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aesthetics defined

Having read the above, it might be assumed that "anti-aesthetics" must be the negation of beauty and its appreciation, as well as the destruction and/or disregard concerning principles relating to art and artistic movements. This would be a little too simplistic and truly represent only one aspect of the continuing saga in the world of aesthetics - especially in regards to the world as a whole after the 20th century. As Hal Foster stated in the introduction of his seminal The Anti-Aesthetic, Essays on Postmodern Culture (1983)

"Anti-aesthetic"...signals that the very notion of the aesthetic, its network of ideas, is in question here: the ideas that aesthetic experience exists apart, without "purpose," all but beyond history, or that art can now effect a world at once (inter)subjective, concrete, and universal--a symbolic totality. Like "postmodernism," then, "anti-aesthetic" marks a cultural position on the present: are categories afforded by the aesthetic still valid? ..."Anti-aesthetic" also signals a practice, cross-disciplinary in nature, that is sensitive to cultural forms engaged in a politic (e.g., feminist art) or rooted in a vernacular--that is, to forms that deny the idea of a privileged aesthetic realm.

If anything else, Mr. Foster implies that we, as members of a culture, in any and all cultures, need to be on guard and arm ourselves with a continual attitude of resistance.

The following offer a background on anti-aesthetics, anti-aesthetics itself and its application:

modernism - 1; modernism - 2;
postmodernism - 1; postmodernism - 2
continental theory
Structuralism by John Sturrock (2003)
Post-Structuralism (this page also has short paragraphs on post-modernism, Michel Foucault & Jacques Derrida)
Modern Culture by Roger Scruton
Jürgen Habermas
Roland Barthes (1915-1980)
Jean Baudrillard (1929-2007)
The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge by Jean-François Lyotard (1984)
Understanding The End of Art
Theodor Adorno on Aesthetic Theory (2004)
The End of Art Theory
The Shock of the New - BBC Four Documentary
The Aesthetics of the Anti-Aesthetics (from the Aesthetics of Play Conference, 2005) by David Myers, Loyola University New Orleans


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