By J. Hellings
A entire, serious and available account of Theodor W. Adorno's materialist-dialectical aesthetic conception of paintings from a latest viewpoint, this quantity indicates how Adorno's severe idea is awash with pictures crystallising techniques to the sort of measure that it has each cause to be defined as aesthetic.
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Extra info for Adorno and Art: Aesthetic Theory Contra Critical Theory
Is not theory also a genuine form of practice? (BIT 68) The message in a bottle model explains the different understandings of social praxis proposed by both men. For Adorno, as we have seen, theory – exactly like art and aesthetics – was a form of social praxis that communicated indirectly, engaged through dis-engagement, and participated through non-participation. ‘Abstaining from praxis, art becomes the schema of social praxis: Every authentic artwork is internally revolutionary’ (AT 228). There simply could not be, for Adorno (and Marcuse), an ‘unmediated translation of theory into praxis’ (GSM 125).
13 Adorno’s resilient and uncompromising belief in political reform achieved through peaceful protest (demonstrations, sit-down strikes, works of art), and his recalcitrant opposition to meeting force with force as a rule and not as an exception14 (‘[a]s long as blow is followed by counter-blow, catastrophe is perpetuated’ (MM 55), together with his resolve to continue practicing uncompromisingly critical thinking and ruthless criticism without reducing either to the immediacy of praxis, direct action and Realpolitik – all of this made it possible for his activist critics to transform his image of messages in a bottle into a pejorative logo for the supposedly detached and dis-engaged – and by extension impractical, apolitical and resigned – modus operandi of the Frankfurt School’s radical project of critical theory.
Adorno’s preference for the radical advancement of the new over the reactionary cultural conservatism of the traditional perpetually reconfigures the dialectic of anti-art and art. ‘By understanding how anti-art is not merely external but integral to the account of art’s autonomy,’ Martin argues, ‘we can understand how autonomy need not be conceived conservatively as a defence of what traditionally has achieved autonomy’ (AAA 187). Adorno’s aesthetics was not concerned with defending traditional autonomous art (l’art pour l’art), and it was neither criminally reactionary nor aesthetically obsolete.
Adorno and Art: Aesthetic Theory Contra Critical Theory by J. Hellings