Baudrillard Reframed: Interpreting Key Thinkers for the Arts (Contemporary Thinkers Reframed)

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Baudrillard reframed : interpreting key thinkers for the arts

By Steven Levine. Are your students baffled by Baudrillard? Dazed by Deleuze? Confused by Kristeva? Kevin Malcolm Richards - - I. Art: Key Contemporary Thinkers. Jean Baudrillard: In Radical Uncertainty. Mike Gane - - Pluto Press. Jean Baudrillard. Richard J. Lane - - Routledge. Francesco Proto - unknown. Michael Grenfell - - Berg. Baudrillard and Postmodernism. Jason L. Powell ed. Jean Baudrillard: The Defence of the Real. Rex Butler - - Sage Publications. Douglas Kellner - unknown.

Baudrillard reframed : interpreting key thinkers for the arts, Kim Toffoletti

He proposed that in order for something to be understood as art, and not just an artefact of commercial culture, the object or artefact needed to be understood in the context of art history and a legitimising theory of art. We can only understand what art is through its embeddedness in an artworld.

Kim Toffoletti, Baudrillard Reframed: Interpreting Key Thinkers for the Arts - PhilPapers

It had nothing to do with handicraft. Literally interpreted, the ITA says that art is what the artworld says it is. An artwork is only an artwork if the institutional discourses of art say that it is art.


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As a subset of the world, the artworld consists of the values, attitudes, practices and beliefs that structure what art is and who belongs to the artworld. As artists, we make art. We go to the art shops to buy art materials and art equipment to make art. Many of us but not Sophie Calle go to art school, where we take courses in art practice, art theory and art history, and exhibit in end-of-year art exhibitions. We hope, postart school, that we will find an art gallery and an art dealer who will take us on, so that we can exhibit and sell art.

During such exhibitions we fervently and quietly hope that some art critic will chance upon the exhibition and write a critical but positive review of the work. Art criticism and patronage will ensure that we become part of the artworld. But we maintain our diligence. In order to keep up with the current trends we go to exhibitions, buy art catalogues, read art reviews written by art critics and are frequently to be found in art bookshops surreptitiously leafing through the latest art magazines and journals.

We fly all over the world to this biennale or that triennial and to keep up acquaintance with other artists.

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In all this activity, we belong to the artworld. It would seem to make logical sense that the artworld structures our understanding of art. Heidegger would agree that art is historically contingent. The fact that Brillo Box appeared as art in the USA in the s and not in Maoist China or in Europe in the s makes sense when one assesses the historical conditions under which we understand our possibilities as beings.

Yet this does not answer the question of what art is. Just as we needed to look beyond the ontic world of beings which includes the artworld to understand the Being of human beings, so Heidegger believes that we need to look beyond the artworld definition of art to assess the Being of art.

We need to question art in its essence. This statement requires clarification. How can lived experience be the element in which art dies, when Heidegger also claims that the work of art emerges through lived, embodied experience? We see Heidegger again using capitals and lower case, as with his differentiation of Being and being. For Heidegger, the essence of art operates in the realm of Being.

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In this question we are returned to the distinction between Being and beings. We will recall that this is what Heidegger terms the ontological difference.


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  • While ontology is concerned with Being as such, the ontic is concerned with the actual lived experience of human beings in a social context. Hence, while the essence of art Art is concerned with art as such, the life of an individual artist, the practice of an artist, and the artwork all operate in the ontic realm of beings. The ontic is the realm of art business and much else as well. How in the midst of beings, that is lived experience, is Being realised?

    How in the middle of art business can Art emerge? This remains the most difficult of questions for all of us working as contemporary artists. The artworld and the theories of art that arise out of a conviction that art is what the artworld says it is for example,.

    As soon as the thrust into the awesome is parried and captured by the sphere of familiarity and connoisseurship, the art business has begun. Heidegger is clear that the essence of art does not lie in the ITA. He is also sure that it does not lie in connoisseurship, or what we know as aesthetics. And finally, as we have seen, he does not believe that the essence of art resides in the making, manipulating or manufacturing of artworks.

    This evaluation also holds for musical and. They are concerned with art business, not with Art in itself. Such a view of art has not formulated or addressed the central question of the Being of art; what art is in its essence. There is not one defining feature or attribute that holds for the multifarious forms that art takes.

    The essence of something is not an attribute or state of that thing. Heidegger worries that in our preoccupation with art business, art in itself may no longer be the essential and necessary way in which truth happens in our historical age OWA: Where art business rules supreme, the truth of art is forgotten. This concern returns us to the question what is the truth of art; what is its essence?

    Baudrillard Reframed: Interpreting Key Thinkers for the Arts

    Why would we want now to return to these terms, given the ideological baggage they carry? Heidegger clearly wants to distinguish his use of notions of truth and essence from the common understanding that we attach to the terms. We usually understand veritas or truth as the correctness of an idea.

    riemeibranzen.tk Something is true because it correctly represents or corresponds with a fact, or is in accord with its subject matter. In the West, the history and theory of visual arts associate veritas with truth to nature, that is with mimesis. This relationship between veritas and mimesis is evident in a famous story recounted by Pliny, which tells of the rivalry between two Greek painters in the fifth century BC, Zeuxis and Parrhasius, to paint the most true-to-life painting. Rather, he says truth happens when something is brought forth out of itself.

    For Heidegger,.


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    For Bhabha, as for Heidegger, it is through strife that a truth emerged in and through the artwork. The revelation that happens through the encounter with an artwork, not the art object, is the work of art. This is a very different way of thinking about truth, and also about the essence of art. We are pulled up short, pulled out of the humdrum of the everyday and everyday thinking, and are brought to a different place of thought.

    PHILOSOPHY: Jacques Derrida

    Bringing-forth comes to pass only insofar as something concealed comes into unconcealment. This coming rests and moves freely within what we call revealing [das Entbergen]. The Greeks have the word aletheia for revealing.