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Reluctant Modernity : The Institution of Art and Its Historical Forms - Ales Debeljak

Reluctant Modernity

The Institution of Art and Its Historical Forms

Paperback Published: 28th June 1998
ISBN: 9780847685837
Number Of Pages: 240

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In this book, Ales Debeljak offers a refreshing alternative to postmodernists such as Baudrillard, who declare the death of art conceived as yet another source of rootless, circulating fictions. Inspired by the melancholy critical theory of Adorno and Benjamin, and drawing on Weber, Debeljak shows that with the dawning of modernity, art was made autonomous. Art production was effectively emancipated from the exigencies of everyday life and its guiding ideal of purposive rationality. The Renaissance brought on the first stage in a long, gradual withdrawal of art from the hitherto dominant mythological, religious, and aristocratic legitimization. Yet it was not until the 18th century that art assumed the separate status of a commodity to be bought and sold. However, art paid a price for its autonomy; through commodification art production ultimately become an extension of capitalist logic and control. The deterioration of bourgeois liberal individualism into the narcissism of mass society accompanied the decomposition of art into simplified mass art and commercialized kitsch. Maintaining its formal autonomy (museums, galleries, etc.), its content became the universal object of indirect corporate exploitation. Today postmodern art, argues Debeljak, is subjected to infinite reproducibility, total integration into mass society, and political resignation--no longer representing an alternative reality. The postmodern institution of art thus cannot be simply cured of modern structures and assumptions, but is, instead, fated to a continuous and painful relationship with modernity.

Industry Reviews

A major contribution to the critical analysis of the autonomy of art in contemporary capitalism. Ales Debeljak, following in the tradition of Adorno and Habermas, provides a penetrating and comprehensive inquiry in the contradictory character of art in modern society.--Bryan S. Turner, University of Cambridge

Forewordp. vii
Prefacep. ix
Acknowledgmentsp. xvii
Introductionp. xix
Framing the Logic of Modernityp. 7
Kant and the Concept of Autonomyp. 3
Weber and Separate Value-Spheresp. 6
Legitimization Mechanismsp. 13
Burger and the Institution of Artp. 15
The Bourgeois Public Sphere in Modernityp. 25
The Bourgeois Public Sphere in the Eyes of Theoryp. 27
The Power of a Better Argument and the Significance of Propertyp. 30
The Family versus the Capitalist Marketp. 33
The Epistolary Novel as a Paradigm of Autonomous Works of Artp. 36
The False Universality of the Bourgeois Public Spherep. 40
The Feminization and Proletarization of the Publicp. 43
Romanticism and the Alternative Status of Artp. 48
The Institution of Art in Modernityp. 59
Legitimization of Art in Ancient Greecep. 60
Art and Patronage in the Middle Agesp. 63
The Modern Autonomy of Artp. 68
The Rise of Mediating Institutionsp. 72
Commodification and the Decline of Patronagep. 76
Public Access and the Private Ownership of Artp. 78
Art Experts and Social Production of Aesthetic Discoursep. 81
The Dissolution of the Bourgeois Public Spherep. 87
The Colonization of the Life-Worldp. 89
Information Technologies between Emancipation and Dominationp. 93
Professional Experts as Agents of Colonizationp. 99
Bureaucratic Control of Consumptionp. 104
Corporate Depersonalizationp. 108
From Citizens to Consumersp. 112
The Decline of Modern Bourgeois Individualismp. 116
The Institution of Art in Postmodernityp. 127
The Avant-Garde and its Sublation of Autonomous Artp. 129
The Abortive Integration of Art and Everyday Lifep. 140
The Aesthetic Utopia of Social Changep. 143
The Aesthetization of Everyday Lifep. 147
The Loss of Art's Critical-Negative Potentialp. 152
To Exhibit and Sell: Corporate Cooptation of Museumsp. 157
No Alternative: Pop Art as Businessp. 164
Referencesp. 189
Indexp. 199
About the Authorp. 211
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780847685837
ISBN-10: 0847685837
Series: Postmodern Social Futures (Paperback)
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 240
Published: 28th June 1998
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 22.56 x 14.83  x 1.32
Weight (kg): 0.31