Anselmo-b raised all kinds of interesting issues in his comments in response to my "Aesthetic Realism" post (March 11). Since we can't see the threads well in this blog, I'll make a new post. He said that with math, the proof might be analogous to a work of art, but the theorem itself is truly impersonal -- not in the way that I was talking about with other works of art, which way amounts, I think to the work being a perfect version of itself, as my friend Howard would say, but instead literally: the theorem, he says, would be exactly the same no matter who thought of it, or how they went about showing that it has to be so.
I don't know enough about math to be able to comment, but it's interesting and I wish I did. A question that it raises for me is: are we sure that theorem and proof are as separable in practice as they are analytically? I mean, how would we want to characterize the activity of working on a problem? Is it like doing aesthetic work in some other medium? It seems to me that it might be. But I don't know.
Anselmo, can you say more about the evil art question? I spent some time recently wondering about art that is ugly (viz., wondering if there is such a thing, and if so what makes it be art still), a question that I'd got to by wondering why raunchy writing about sex is so often bad writing, and if it's in the nature of the case that it would have to be. I decided no, that you could have ugly art, be it writing or visual. But are you asking something different? Say more. Others too.