By J. Hellings
A accomplished, severe and available account of Theodor W. Adorno's materialist-dialectical aesthetic conception of artwork from a modern standpoint, this quantity exhibits how Adorno's severe conception is awash with pictures crystallising suggestions to this type of measure that it has each cause to be defined as aesthetic.
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Additional info for Adorno and Art: Aesthetic Theory Contra Critical Theory
Art shows, art renders visible, but what art shows (even if what art presents is either that which is disappearing or that which is invisible) must not be misconstrued as art communicating a discursive meaning or making a political statement or taking an ideological position. Art cannot say what it shows, because an address is not a judgement, and a question mark cannot answer itself. Art must resist becoming an instrument of making things visible. Schafhausen and Müller, and much that counts in current aesthetic theories of art,70 misidentify art works with speech acts – they conflate an object’s address with a subject’s decision or non-decision, and showing Anti-Introduction: Paint It Black 19 with doing.
In the artwork something new comes into existence. 72 It is toward this obligation that we turn to now. Part I Messages in a Bottle: Aesthetic Theory Contra Critical Theory I feel that art has something to do with the achievement of stillness in the midst of chaos. A stillness which characterizes prayer, too, and the eye of the storm. 1 Introduction In Part I I re-evaluate Adorno’s critical theory through a detailed analysis of his image of messages in a bottle. In overturning and displacing the critical genealogy of this image and in anchoring it to the construction of his aesthetic and the work of art, I find myself swimming against the tide of current opinion.
14 As Trotsky wrote: Artistic creation has its laws – even when it consciously serves a social movement. Truly intellectual creation is incompatible with lies, hypocrisy and the spirit of conformity. Art can become a strong ally of revolution only insofar as it remains faithful to itself. (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.
Adorno and Art: Aesthetic Theory Contra Critical Theory by J. Hellings