The Philistine Controversy

Overview

Conventionally, the philistine is assumed to have no value for art and culture. But in this fascinating re-evaluation of its excluded identity, Dave Beech and John Roberts address the philistine not as an empirical phenomenon but as a relational category that operates between art and anti-art, aesthetics and anti-aesthetics, arguing that the philistine cuts to the very core of the predicament of art in a divided culture. In this they develop what they call a 'counter-intuitive' notion of the philistine, claiming ...
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Overview

Conventionally, the philistine is assumed to have no value for art and culture. But in this fascinating re-evaluation of its excluded identity, Dave Beech and John Roberts address the philistine not as an empirical phenomenon but as a relational category that operates between art and anti-art, aesthetics and anti-aesthetics, arguing that the philistine cuts to the very core of the predicament of art in a divided culture. In this they develop what they call a 'counter-intuitive' notion of the philistine, claiming that what the philistine tells us about cultural division and exclusion is more persuasive than the theories of the popular and the 'otherly-cultured' in cultural studies and postmodernism. The 'counter-intuitive' philistine, they contest, returns the cultural debate to the problems of the persistence of power, privilege and symbolic violence. Asserting that the relations between power and art have been undertheorized in recent studies, Beech and Roberts find their critical resources in the least likely place: not in the 'best of things,' but in that which has 'no proper place.'

Author Biography: Dave Beech is an artist and writer. His work was shown recently in the Century City exhibition at Tate Modern and he contributes regularly to Art Monthly and Everything. John Roberts is the author of The Art of Interruption: Realism, Photography and the Everyday, the editor of Art Has No History!: The Making and Unmaking of Modern Art, and a regular contributor to Radical Philosophy, Historical Materialism and The Oxford Art Journal.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781859843741
  • Publisher: Verso Books
  • Publication date: 6/1/2002
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.89 (d)

Meet the Author

John Roberts is Professor of Art and Aesthetics at the University of Wolverhampton. His books include The Art of Interruption: Realism, Photography and the Everyday; The Philistine Controversy (with Dave Beech), Philosophizing the Everyday, and The Necessity of Errors. He is also a contributor to Radical Philosophy, Oxford Art Journal, Historical Materialism, Third Text, and Cabinet magazine. He lives in London.

Malcolm Bull is a theorist and art historian who teaches at Oxford. His books include Seeing Things Hidden, The Mirror of the Gods, and Anti-Nietzsche. He is on the editorial board of New Left Review and writes for the London Review of Books.

Esther Leslie is a lecturer in English and Humanities at Birkbeck College, London. She is the author of Walter Benjamin: Overpowering Conformism and sits on the editorial boards of Historical Materialism, Radical Philosophy and Revolutionary History.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements
The Philistine Controversy: Introduction 1
Pt. 1 The New Left Review debate
Spectres of the Aesthetic 13
The Ecstasy of Philistinism 48
Confessions of a 'New Aesthete': A Response to the 'New Philistines' 73
Against Voluptuous Bodies: Of Satiation Without Happiness 103
Tolerating Impurities: An Ontology, Genealogy and Defence of Philistinism 125
Another Third Way? 161
Pt. 2 Philistine Modes of Attention
The Sadeian Aesthetic: A Critical View 175
Philistines and Art Vandals Get Upset 201
When Art Works Crack(le) 228
The Legions of the Blind: The Philistine and Cultural Studies 255
The Philistine and the Logic of Negation 272
Notes on Contributors 300
Index 301
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