Presentation on theme: "Consuming Beauty Art retroactively annihilated that from which it emerged Theodore Adorno (1903-69)"— Presentation transcript:
Consuming Beauty Art retroactively annihilated that from which it emerged Theodore Adorno (1903-69)
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Adorno. Aesthetic Theory. 1970 Artworks detach themselves from the empirical world and bring forth another world, one opposed to the other world as if this other world too were an autonomous entity. Thus, however tragic they appear, artworks tend a priori towards affirmation. The clichés of arts reconciling glow enfolding the world are repugnant not only because they parody the emphatic concept of art with its bourgeois version and class it among those Sunday institutions that provide solace
Art acquires its specificity by separating itself from what it developed out of; its law of movement is its law of form In the face of the abnormality into which reality is developing, arts inescapable affirmative essence has become insufferable. Art must turn against itself, in opposition to its own concept, and thus become uncertain of itself right into its innermost fibre...By attacking what seemed to be its foundation throughout the whole of its tradition, art has been qualitatively transformed; it itself becomes qualitatively other.......doubtless artworks became artworks only by negating their origin. They are not to be called to account for the disgrace of their ancient dependency on magic, their servitude to kings and amusement, as if this were arts original sin, for art retroactively annihilated that from which it emerged...
Beauty, Art & Pleasure. The Renaissance. 18 th and 19 th C Michelangelo Buonarotti. The Pieta. 1505
Anton Raphael Mengs. Noli MeTangere. 1771 Modern artists ought to have formed their figures of the Saviour conformably to the ideas which the ancients entertained of the beauty of their heroes, and thus made him correspond to the prophetic declaration, which announces him as the most beautiful of the children of men Winckelmann (1717-68)
He (Mengs) arose, as it were, like a phoenix new-born, out of the ashes of the first Raphael to teach the world what beauty is contained in art Johann Joachim Winckelmann Author of the History of Ancient Art. 1764
Study the beautiful only on your knees Jean Auguste-Dominique Ingres (1780-67) It is in nature that one can find this beauty which constitutes the great object of painting Titian. Venus of Urbino. 1537 Ingres. Grande Odalisque.
Art as pleasure. The aesthetic and affirmative Turner. Lake Lucerne – Moonlight, the Righi in the distance. c1841
Elizabeth Prettejohn. Beauty and Art. 2005 By 1790, when Kant published his major discussion of aesthetics in The Critique of Judgement, the enquiry into the beautiful adumbrated in Baumgartens dissertation had become a recognised branch of philosophy. This was despite fierce opposition on the grounds, that placing a high value on sensory experience was mere hedonism, and thus irresponsible, or indeed, positively immoral
Kants narrative of the aesthetic To experience beauty in either nature or art, was to experience delight and pleasure This experience was subjective and disinterested Disinterested does not mean uninterested It means independent of knowledge which might affect that pure experience; moral or other types of judgement, prejudices or preferences, what kind of thing is being looked, whether an object is good or bad… Beauty is recognised as a feeling of delight resulting from the free play of the mind
Disinterested pleasure and the free play of the mind
The immorality of pleasure The free play of the mind the delight we feel, in the contemplation of the beautiful (arises from the feeling) that our mental faculties are in free play, they are not impeded or curtailed by the limits of our knowledge, the needs of our physical bodies, or the demands of our consciences Free play of the cognitive faculties- imagination and understanding – in harmony with each other, leading to pleasure A unity of the senses and cognition
What might result in a disinterested judgement of taste? Ornamentation or elements of charm or emotion may attract us to objects but…..require(s) us to abstract from these elements and reflect only on their form. To this extent Kant advances a formalist aesthetics. D Crawford. The Routledge Companion to Aesthetics.
Modern Art and Formalist Aesthetics Clive Bell (1881-1964) Roger Fry (1866-1934) Clement Greenberg (1909-94) Fry and Bell divorced the experience of art from other kinds of aesthetic experience
Clive Bell The Aesthetic Hypothesis 1914 The starting point for all systems of aesthetics must be the personal experience of a peculiar emotion. The objects that provoke this emotion, we call works of art. All sensitive people agree that there is a peculiar emotion provoked by works of art….What quality is shared by all objects that provoke our aesthetic emotions?...... Only one answer seems possible – significant form. In each, lines and colours combined in a particular way, certain forms and relations of forms, stir our aesthetic emotions ….. it is the business of the artist so to combine and arrange them that they shall move us……..To appreciate a work of art we need bring nothing with us but form
Roger Fry. The French Post Impressionists. Vision and Design. 1912 They do not seek to imitate form but to create form; not to imitate life but to find an equivalent for life (they) shall appeal to our disinterested and contemplative imagination cutting off the practical response to sensations of ordinary life..setting free a pure..disembodied functioning of the spirit
….this re-direction in aesthetics proved as successful as the revolution in taste….together modernist art and formalist aesthetics achieved a formidable dominance in art education, criticism and academic art history for much of the twentieth century….. ……this in turn produced a backlash which has threatened to discredit not only formalist aesthetics but aesthetics of any kind…… Elizabeth Prettejohn. Beauty and Art. 2005
The Abuse of Beauty Arthur C Danto 2003 The Intractable Avant-Garde
Benjamin Peret. 1926 for art retroactively annihilated that from which it emerged We had found in the War that Goethe, Schiller and Beauty added up to killing and bloodshed and murder. Richard Huelsenbeck Art is everywhere, except with the dealers, in the temples of Art, like God is everywhere, except in the churches. Francis Picabia
Tristan Tzara (1896-1963) Dada Manifesto 1918 A work of art should not be beauty in itself, for beauty is dead… …Is the aim of art to make money and cajole the nice, nice bourgeois…the new artist protests, he no longer creates….all pictorial or plastic work is useless: let it then be a monstrosity that frightens servile minds….. Marcel Duchamp. First papers of Surrealism Exhibition. 1942
Barnett Newman(1905-70) The Sublime is Now 1948 The invention of Beauty by the Greeks, that is their postulate of beauty as an ideal, has been the bugbear of European art and European aesthetic philosophies The Impressionists, disgusted with its inadequacy, began the movement to destroy the established rhetoric of beauty by the Impressionist insistence on a surface of ugly strokes. The impulse of modern art was this desire to destroy beauty. We are re-asserting mans natural desire for the exalted, for a concern with our relationship to the absolute emotions. We do not need the obsolete props of an outmoded an antiquated legend…we are making it out of ourselves, out of our own feelings (Fosters space beyond representations)
The value of Beautys antithesis – the ugly and horrific Is it the quiet shore of contemplation that I set aside for myself, as I lay bare, under the cunning orderly surface of civilizations, the nurturing horror that they attend to pushing aside by purifying, systematizing and thinking? Julia Kristeva. Powers of Horror. 1982 Neo Dada no longer has the hope that it will reform the modern nation by abusing beauty. But perhaps by weakening if not destroying the supposedly internal relationship between art and beauty, it has made it possible for art to address the inhumanities that so revolted the generation after World War 1 Arthur C Danto. The Abuse of Beauty. 2003 Jake and Dinos Chapman Fuckface Twins
The Anti-Aesthetic. Essays on Postmodern Culture. Hal Foster (ed) 1983 The very notion of the aesthetic…..is in question here Are categories afforded by the aesthetic still valid? anti-aesthetic also signals a practice, cross-disciplinary in nature, that is sensitive to cultural forms engaged in a politic – e.g. feminist art…..that is to forms that deny the idea of a privileged aesthetic realm ( Meaning that ALL BEAUTY IS CULTURAL. LS) In the face of a cultural reaction on all sides, a practice of resistance is needed
The Eclipse of Beauty A value wholly associated with past art With suspect bourgeois and middle class values Providing affirmation and solace; the clichés of arts reconciling glow Insufficient – unlike the ugly – to provide critique Eclipsed by a new art whose purpose is social and political Complicit, itself in the prevailing power structure Itself, the object of social and political critique
Umberto Eco The Beauty of Provocation or the Beauty of Consumption Art is no longer interested in providing an image of natural Beauty, nor does it aim to procure …pleasure…..its aim is to teach us to interpret the world through different eyes Eco; the avant-garde and the Beauty of Provocation
The Beauty of Consumption Visitors to an exhibition of avant-garde art….wear jeans or designer clothes, wear their hair according to the model of Beauty offered by glossy magazines, the cinema or television, in other words by the mass media. These people follow the ideals of Beauty as suggested by the world of commercial consumption, the very world that avant-garde artists have been battling against for over 50 years
Distinction. A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste. Pierre Bourdieu. 1984 A Grande Bourgeois: Unique among His Kind..a lawyer, aged 45, is the son of a lawyer and his family belongs to the Parisian grande bourgeoisie… Their four children are at the best private Catholic secondary schools…They live in a big apartment…..In the living room, modern furniture…antiquities, a Greek head in stone, authentic and rather beautiful….his father collects all sorts of objets dart… several paintings, a Paul Serusier, in the Dining Room, a Dutch still life.. When he buys objets dart its in no way an investment. What counts for him is first of all the beauty of a thing…. Im irritated by people who buy things just to show them off, to say theyve got them or put them in a particular place. The value isnt what counts, its the pleasure it gives you
And so, to make beautiful art is to bring art further within the circles of power, class, commerce and consumption; to render it ineffective as critique And further, if beauty is a learned response, dependent on class and culture, then there is no absolute. Beauty remains subjective and differs infinitely. It is therefore unworthy of analysis