How to Study Art Worlds: On the Societal Functioning of Aesthetic Values

How to Study Art Worlds: On the Societal Functioning of Aesthetic Values

Hans van Maanen

Language: English

Pages: 256

ISBN: 9089641521

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

While numerous studies over the years have focused on the ways in which art functions in our society, How to Study Art Worlds is the first to examine it in light of the organizational aspects of the art world. Van Maanen delves into the works of such sociologists as Howard S. Becker, Pierre Bourdieu, George Dickie, and Niklas Luhmann, among others, to examine the philosophical debates surrounding aesthetic experience—and then traces the consequences that each of these approaches has had and continues to have on organizations in the art world.

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often unstable consensus among participants in an art world, which, by the way, is not at all in contradiction to the institutional approach. The second question concerns the inevitable debate on ‘the characteristics an object [must] have to be a work of art’ and especially whether ‘anything may be capable of being appreciated’ (153). Entirely according to the institutional tradition, Becker states that no constraints on what can be defined as art exist, except those which ‘arise from a prior

not in question, because the automatic answer would be no. However, according to Laermans (and Heinich, as we will see later), it is questionable whether Bourdieu really can claim this position. In addition, the fact is that this point of view just does not wash. Bourdieu does, in fact, make use of a very polemical, offensive style in this, a methodological, discussion and even claims to be defending the best approach, but he still does not suggest that his approach guarantees an objective and

of taste? What is understood here by satisfaction? And what is the meaning of disinterested? Regarding the last of these, Kant provides a direct clarification: ‘ The satisfaction that we combine with the representation of the existence of an object is called interest’ (ibid. italics HvM). What precisely is meant by satisfaction will be addressed shortly, but we can already state here that it is a certain type of mental state, which in this case is linked to the experience of something that

according to Kant, taste belongs to the essence of the human being, and thus precedes his particular existence, his judgments of taste are connected to the universal and essential dimension of the noumenal world, and thus are free of the particular. This freedom, which moreover also forms the foundation of Kant’s notion that a judgment of taste claims general validity (since it is not based on particular concepts, but on the relationship with the supraindividual, noumenal world), makes it

in the communication. In the encounter with art, an alternation between these manners of seeing is inevitable, according to Zeglin Brand, if only because every perception is to some extent constructed on the basis of a relationship between the organization of what is observed, on the one hand, and that of the experiences and expectations of the user on the other. Perhaps it is therefore better to speak, taking a cue from Zeglin Brand, of moments of attention in which one interest dominates, that

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