Philosophers on Art from Kant to the Postmodernists: A Critical Reader

Philosophers on Art from Kant to the Postmodernists: A Critical Reader

Language: English

Pages: 376

ISBN: 0231140959

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

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.




















short wavelengths prevail over long ones; thus, before sunrise, blue is the first color to appear. Under these conditions, one perceives the color blue through the rods of the retina’s periphery (the serrated margin), while the central element containing the cones (the fovea) fixes the object’s image and identifies its form. A possible hypothesis, following André Broca’s paradox,4 would be that the perception of blue entails not identifying the object; that blue is, precisely, on this side of or

and without utilitarian purpose. The fact that Kant emphasizes the unrepresentability of the sublime is also important; the implications of this theory exceed Kant’s own attempt to control them (see the introduction to this book). Several passages of writing in the sections on the beautiful warrant particular attention, especially in the light of subsequent philosophical concerns. Although much of Kant’s writing about genius appears typically Romantic, in which the (male) artist is identified

floppy cravat. For that aura was by no means the mere product of a primitive camera. Rather, in that early period subject and technique were as exactly congruent as they become incongruent in the period of decline that immediately followed. For soon advances in optics made instruments available that put darkness entirely to flight and recorded appearances as faithfully as any mirror. After 1880, though, photographers made it their business to simulate with all the arts of retouching, especially

realm of “reliability”): this is the truth of the essence of tools and products. Techné (as an aspect of Dasein) brings forth the essence of tools and products, but the role of representing this belongs to the work of art, and not techné. In this context, the work of art is a “happening of truth.” Thus, it is not the tool or “equipment” that determines the truth in the final instance, but the work of art. In the example of the Greek temple, Heidegger makes more ambitious claims for the role of

already has in view the definitions that must suffice to establish that what we in advance take to be an artwork is one in fact. But selecting characteristics from among given objects, and deriving concepts from principles, are equally impossible here, and where these procedures are practiced they are a self-deception. Thus we are compelled to follow the circle. This is neither a makeshift nor a defect. To enter upon this path is the strength of thought, to continue on it is the feast of

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