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Adorno - Aesthetic Theory

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  • Concerned with the relation between art and society, not just the usual aesthetic preoccupation with the function of beauty and sublimity in art
  • Modern art (definition?) - freed from cult and imperial restrictions, has expanded critical capacity and increased formal autonomy (in the usual art/autonomy sense?)
  • Art's greatest critical strength is abstracted truth-content, not overtly politicized content
    • Kantian/idealist aesthetics: truth-content is in the perception of the subject
    • Adorno: truth-content is in the object
    • Truth-content is found in the relation between multiple dialectical interactions
      • The artwork's position relative to the individual, relative to society, dialectical interactions within the artwork
      • Impacted by the artwork's self-consciousness of its distance from society


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