Social Theories of Art: A Critique

Social Theories of Art: A Critique

by Ian Heywood


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Social Theories of Art: A Critique by Ian Heywood

Lorenzetti's frescoes in Siena serve as the starting point of Ian Heywood's critical work, as well as the initial occurrence of the recurring city motif which he utilizes to reveal the connections between theory, discourse, language, and modernity. The city, as Heywood shows, is a symbol of collective life and the social bond and is directly related to the equally powerful motif, and question, of language.

Social Theories of Art offers a criticism of influential theoretical work that identifies both the poverty of much contemporary "art theory" and the important but underacknowledged ethical implications of theorizing. Operating through the writings of Becker, Wolff, Bürger, and others, Heywood shows how, despite these theorists' efforts to identify art's distinctive value, their theoretical accounts are degraded by reductionism and social violence. Heywood then broadens his canvas to explore the notion of ethical reflexivity to conclude with a consideration of the gap between the actual and the theoretical aspects of art.

Heywood writes clearly, illuminating the problematic relationship between seminar and studio, and his findings will hold interest for students of art history, fine art, sociology, and philosophy.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780814735312
Publisher: New York University Press
Publication date: 05/01/1998
Pages: 272
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Ian Heywood studied Fine Art at Maidstone College of Art and Social Theory at Goldsmiths College, University of London, and the University of York. He currently teaches Fine Art at Leeds Metropolitan University.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations.- Acknowledgements.- Introduction.- Art's World and the Social World.- Towards a Critical Sociology of Art?.- The Critical Theory of Art: Modernism and Violence Pragmatism, Individuation and Totalisation.- Fields, Movements and Histories.- Varieties of Theory and Practice.- Reflection, Theory and Language Hermeneutics, Aesthetics and Art: Gadamer and Modernism.- Language and the Singularity of Art.- Conclusion.

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