Art, Worlding and the Partisan Review


The non-representational or abstract, if it is to have aesthetic validity, cannot be arbitrary and accidental, but must stem from obedience to some worthy constraint or original

I reading a bunch of old Partisan Review articles this weekend. What is the avant garde? What is Kitch? Right now this distinction does not really matter. There is a distinction between outsider art and ‘insider art’. There is the art world. This is a concept of worlding, rather than value or something intrinsic to the art.  The worlding construct of art is the market, either art is in the art market, and then exists in a sort of hierarchy like some many stocks ranked on market cap or growth or some other quantitative metric, and then art outside the market.  Is this art in a state of exception?

Reading the avant garde, or high art, within marxism one analysis is that art or culture is a creation of the elite. The goal of the art is to perfect expression within the confines of the elite. During late capitalism and perhaps early communism there notion of elite is upended, there is a new creator of culture, the middle class or  bougeoise. The bougeoise can drive its own culture. It also so happened that the working class created its own culture as well, and this is distinct from folk art.

How is the fragmented notion of art, art markets, or art worldings distinct from the historical distinction between folk art and high art or culture?  Why is kitch not folk art, why is working class culture distinct from folk art?  I have no ideas, however I think that the contemporaray art worldings are about the creation of form and value, where as traditional folk art and culture is about the expression of value through existing forms (virtuosity vs innovation). But really this is something I need to sit with longer.  The charge is now for each one of us, working class, middle class, or elite to “forge within the smithy of our souls the uncreated conscious of our race.”

There is recognized in avant-garde art a crises of audience.  This is something I feel I hear in the startup world, and in the creation of products. Who is the audience! As the elite pays less for culture ?

Especially as non representational art, the desire to create something on its own terms, or modernism glorifies the individual will to power (over some expression of universal value), perhaps the only value of avant-garde art is as a template for how an individual can create his own art work, and it is perhaps through art or through personal (idiosyncratic) creation in general (the creation of criticism or companies or software).  The art as content is for an audience of one, the artist, but as a form of being, in so far as it is successful is for everyone to integrate into his or her own praxis while individuating, becoming more conscious, realizing one’s own will to power.


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