© 2014

Adorno and Art

Aesthetic Theory Contra Critical Theory


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xiv
  2. Anti-Introduction: Paint It Black

    1. James Hellings
      Pages 1-20
  3. Messages in a Bottle: Aesthetic Theory Contra Critical Theory

  4. Art Itself Thinks: The Politics of Aesthetic (Mis-)Education

  5. Anti-Conclusion: The Russian Ending

    1. James Hellings
      Pages 144-152
  6. Back Matter
    Pages 153-199

About this book


A comprehensive, critical and accessible account of Theodor W. Adorno's materialist-dialectical aesthetic theory of art from a contemporary perspective, this volume shows how Adorno's critical theory is awash with images crystallising thoughts to such a degree that it has every reason to be described as aesthetic.


Adorno art aesthetics aesthetic theory politics critical theory access bibliography Contemporary art dialectic education knowledge reason restoration Russia Russian Theodor W. Adorno

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.School of Art, BIADBirmingham City UniversityUK

About the authors

Dr James Hellings is Lecturer in Art at the University of Reading, UK. He researches, writes and lectures about modern and contemporary art and the thought that accompanies it. Originally educated as an artist, James worked in the Department of Prints and Drawings at The British Museum, before receiving full AHRC Scholarships for both his MA and PhD studies in contemporary art theory at Goldsmiths College, University of London.

Bibliographic information


"[O]ne senses throughout that Hellings is testing his own ideas and critical persuasions through, and with, Adorno, which is illuminating in the light of his rather good discussion of subjectivity and objectivity within both aesthetic theory and art making in general."

"[Hellings] makes Adorno's thought vivid for the present, especially in his attempts to think through contemporary artistic and political practices."

-David Ryan, Art Monthly