Adorno and Art: Aesthetic Theory Contra Critical Theory

Adorno and Art: Aesthetic Theory Contra Critical Theory

Language: English

Pages: 199

ISBN: 0230347886

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


A comprehensive, critical and accessible account of Theodor W. Adorno's materialist-dialectical aesthetic theory of art from a contemporary perspective, this volume shows how Adorno's critical theory is awash with images crystallising thoughts to such a degree that it has every reason to be described as aesthetic.

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management of capital is no longer the shameful secret hidden behind the “forms” of democracy; it is the openly declared truth by which our governments acquire legitimacy.’ Rancière, J. [1995], Disagreement: Notes 185 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 8 Politics and Philosophy, Trans. Julie Rose (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1999), 113. Adorno poured scorn on the ‘spell of inwardness,’ understood as ‘the hoarded-up treasure chest of subjective recollection’ (AT 300). ‘The category of

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strong leadership, ultimately convicted him. Krahl’s philistinism was best witnessed in his ‘“intolerance to ambiguity,” an impatience with what is ambivalent and not strictly definable; ultimately, it is the refusal of what is open, of what has not been predetermined by any jurisdiction, ultimately of experience itself’ (AT 115–16). Such philistinism, such ‘[c]rudeness of thinking,’ was for Adorno, ‘the incapacity to differentiate within a topic, and differentiation is an aesthetic category as

take an example. Pablo Picasso’s mural-size painting, Guernica, 1937, which abstractly depicts that year’s bombing of Guernica Y Luno by the German air force supporting General Franco in the Spanish Civil War, is an interesting case study for any theoretical debate about committed and autonomous art. Guernica offers an invaluable site or terrain upon which the competing claims for the appropriate correlation of art, aesthetics and politics can be evidenced and evaluated. The painting shows

consciousnesses are involved) it has necessarily the effect of crystallising, of instituting outside ourselves, certain modes of action and certain ways of judging which are independent of the particular individual will considered separately’ (ibid., 45). 29. I am indebted to Simon O’Sullivan for this turn of phrase: O’Sullivan, S. Art Encounters Deleuze and Guattari: Thought Beyond Representation (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006), 40. 30. Miller, H. [1934], Tropic of Cancer (London: Harper

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