By Geoff Boucher

Brushed aside as a depressing elitist who condemned pop culture within the identify of ‘high art’, Theodor W. Adorno (1903-1969) is likely one of the so much provocative and critical but least understood of up to date thinkers. This e-book attracts on new translations into English to problem this well known photograph and re-examines Adorno as a utopian thinker who believed real paintings may well shop the world.

Adorno Reframed is not just a complete creation to the reader coming to Adorno for the 1st time via targeted dialogue of artistic endeavors, novels, motion pictures and tune, yet a big second look of this founding father of the Frankfurt university. motivated by way of Kant, Hegel, Freud, Marx, Nietzche and Kierkegaard, Adorno used to be a searing critic of the formal, reductive rationality of the Enlightenment and of modernity. Unafraid to discuss human nature, undaunted via dogmas relating to cultural building, Adorno enjoyed paintings that hurts, that challenged the existing tradition of the day and resisted the controlled, commodified pseudo-happiness of ‘administered society’. protecting the independence of the flora and fauna and the particularity of the human person, for Adorno actual genuine paintings used to be a defiant refusal to subordinate the materiality of the area and the lived fact of human task to the imperatives of social totality.

Making his idea available via a wealth of concrete illustrations, many drawn from Adorno himself, Geoffrey Boucher recasts Adorno as a progressive whose anthropological imaginative and prescient of the human situation, feel of subversive irony and profoundly ancient aesthetics defended the integrity of the person opposed to the commodified tradition industries that offer unsatisfying shopper ‘happiness’. Grounding Adorno’s social philosophy and aesthetic concept in contextualised research of artists starting from Stockhausen and Kafka to David Lynch and Brett Easton-Ellis, Adorno Reframed takes its topic from interwar modernity into the postmodern and feminist current to check the legacy and impact of Adorno’s radical modernism and his trust that artwork was once within the base line the way to focus on, no longer break out, fact.

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Extra resources for Adorno Reframed: Interpreting Key Thinkers for the Arts (Contemporary Thinkers Reframed)

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50 Adorno Reframed It becomes an escapist compensation that, when wished for as escapism, responds to a deeply regressive longing for totality with authoritarian implications, suggesting a sort of individual who is oriented to social conformity rather than individual autonomy. At the same time, the individual who refuses to fit in becomes a rarity, because powerful forces conditioning the socialisation of conformist personalities are present in childhoods regulated by the combination of administered schooling and the culture industries.

The everyday, normal world of reified objectivity and instrumental manipulation, the result of scientific neutrality, supposedly expresses no subjectivity whatsoever. Yet it appears as startlingly distorted once the subjectivity that really animates it is expressed in its objective forms. Wiene’s set makes it appear as if all of a sudden the buildings of the real world announced visibly that they were the result of accepting domination as natural. The stylised characterisation of gesture and interaction of the actors, together with their disordered appearance, reflect human subjectivity in extremis, confronted by apparently overwhelming forces that seek to externally direct individuals and negate human freedom.

The fertility of Adorno’s philosophy for contemporary thinking is not restricted to his aesthetics, but embraces significant questions about the nature of modernity and rational justifications for hope. We must not imagine that locating Adorno in the context of interwar Expressionism and postwar Neo-Expressionism fatally dates his thinking. Adorno is right up-to-date in the context of postmodernism. In fact, in his critique of ‘Adorno as the Devil’, contemporary philosopher Jean-François Lyotard regards Adorno as his most serious opponent within the postmodern condition (Lyotard, 1974: 136).

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Adorno Reframed: Interpreting Key Thinkers for the Arts by Geoff Boucher
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