Founded in February 2008, Common Sense is an independent gallery space in downtown Edmonton, operated by the artists of the North Edmonton Sculpture Workshop, with a mandate to give 100% of proceeds from all art sales directly to the exhibiting artists.

  • What is acceptable we call acceptable; what is unacceptable we call unacceptable. A road is made by people walking on it; things are so because they are called so. What makes them so? Making them so makes them so. What makes them not so? Making them not so makes them not so. Things all must have that which is so; things all must have that which is acceptable. There is nothing that is not so, nothing that is not acceptable.

    Things are defined by use. A work of art is a work of art because we call it a work of art, but it is not actually a work of art until we ask it to function as art so we can experience it as art. If we ask it to be something else—illustration, decoration, political message, cover for a hole in the wall, or whatever, it becomes, for the moment, something else.

    1. It is a stable feeling- our pleasure in the something pleasant does not of itself pass into satiety, like the pleasures of eating and drinking. We get tired, e.g., at a concert, but that is not that we have had too much of the music; it is that our body and mind strike work. The aesthetic want is not a perishable want, which ceases in proportion as it is gratified.

    2. It is a relevant feeling- I mean it is attached, annexed, to the quality of some object – to all its detail – I would say “relative” if the word were not so ambiguous. One might say it is a special feeling, or a concrete feeling. I may be pleased for all sorts of reasons when I see or hear something, e.g., when I hear the dinner bell, but that is not an aesthetic experience unless my feeling of pleasure is relevant, attached to the actual sound as I hear it. My feeling in its special quality is evoked by the special quality of the something of which it is the feeling, and in fact is one with it.

    3. It is a common feeling. You can appeal to others to share it, and its value is not diminished by being shared. If it is ever true that “there is no disputing about tastes,” this is certainly quite false of aesthetic pleasures. Nothing is more discussed, and nothing repays discussion better. There is nothing in which education is more necessary, or tells more. To like and dislike rightly is the goal of all culture worth the name.