By J. Hellings
A accomplished, serious and available account of Theodor W. Adorno's materialist-dialectical aesthetic idea of artwork from a latest viewpoint, this quantity indicates how Adorno's severe conception is awash with pictures crystallising innovations to this type of measure that it has each cause to be defined as aesthetic.
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Extra resources for Adorno and Art: Aesthetic Theory Contra Critical Theory
For, ‘[i]n the abstract conception of universal wrong,’ Adorno argued in Minima Excursus II – The Prevalence of a View 41 Moralia, ‘all concrete responsibility vanishes’ (MM 25). So, when one is faced with this crazy ‘dispersion of responsibility’ (DE 66), and absurd social relations (the inhumanity of alienation and reification), Adorno’s choice for (dis-)engagement and non-participation focussed on the work of art and aesthetics – determinate negation of the empirical or good hating of late-capitalist society – looks at lot less like an article of faith (negative theology), and much more like a practical philosophy (aesthetics as an ethics).
LA 114) What Adorno often referred to as art’s ‘law’ or ‘principle’ of form, has been blown out of all proportion by his dia-mat critics. It is true that Adorno refused to give up on art’s (resistant) form, as a message in a bottle, but that does not mean his aesthetics was formalist. For ‘no single select category, not even the aesthetically central concept of the law of form, names the essence of art and suffices to judge its products’ (AT 7). To remind the world and, especially, social movements like Official revolutionary Marxism, that despite all of their good intentions and informed choices art remains art – a special form of object, more than a thing, faithful to itself (in-itself or autonomous), and not only a subservient instrument of that world, a thing among things, or a cultural object in a culture industry, faithful to others (for-another or heteronomous) – is not the same thing as denying art and aesthetics socio-political subtance or potential.
5 Geographically displaced in catastrophically dark times, the exiled scholars of the Frankfurt School may be forgiven a melancholy disposition and romantic sentimentality, imagining themselves shipwrecked or lost to the sea. Cut off from a form of rescue via readership they could only address their texts to an uncertain future, which must have offered little consolation. 6 Referring here to the coauthored standard-bearer of critical theory, Dialectic of Enlightenment: Philosophical Fragments, first published during wartime, Müller-Doohm warns that although it was originally conceived as messages in a bottle, it ‘was supposed to be found and decoded,’ urgently (AB 334).
Adorno and Art: Aesthetic Theory Contra Critical Theory by J. Hellings