these "laws"? Are they judged by their functionality, their human usefulness? Are they judged by their concern with basic human problems and needs? Must they be profound to be "good"? Are they judged by how well they communicate their messages?

6. What has been the history or development of art and music in this culture? Consider a particular medium or school of art or music. Consider art and music as a whole and the influences of the various media and schools on each other.

7. What have been and continue to be the external influences on art and music?

  1. How does the cultural environment affect art and music? Are the arts socially stratified?

  2. How does the physical environment affect art and music?

  3. What is the role of the government in promoting or restricting art and music? How are they affected by the economic system?

  4. How do religions influence the art and music of this culture?

  5. What political, social, cultural, and religious changes in history have provoked changes in the art and music? What changes in art have provoked changes in other areas?

  6. How have other cultures affected the art and music of this culture? What have been the reverse effects?

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