The Life-world of the Avant Garde Artist. Is Nothing Sacred?
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The increasing secularity of public culture in advanced societies raises important questions about the nature of secular ideas and commitments and their capacity to act as a cultural glue holding against the centrifugal tendencies of modern life. Emile Durkheim anticipated this problem as early as 1912 in the publication of his last major treatise, Les Forms Elementaires des Vie Religieus The two most plausible secular possibilities to traditional faith in his view were „the cult of science“ and „the cult of the individual“-ideologies deriving from twin intellectual impulses of the continental Enlightenment.2 Durkheim, in the tradition of Comte, favored the former but he was deeply nervous, all the same, about the ability of either science or individualism to provide a common culture strong and coherent enough to keep an increasingly fragmented society together. It was an important, if not portentous, effort. But the questions remain pregnant with possibility.
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- 1.Third Essay, Sec. 1& 28Google Scholar
- 2.These were, of course, the positivist (deriving from the work of Comte and the like) and the romanticist (deriving from the work of Rousseau, Voltaire, Kant, etc.)Google Scholar
- 3.Quoted in Jacques Barzun, The Use and Abuse of Art, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1974, pg. 32.Google Scholar
- 4.Regis Debray has noted on the European continent, that as there has been a decline in the percentage committed to Sunday worship, there has been an increase among those who pay for admissions to great art exhibits. This is true in some regards in the U.S. as well. Here, annual attendence at art museums has increased from 200 million in 1965 to 500 million today. (Debray, Universal Art: The Desperate Religion, New Perspectives Quarterly, Spring, 1992, 35–41.) Quoted in Jacques Barzun, The Use and Abuse of Art, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1974, pg. 32.Google Scholar
- 5.Debray, „Universal Art: The Desperate Religion,“New Perspectives Quarterly, Spring, 1992, 35–41.Google Scholar
- 6.Barzun, The Use and Abuse of Art, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1974, pg. 32Google Scholar
- 7.Quoted in Amy A. Adler, „Post-Modern Art and the Death of Obscenity Law,“The Yale Law Journal, April, 1990, Vol. 90: 6, pg. 1378.Google Scholar
- 8.See Mark Stevens, „Brushes with Art,“The New Republic, 17 May, 1993, 36–42.Google Scholar
- 9.Deuteronomy 10:12.Google Scholar
- 10.Barzun, The Use and Abuse of Art, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1974, pg. 7.Google Scholar
- 11.Interestingly, it is this „groundlessness“that is the defining characteristic of Jean-Francois Lyotard’s definition of paganism.Google Scholar
- 12.Adler, Post-Modern Art and the Death of Obscenity Law, The Yale Law Journal, 1990, pg. 1378.Google Scholar
- 13.See, for example, Catherine Fox, Public Art’s New Wave, The Atlanta Journal, 4 August, 1991, N1–N5.Google Scholar