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Art and Politics (Summer 2020)

Liberty Leading the People, Eugène Delacroix

Sunday 21st June - Sunday 23rd August

Time: 16:00 - 18:30 (BST)

Reading group sessions will take place on ZOOM (link: https://lse.zoom.us/j/97132319483)

• required / + recommended reading


Week 1. Art and politics after postmodernism | June 21, 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-Morssresponse to Visual culture questionnaire (1996)
• Robert Pippin"On Critical Theory" (2004)
Being and becoming (freedom in transformation) / immanent dialectical critique chart of terms [PNG]
• Chris Cutrone"The relevance of Critical Theory to art today" (2011)
• Cutrone"An incomplete project? Art and politics after postmodernism" (2010)


Week 2. The meaning of art | June 28, 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 KantPreface and IntroductionCritique of Judgment (1790) [full book PDF]


Week 3. Art and humanity | July 5, 2020

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


Week 4. Modern aesthetics of art | July 12, 2020

• G.W.F. HegelIntroductory Lectures on Aesthetics (Introduction): [PDF]
Prefatory Remarks
Limitation and Defence of Aesthetics
Refutation of Objections
Scientific Ways of Treating Beauty and Art
Concept of the Beauty of Art
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 | July 19, 2020

• Heinrich Heineexcerpts from Salon of 1831 (1831)
• Heineexcerpts from Salon of 1843(1843)
Baudelaire on the modern / modernity / modernism chart of terms [PNG]
• Charles Baudelaireexcerpts from Paris Spleen (1867)
• Baudelaireexcerpts from Salon of 1846 (1846)
• Baudelaireexcerpts from The Painter of Modern Life (1863)


Week 6. Art as justification for life? | July 26, 2020

• Friedrich NietzscheThe Birth of Tragedy (1872, including 1886 "Attempt at self-criticism")
Schiller on aesthetic education (and Nietzsche on art) chart of terms [PNG]


Week 7. Art and revolution | August 2, 2020

“[A] protest against reality, either conscious or unconscious, active or passive, optimistic or pessimistic, always forms part of a really creative piece of work. Every new tendency in art has begun with rebellion.”
— Trotsky, “Art and politics in our epoch” (1938)

• Walter Benjamin"On the mimetic faculty" (1934)
• Cutrone"Trotsky, Benjamin, Adorno and Greenberg's critique of 'revolutionary art' " (2020) [PDF]
• Leon Trotsky"Art and politics in our epoch" (1938)
• Clement Greenberg"Avant-garde and kitsch" (1939)


Week 8. Revolutionary art? | August 9, 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 | August 16, 2020

• Benjamin"The work of art in the age of mechanical reproduction" (1936)
• Theodor Adorno, letter to Benjamin (1936)
+ Siegfried Kracauer, "Photography" (1927)
+ Benjamin, "Little history of photography" (1931)


Week 10. Art's necessity and impossibility | August 23, 2020

• Adorno"Those Twenties" (1962)
• Adorno"Art's self-evidence lost" and "Society"Aesthetic Theory (1970)
• Stewart Martin“Critique of relational aesthetics” (2007)
• Stewart Martin“The absolute artwork meets the absolute commodity” (2007)

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