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Art and politics readings

Saturday 28 March - Saturday 6 June, 2020

Time: Mar 28, 2020 11:00 AM EST / 04:00 PM CET (BERLIN)

Time, thereafter: 11:00 AM EST / 05:00 PM CET (BERLIN)

Location: ZOOM

Contact Laurie Rojas <laurie.rojas[at]gmail.com> if interested in joining.

Art and politics

required / + recommended reading


Week 1. Art and politics after postmodernism | March 28, 2020

[Artists'] work is to sustain the critical moment of aesthetic experience. [Critics' work] is to recognize it.
-- Susan Buck-Morss, response to Visual culture questionnaire (1996)

• Susan Buck-Morss, response to Visual culture questionnaire (1996)
• Robert Pippin, "On Critical Theory" (2004)
• Chris Cutrone, "The relevance of Critical Theory to art today" (2011)
Cutrone, "An incomplete project? Art and politics after postmodernism" (2010)


No meeting on April 4, 2020 (Platypus International Convention)


Week 2. The meaning of art | April 11, 2020

+ Being and becoming (freedom in transformation) / immanent dialectical critique chart of terms [PNG]
+ Kant's 3 Critiques [PNG] and philosophy [PNG] charts of terms
• Immanuel Kant, Preface and Introduction, Critique of Judgment (1790) [full book PDF]


Week 3. Art and humanity | April 18, 2020

+ Schiller on aesthetic education (and Nietzsche on art) chart of terms [PNG]
• Friedrich Schiller, Letters on the Aesthetic Education of Man (1794)


Week 4. Modern aesthetics of art | April 25, 2020

• G.W.F. Hegel, Introductory Lectures on Aesthetics (first section):
1 Prefatory Remarks
2 Limitation and Defence of Aesthetics
3 Refutation of Objections
4 Scientific Ways of Treating Beauty and Art
5 Concept of the Beauty of Art
6 Common Ideas of Art
(i) The Work of Art as a Product of Human Activity
(ii) The Work of Art, as being for Apprehension by Man’s Senses, is drawn from the Sensuous Sphere
(iii) The Aim of Art


Week 5. Modernity and modernism | May 2, 2020

• Heinrich Heine, excerpts from Salon of 1831 (1831)
Heine, excerpts from Salon of 1843 (1843)
• Charles Baudelaire, excerpts from Paris Spleen (1867)
Baudelaire, excerpts from Salon of 1846 (1846)
Baudelaire, excerpts from The Painter of Modern Life (1863)


Week 6. Art as justification for life? | May 9, 2020

• Friedrich Nietzsche, The Birth of Tragedy (1872, including 1886 "Attempt at self-criticism")


Week 7. Art and revolution | May 16, 2020

Cutrone, "Trotsky, Benjamin, Adorno and Greenberg's critique of 'revolutionary art' " (2020)
• Leon Trotsky, "Art and politics in our epoch" (1938)
• Clement Greenberg, "Avant-garde and kitsch" (1939)


Week 8. Revolutionary art? | May 23, 2020

• Walter Benjamin, "Experience and poverty" (1934)
Benjamin, "The author as producer" (1934)
• Jürgen Habermas, "Modernity: an incomplete project" (1981)


Week 9. Art and capitalism | May 30, 2020

Benjamin, "The work of art in the age of mechanical reproduction" (1936)
• Theodor Adorno, letter to Benjamin (1936)


Week 10. Art's necessity and impossibility | June 6, 2020

• Stewart Martin, “Critique of relational aesthetics” (2007)
• Stewart Martin, “The absolute artwork meets the absolute commodity” (2007)
Adorno, "Art's self-evidence lost" and "Society", Aesthetic Theory (1970)

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