Art speaks a suffering that cannot be spoken in the discursive language of society without losing the truth of its content. One is often disgusted with the modern propensity to provide technocratic or juridical solutions to moral or intellectual problems; in the age of such continuous “ameliorations,” art provides the useless and inassimilable language that does not betray the experiential truth of its meaning. The limitation of this answer to the content of the truth of art is precisely its historicism; suffering is the underbelly of an age of rationally distributed delights. As Adorno instructs, its teleology is immanent and particular, and so art’s identity is distinct in the age of enlightenment from what it might be at other times, at least as a matter of degree.
Can art make eloquent something more profound than the suffering produced by, but excluded from, rational history? Perhaps surprisingly, Adorno gestures toward such a fundament, located precisely in that which modern aesthetic theory is thought to have transcended: natural beauty....
...Art thus strives to make present to us a primordial truth that—while never simple, pure, or “immediate” as the romantics or modern art-religion advocates claim—touches the reality of the human condition buried beneath ideology. Art’s autonomy from modern use reminds us of, or reveals to us, the autonomy of the natural world in whose bosom all human beings uneasily live.
Tuesday, December 01, 2009
Art and Beauty against the Politicized Aesthetic
~more from the Treasonous Clerk, James Matthew Wilson. In First Principles: