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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effectively enough to stay in operation. (5) Enough artists will produce works the system can effectively distribute that it can continue to operate. (6) Artists whose work the distribution system cannot or will not handle find other means of distribution; alternatively, their work achieves minimal or no distribution. (107) The second point will be discussed in the next sections on the cooperative links between artists and their public. For now it is important to note that the intermediaries who run

form of structuration of the relationships and awareness of the participants in them. The latter aspect, by the way, can certainly become concrete in the rise of ‘a corps of preservers of lives (biographers) and oeuvres’ (1992b [1980]: 174), particularly in an intellectual field. In Bourdieu’s concept, fields function thanks to their immanent coherence. In this sense, Dickie’s presentation of the art world as a circle is not totally another way of thinking. Figure 3.1 has a circular structure as

located at the borders between networks, for instance when a director of a museum, proud of and faithful to his collection as a curator, has to sell one of his works and finds himself in a purely economic set of relations. In both cases, the actors are changing for two reasons. First, a new From Theory to the Methodology of Singularity  position in a network generates a new set of relations in which an actor functions, and hence a new actor as well, because an actor is considered the result

make them art, to the view that works become art on the basis of their position in the (historical) context, in other words because of their position in an art world.  The Art World as a System In The Art Circle, Dickie devotes an entire chapter to Danto’s efforts to get a grip on contemporary art (1984: 17-27). In the first place, Danto’s claim that an art theory is a requisite for the presence of artworks is attacked wrongly, I think, because Dickie is wondering whether Danto thinks ‘that

cult films and from gothic novels to minimal poetry – can be regarded as aesthetic, as long as the ‘accompanying’ notions and conceptions do not become dominant, as is the case, for instance, in certain forms of politically engaged art. On the other hand, within this conception of aesthetic communication, it is possible to specify the distinction between what Shusterman sees as the immediate sense experience and the more Kantian view that a certain distance from direct experience is necessary in

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