By Adrian Carr, Philip Hancock (eds.)
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Extra resources for Art and Aesthetics at Work
The criteria of merit for these products was perverted, according to Adorno and Horkheimer (1944/1997, p. 124), as it was judged by the amount of ‘conspicuous consumption’. Positivist rationality, the manipulation and suppression of critical imagination, were embodied in the images and messages produced by the culture industry – an industry so reductionist that culture was mere amusement. The structural division between work and ‘art’ (read culture) was such that culture was to be the vehicle of escape from the boredom, drudgery and powerlessness inherent in mechanized work processes.
The Institute for Social Research, in Germany, that was the home of the Frankfurt School scholars was closed in 1933, under the Nazi regime, for tendencies deemed hostile to the State. The Institute moved its home, temporarily, to Geneva and then to New York, becoming affiliated with Columbia University. The Institute did not return to Frankfurt until 1949. 12. Adorno and Horkheimer used the now familiar tale by Homer of Odysseus to particularly highlight the dynamics of such a prolongation of work.
Rather than announcing a revolution, the 1938 exhibition seemed more a display of radical chic about to cross the threshold into textbook history. Reviewers accused the Surrealists of seeming to take risks while actually being disengaged, and lamented ‘one more revolution that fades into that which it wishes to overturn’ (Sawin, 1995, p. 8). (Carr and Zanetti, 2000, p. 915) Similarly, G. Garfield Crimmins in an the recent wonderfully evocative, humorous and erotic journey in a book entitled The Republic of Dreams: A Reverie (1998), takes us to the ‘land’ of dreams called the Rêverian Republic.