Aesthetic autonomy and the crisis of theory: Greenberg, Adorno and the problem of postmodernism in the visual arts

Osborne, Peter (1989) Aesthetic autonomy and the crisis of theory: Greenberg, Adorno and the problem of postmodernism in the visual arts. New Formations: a journal of culture/theory/politics, 9 (Autumn). pp. 31-50. ISSN 0950-2378

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Abstract

If aesthetic theory has substance only to the extent to which it reflects the historical development of its subject, it is, I think, fair to say that there is at present no satisfactory contemporary aesthetic of the visual arts. Both the sheer formal diversity of the art of the last twenty years and certain of the unifying tendencies which it has none the less come to display, have so undermined the basic presuppositions and parameters of judgement of the aesthetics of modernism as to throw into doubt, not merely the continuing validity of this aesthetic as an historically specific manifestation of the aesthetic theory of modernity, but the very idea of 'aesthetics' itself as an independent or autonomous theoretical sphere. Aesthetic theory, it is increasingly suggested, at least in the form in which it existed from the Enlightenment up until its culmination in the high modernist formalism of the 1950s and early 1960s, is at an end. Current aesthetic theory registers its contemporaneity through its crisis.

Item Type:Article
Research Areas:Middlesex University Schools and Centres > School of Media and Performing Arts > Media & Performing Arts
ID Code:7942
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Deposited On:14 Jun 2011 11:47
Last Modified:19 Jul 2014 20:41

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