Philosophers on Art from Kant to the Postmodernists: A Critical Reader
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Here, for the first time, Christopher Kul-Want brings together twenty-five texts on art written by twenty philosophers. Covering the Enlightenment to postmodernism, these essays draw on Continental philosophy and aesthetics, the Marxist intellectual tradition, and psychoanalytic theory, and each is accompanied by an overview and interpretation.
The volume features Martin Heidegger on Van Gogh's shoes and the meaning of the Greek temple; Georges Bataille on Salvador Dalí's The Lugubrious Game; Theodor W. Adorno on capitalism and collage; Walter Benjamin and Roland Barthes on the uncanny nature of photography; Sigmund Freud on Leonardo Da Vinci and his interpreters; Jacques Lacan and Julia Kristeva on the paintings of Holbein; Freud's postmodern critic, Gilles Deleuze on the visceral paintings of Francis Bacon; and Giorgio Agamben on the twin traditions of the Duchampian ready-made and Pop Art. Kul-Want elucidates these texts with essays on aesthetics, from Hegel and Nietzsche to Badiou and Rancière, demonstrating how philosophy adopted a new orientation toward aesthetic experience and subjectivity in the wake of Kant's powerful legacy.
time when we were not born? I could read my nonexistence in the clothes my mother had worn before I can remember her. There is a kind of stupefaction in seeing a familiar being dressed differently. Here, around 1913, is my mother dressed up—hat with a feather, gloves, delicate linen at wrists and throat, her “chic” belied by the sweetness and simplicity of her expression. This is the only time I have seen her like this, caught in a History (of tastes, fashions, fabrics): my attention is
marks a split between artistic production and technical production accompanied by an alienated relationship between intellectual and manual labor. Associated with the artist-genius, artistic production is thought of in terms of authenticity and originality (etymologically meaning: being in proximity to the origin), while technical production is associated with reproducibility based upon a preexisting template or mold. Both the traditions of the ready-made and Pop art revolve around this
given in a judgment may be empirical (and hence aesthetic),11 but if we refer them to the object, the judgment we make by means of them is logical. On the other hand, even if the given presentations were rational, they would still be aesthetic if, and to the extent that, the subject referred them, in his judgment, solely to himself (to his feeling). �2 The Liking That Determines a Judgment of Taste Is Devoid of All Interest Interest is what we call the liking we connect with the presentation of
is not free, itself. For Adorno, there is no simple opposition between modern art and past art forms, since both can be concerned with freedom. If a difference exists, it is that modern art is bound up with the experience of alienated suffering, something that Adorno feels is necessary to retain in art for as long as freedom is denied. SOCIETY It can be said that philosophy, and theoretical thought as a whole, suffers from an idealist prejudice insofar as it disposes solely over concepts; only
and there is no reality that is not social. Thus truth content and social content are mediated, although art’s truth content transcends the knowledge of reality as what exists. Art becomes social knowledge by grasping the essence, not by endlessly talking about it, illustrating it, or somehow imitating it. Through its own figuration, art brings the essence into appearance in opposition to its own semblance. The epistemological critique of idealism, which secures for the object an element of