Advertisement

Art

  • Michael W. Wilson
Part of the Radical Theologies book series (RADT)

Abstract

Art and religion are both concerned with meaning. And yet, the social function of both activities has been called into question throughout the modern period. In fact, the modern period is largely defined by the replacement of religion by art. If this replacement coincides with the rise of capitalism, this is not accidental—the utility of art and the category of aesthetics in maintaining social order is crucial. The production of affect (usually along the lines of reinforcing a sense of awe) was a chief function of art in the service of religion and would subsequently work as a kind of distraction and escape from the brutality of capitalism. Indeed, throughout most of human history, religion and art were inextricably linked. The rituals of the former produced the masterpieces of the latter. Not until Westerners scrutinized this process, first in Greece and then in Europe during the Enlightenment, did the category of art begin to emerge—liberated from its enslavement to religion only to find itself functioning in a propagandistic capacity for power. Art, as a category, is at once self-evident and elusive. The label is given to both the result of artmaking (the object of art, a noun) and to the act of making itself (artfulness). One may produce art objects, and one may master the art of conversation. In both cases, we are confronted with an exceptional case—the result of a subject engaging in an activity with great care, inspiration, and devotion beyond everyday utility.

Keywords

Modern Period Pure Reason Death Anxiety Socialist Revolution Chief Function 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Notes

  1. 1.
    See John H. Zammito, The Genesis of Kant’s Critique of Judgment (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992), p. 46.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Immanuel Kant, Critique of Judgment, trans. Werner S. Pluhar (Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing, 1987), p. 15Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Mark C. Taylor, Confidence Games: Money and Markets in a World Without Redemption (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004), p. 98.Google Scholar
  4. 5.
    Friedrich Nietzsche, Basic Writings of Nietzsche, trans. Walter Kaufmann (New York: Random House, 1968), p. 256.Google Scholar
  5. 6.
    See Friedrich Nietzsche, “First Essay,” On The Genealogy of Morals and Ecce Homo, trans. and ed. Walter Kaufmann (New York: Random House, 1957), pp. 24–56.Google Scholar
  6. 7.
    Henri, comte de St.-Simon, “The Artist, the Savant, and the Industrialist,” in Art in Theory 1815–1900: An Anthology of Changing Ideas, ed. Charles Harrison and Paul Wood with Jason Gaiger (Oxford: Blackwell, 1998), p. 40.Google Scholar
  7. 8.
    Hakim Bey, TAZ: The Temporary Autonomous Zone, Ontological Anarchy, Poetic Terrorism (Brooklyn, NY: Autonomedia, 1985): http://hermetic.com/bey/taz_cont.html.Google Scholar
  8. 10.
    See Jean Baudrillard, Simulacra & Simulation, trans. Sheila Faria Glaser (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1994).Google Scholar
  9. 12.
    See Nicolas Bourriaud, Relational Aesthetics, trans. Simon Pleasance and Fronda Woods (Dijon: les presses du réel, 2002).Google Scholar
  10. 13.
    See Gabriel Vahanian, The Death of God: The Culture of Our Post-Christian Era (New York: George Braziller, 1957).Google Scholar
  11. 15.
    Terry Eagleton, The Ideology of the Aesthetic (London: Wiley-Blackwell, 1991), p. 212.Google Scholar
  12. 17.
    Félix Guattari, Chaosmosis: An Ethico-aesthetic Paradigm (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1995), p. 131.Google Scholar
  13. 18.
    Joseph Beuys, “I Am Searching for a Field Character,” Energy Plan for the Western Man: Joseph Beuys in America, compiled by Carin Kuoni (New York: Four Walls Eight Windows, 1990), pp. 21–23.Google Scholar
  14. 22.
    Joseph Beuys, What is Art?, trans. Matthew Barton and Shelley Sacks, ed. Volker Harlan (Forest Row: Clairview Books, 2004), p. 20.Google Scholar
  15. 24.
    Catherine Malabou, What Should We Do with Our Brain?, trans. Sebastian Rand (New York: Fordham University Press, 2008), p. 5.Google Scholar
  16. 26.
    Jacques Rancière, The Politics of Aesthetics, trans. Gabriel Rockhill (London: Continuum, 2004), p. 40.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Clayton Crockett & Jeffrey W. Robbins 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael W. Wilson

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations