Download e-book for kindle: Adorno and Art: Aesthetic Theory Contra Critical Theory by J. Hellings

By J. Hellings

ISBN-10: 1137315717

ISBN-13: 9781137315717

ISBN-10: 1349345091

ISBN-13: 9781349345090

A finished, severe and available account of Theodor W. Adorno's materialist-dialectical aesthetic idea of paintings from a latest standpoint, this quantity indicates how Adorno's severe concept is awash with photographs crystallising ideas to this kind of measure that it has each cause to be defined as aesthetic.

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Example text

66 According to Bernstein, Adorno’s idea of art’s autonomy must be understood in this double sense: ‘both as art’s loss of a (direct) social purpose, and as art’s refusal of the kind of purposiveness that has come to dominate society’ (FA 208). The type of new art Adorno favoured refused to serve the narrow interests or satisfy the reigning needs of homo oeconomicus. 67 Fine art must be free art in a double sense: it must be free in the sense of not being a mercenary occupation and hence a kind of labor, whose magnitude can be judged, exacted, or paid for according to a determinate standard; but fine art must also be free in the sense that, though the mind is occupying itself, yet it feels satisfied and aroused (independently of any pay) without looking to some other purpose.

In this form of limp realism – so-called thesis-art, art exhibiting tendencies or art with avowed messages – art became increasingly co-opted, instrumentalised, a mouthpiece or vox populi, made to serve a cause (state socialism, the ideological commitments of makers or spectators) and – for Adorno at least – it thereby relinquished its claim to the status of art. Limp realism could not countenance spontaneous, involuntary and resistant, artistic construction and production – in and against so-called objective reality.

The model or image of messages in a bottle, as a form of splendid isolation, is neither an apolitical standpoint nor a strategy of hibernation. The prevalent view mistakes indirectness for inexistence and inertia. ‘For the intellectual,’ as for the artist and the aesthetician, ‘inviolable isolation is now the only way of showing some measure of solidarity. All collaboration, all the human worth of social mixing and participation, merely masks a tacit acceptance of inhumanity’ (MM 26). For, ‘[i]n the abstract conception of universal wrong,’ Adorno argued in Minima Excursus II – The Prevalence of a View 41 Moralia, ‘all concrete responsibility vanishes’ (MM 25).

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Adorno and Art: Aesthetic Theory Contra Critical Theory by J. Hellings


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