By James Hellings

If the development towards the administered global is nearing final touch, if spectacularised societies, industrialised cultures, and reified realization have taken regulate, then, Adorno and Art exhibits how radical and progressive Adorno’s aesthetic thought of art’s double personality continues to be, and the way advanced, creative and oppositional, types of paintings supply, maybe, the simplest wish for overcoming broken life.

The caricatures of Adorno, his politics and his aesthetics, are renowned mistakes of judgement—widely repeated either by means of the academy and via the Left. Adorno’s aesthetics has been accused of failing to maintain speed with innovative inventive practices and for being socio-politically aloof. regardless of the endurance of those caricatures, this booklet indicates how major photos and issues in Adorno’s concept stay proper to the present state of affairs of paintings, aesthetics and politics.

The Adorno on convey during this quantity used to be no bourgeois mandarin, no boastful aesthete, no esoteric mystic, no depression pessimist, and no educational professional holed up within the proverbial ivory tower.

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OND 80–1) The point, rather, is to see the reality and the necessity of semblance, to negatively determine or critique the illusions of aestheticised society while grasping their necessity (a re-doubled, folded form of reflection). ’25 The illusions of semblance were redeemed as truth potentials in Adorno’s aesthetics, which went far beyond the accusation of a new aestheticism or an aestheticisation of reason proposed by ideology critics à la Lukács. ’26 The rubble (semblance, aura and illusion) remains necessary for the appearance of that which is true, that which is essential, and noted as such by Excursus I – The Prevalence of a View 37 aestheticians: ‘the enchantment [of art] is itself part of enlightenment’ (AT 58).

72 It is toward this obligation that we turn to now. Part I Messages in a Bottle: Aesthetic Theory Contra Critical Theory I feel that art has something to do with the achievement of stillness in the midst of chaos. A stillness which characterizes prayer, too, and the eye of the storm. 1 Introduction In Part I I re-evaluate Adorno’s critical theory through a detailed analysis of his image of messages in a bottle. In overturning and displacing the critical genealogy of this image and in anchoring it to the construction of his aesthetic and the work of art, I find myself swimming against the tide of current opinion.

All art addresses an uncertain future, all art is dedicated to an unknown. ‘[N]o work of art,’ according to Adorno, ‘regardless what its maker thinks of it, is directed toward an observer, not even toward a transcendental subject of apperception; no artwork is to be described or explained in terms of the categories of communication’ (AT 109). Works of new art (and new music), then, function like messages in a bottle insofar as art ‘communicates through non-communication; it aims to blast away the things blocking mankind’s ears’ and eyes, ‘which they themselves hasten to close once more’ (MNM 265).

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