Intellectual Paradigms + Thinkers I

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Published on 22 Jun 2011
School
UTSG
Department
Art
Course
FAH102H1
Professor
FAH102H1
Week 5, June 16 2011
Critical Thinkers + Intellectual Paradigms
-various theories that have PROMPTED new art historian practices
-Marx, Freud + psychoanalysis, Postcolonialism
Theory + Art History
-theory = basis of action. Eg. This method is based on this theory ..
-explanation of how phenomena work
-POSITIVISM:
-just the facts, no interpretations
-looks at scientific facts, not social/culturalinfluences/distractions
-highly descriptive accounts of artworks + artist bios. Comes prior to interpretation. Often
claims to be more factual
-“a theory in itself”
-critique: it’s imposible to separate positivism completely from contexts; it looks at
individuals (eg. This person created this work, and therefore work reflects him/her)
Theory + Methodology:
-Theory: the process of formulating research questions
-Methodology: set of procedures/ways of answering those questions
-Iverson, Melville: purpose determines the purpose of the study.
-few art historians work with a single theory
-Harris: theory is also needed to allow us to invent + mobilize forms of argument +
procedures required in forming alternatives to the dominant practice
-theory is a tool which we have to grapple anew each time we use it
MARXISM:
-Socialist theories
-Marx + Engels, predominantly
-history, culture, AND economics. Marxism does not always equal Communist
government => it is a broader framework for art history
-Das Kapital: exploitation of workers’ labour; The Communist Manifesto: the history of
society is the history of class struggles (under Capitalism)
-bourgeoisie (own the means of production) vs. proletariat (workers)
-economy = base, which determines the superstructure (forms of society + the state)
-**art is used by dominant class to motivate + control lower classes; lower classes can
also use art to challenge dominant
-art is not limited to geniuses; anyone is capable
-how does Capitalism survive if it is so oppressive?
-Gramsci: theory of cultural longevity. Cultural hegemony.
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-> dominant groups in society maintain their control by ensuring spontaneous
consent of subordinates who willingly support in their own oppression
->persuades subordinate classes of “beneficial, true ideologies
-subordinates can build on cultural hegemony IF they mobilize enough resources
-Althusser, 1960s: ideology was just as important as economy in determining social
forms
-capitalist societies use two means of perpetuating ideology:
1) oppression:
2) ideology: persuading ppl that a system is just/beneficial
-Repressive State Apparatus: (governmental institutions) + Ideological State Apparatus
(education, religion, family)
The Frankfurt School
-Adorno: ways art can coerce the subordinate classes
-“Enlightenment as mass deception”
-Capitalist society produces cheap, standardized art deadens ppl’s minds and makes them
focus on “false” needs (materialism), nottrue needs (creativity, fulfilling self
potentials, etc.)
FREUD + PSYCHOANALYSIS
-treating emotional disorders, philosophy of human/social consciousness
-verbal slips, dreams, jokes, free association
-viewer vs. image, nature of creativity of the art itself
-repressed desire = root of human civilization
Repression
-“the unconscious = place of unfulfilled desires
-weunleash” them through sublimation (socially accepted ways of outletting those
desires)
-neurosis: the need to work represses the desire for fun => if that is too much for us, it
makes us neurotic
-libido: psychic/sexual energy: children grow through oral, anal, + phallic stage
->Oedipus + Electra complex: child’s unconscious desire to possess the opposite-
sex parent + eliminate their same sex parent
-as the child grows, thesecomplexes split into three parts:
1) Id: desire principle, demands immediate gratification
2) Ego: better grasp of “reality, finds ways to satisfy needs through normal
means -> projection, rationalization, displacement. The individual is a SELF, not
amalgamation of desires + urges
3) Superego: uses guilt + rules to enforce rules + suppress the Id
-> The conscience: what is right wrong. Forces ego to inhibit the id
-> the ego-ideal: aims at individual’s path of life towards ideals of society
-the psyche attempts to make up for the loss of “perfect life
-“split-self”
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Document Summary

Various theories that have prompted new art historian practices. This method is based on this theory Highly descriptive accounts of artworks + artist bios. Critique: it"s imposible to separate positivism completely from contexts; it looks at individuals (eg. this person created this work, and therefore work reflects him/her) Methodology: set of procedures/ways of answering those questions. Iverson, melville: purpose determines the purpose of the study. Few art historians work with a single theory. Harris: theory is also needed to allow us to invent + mobilize forms of argument + procedures required in forming alternatives to the dominant practice. Theory is a tool which we have to grapple anew each time we use it. Marxism does not always equal communist government => it is a broader framework for art history. Das kapital: exploitation of workers" labour; the communist manifesto: the history of society is the history of class struggles (under capitalism) Bourgeoisie (own the means of production) vs. proletariat (workers)