In his work on aesthetics, John Dewey provocatively (and enigmatically) called art the “most universal and freest form of communication,” and tied his reading of aesthetic experience to such an employment. I will explore how art, a seemingly obscure and indirect means of communication, can be used as the most effective and moving means of communication in certain circumstances. Dewey’s theory of art will be shown to hold that art can be purposively employed to communicatively evoke a certain experience through an auditor’s experience of an art object. Such a use is shown to be an extension of Dewey’s conceptions of scientific method and the role of experience in criticism and communication, and is discussed in light of examples drawn from contemporary film, sculpture, and classical Japanese poetry.

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