Hunger for Aesthetics: Enacting the Demands of Art (Columbia Themes in Philosophy) (Paperback)

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Description


For decades, aesthetics has been subjected to a variety of critiques, often concerning its treatment of beauty or the autonomy of art. Collectively, these complaints have generated an anti-aesthetic stance prevalent in the contemporary art world. Yet if we examine the motivations for these critiques, Michael Kelly argues, we find theorists and artists hungering for a new kind of aesthetics, one better calibrated to contemporary art and its moral and political demands.

Following an analysis of the work of Stanley Cavell, Arthur Danto, Umberto Eco, Susan Sontag, and other philosophers of the 1960s who made aesthetics more responsive to contemporary art, Kelly considers Sontag's aesthetics in greater detail. In On Photography (1977), she argues that a photograph of a person who is suffering only aestheticizes the suffering for the viewer's pleasure, yet she insists in Regarding the Pain of Others (2003) that such a photograph can have a sustainable moral-political effect precisely because of its aesthetics. Kelly considers this dramatic change to be symptomatic of a cultural shift in our understanding of aesthetics, ethics, and politics. He discusses these issues in connection with Gerhard Richter's and Doris Salcedo's art, chosen because it is often identified with the anti-aesthetic, even though it is clearly aesthetic. Focusing first on Richter's Baader-Meinhof series, Kelly concludes with Salcedo's enactments of suffering caused by social injustice. Throughout A Hunger for Aesthetics, he reveals the place of critique in contemporary art, which, if we understand aesthetics as critique, confirms that it is integral to art. Meeting the demand for aesthetics voiced by many who participate in art, Kelly advocates for a critical aesthetics that confirms the limitless power of art.

About the Author


Michael Kelly is professor of philosophy at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte, and president of the Transdisciplinary Aesthetics Foundation. He is the author of Iconoclasm in Aesthetics (2003), editor in chief of the Encyclopedia of Aesthetics (2014, second edition), and coeditor of Action, Art, History: Engagements with Arthur C. Danto (Columbia, 2007).
Product Details
ISBN: 9780231152938
ISBN-10: 0231152930
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Publication Date: May 16th, 2017
Pages: 272
Language: English
Series: Columbia Themes in Philosophy