art history

art historical

In the late nineteenth century, with the rise of a philosophically oriented art history, the philosophical issues of how we perceive space gave way to the psychological problem of how we come to take delight in the characteristics of formand space. The philosophical art historians sought the "basic principles," (Grundbegriffe ) underlying the creation and appreciation of art, and their historical transformations. 

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For Poggioli, futurism defines one central aspect of the avant-garde, which in Ortega Y Gasset's words, is that the historical task of the contemporary artist is to "work in the present for the future". In this "historical mythology of contemporary art" the work of the avant-garde presents the shape of things to come. Poggioli differentiates between the actual artistic movement of Futurism and that movement's claim to the concept of the avant-garde. For Poggioli,Futurism "possessed in its name the most successful and suggestive formula thought up by the avant-garde" but the movement "was one of the lowliest and vulgar manifestations of avant-garde culture" (p.143) If real futurism is dead forever, ideal futurism is still living, precisely because it renews itself in the consciousness of each successive avant-garde. (p.223). Reyner Banham also enthusiastically described the Futurist example and its exaltation of speed while distancing himself from its politics. 

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critical history

In The Critical Historians of Art, Michael Podro distinguishes questions that are "archaeological" from "critical" questions. The latter, which address the role and nature of concepts of art, "require us to see how the products of art sustain purposes and interests which are both irreducible to the conditions of their emergence as well as inextricable from them." (pxviii)

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In the late nineteenth century, the concept of Einfühlung , as "feeling into," was proposed by Rudolph Lotz and Wilhelm Wundt. E. G. Tichener, a student of Wundt, coined the English translation "empathy" in 1910, using the Greek root pathos for feeling and the prefix em for in. Empathy was developed as an aesthetic theory in the work of Theodore Lipps and others. 

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inside / outside

In the early phase of antique art, the pyramid's clearly recognizable and completely detached exterior form, with its suppression of interior space and entry, serves to illustrate the desire to suppress space. Even when space was more practically necessary than in the tomb, the Egyptians were artistically reluctant to create it. Even vast spaces, such as Karnak, were filled with individual columns, and openings in the exterior walls were kept to the barest minimum. 

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Modernity can be thought of 

1. as a category of historical periodization: a distinct period in time.
2. as a quality of social experience, ("our" modernity), and as the experience of a qualitative difference in historical time. 
3. as a project, which is perhaps incomplete. (Habermas, Foucault, Deleuze (?) ) Perhaps also as a crisis. 

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popular culture

In " Avant-Garde and Kitsch", Clement Greenberg describes a second new cultural phenomenon that appeared in the industrial West: Kitsch. For Greenberg, the new urban masses lost their taste for the folk culture of the countryside, discovered a new capacity for boredom, and set up a pressure on society to provide them with a culture fit for their own consumption. For Greenberg, Kitsch is produced by a rationalized technique that draws on science and industry and erases the values that permit distinctions between good and bad art. 

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According to Sun Ra "Space is the place".

"The fascination which space seems to hold for philosophy is only equalled by the fascination which the idea of system holds for architects." (Christian Girard, Architecture et Concepts Nomades, p.72)

(cf. Roland Barthes' distinction between l'esprit de syst me and l'esprit syst matique .)

In this document, space is no longer considered unitary, as having a single essence, concept, or function. This is perhaps an indication of an outlook that is suspicious of the repressive ambition of a universal space which suppresses multiplicities, catastrophes, and incommensurabilities. One way to break with strategy is to fragment space. A typological approach to space in architecture, and a sensitivity to metaphor as crucial to theorization, indicate a move away from a singular concept of either space or theory.

The following taxonomy of spaces is a mixture of disciplinary divisions (art history, philosophy, etc.), technological divisions (writing, Cyberspace), territorial divisions (urban space), and subjective divisions (psycho-sexual, personal).

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Inherent to the concept of style is an idea of historical necessity. A true style, like the Baroque of the seventeenth century, is not copied from a previous epoch, but arises out of some structural necessity, out of the manifest needs of man and society. "Style is, above all, a system of forms with a quality and meaningful expression through which the personnality of the artist and the broad outlook of a group are visible." (Meyer Shapiro, Style, in M. Philipson Ed., Aesthetics Today, p.137) (cf morphology) Style is an essential object of study for the historian of art. For the synthesizing historian of culture or the philosopher of history, style is the manifestation of the culture as a whole, the visible sign of its unity. The style reflects or projects the "inner form" of collective thinking and feeling. 

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In "The Mass Ornament", Siegfried Kracauer claims that "An analysis of the simple surface manifestations of an epoch can contribute more to determining its place in the historical process than judgements of the epoch about itself," and that "the very unconscious nature of surface manifestations allows for direct access to an understanding of these conditions." 

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