Against Voluptuous Bodies: Late Modernism and the Meaning of Painting

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The aim of this book is to provide an account of modernist painting that follows on from the aesthetic theory of Theodor W. Adorno. It offers a materialist account of modernism with detailed discussions of modern aesthetics from Kant to Arthur Danto, Stanley Cavell, and Adorno. It discusses in detail competing accounts of modernism: Clement Greenberg, Michael Fried, Yve-Alain Bois, and Thierry de Duve; and it discusses several painters and artists in detail: Pieter de Hooch, Jackson Pollock, Robert Ryman, Cindy Sherman, and Chaim Soutine. Its central thesis is that modernist painting exemplifies a form of rationality that is an alternative to the instrumental rationality of enlightened modernity. Modernist paintings exemplify how nature and the sociality of meaning can be reconciled.

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User Review  - mccallco - LibraryThing

This is a good book...IF one is at least somewhat familiar with Adorno's aesthetic theory and current debates in art theory and criticism (in particular, the works of T.J. Clark, Michael Fried, and ... Read full review


Wax Brick and BreadApotheoses of Matter
Kant Clement Greenberg
Stanley Cavell

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About the author (2006)

J. M. Bernstein is University Distinguished Professor of Philosophy, New School for Social Research.

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