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Violent Embrace

Art and Aesthetics after Representation

renee c. hoogland

Publication Year: 2014

Instead of asking questions about the symbolic meaning or underlying "truth" of a work of art, renee c. hoogland is concerned with the actual "work" that it does in the world (whether intentionally or not). Why do we find ourselves in tears in front of an abstract painting? Why do some cartoons of the prophet Muhammad generate worldwide political outrage? What, in other words, is the compelling force of visual images, even--or especially--if they are nonfigurative, repulsive, or downright "ugly"? Rather than describing, analyzing, and interpreting artworks, hoogland approaches art as an event that obtains on the level of actualization, presenting "retellings" of specific artistic events in the light of recent interventions in aesthetic theory, and proposing to conceive of the aesthetic encounter as a potentially disruptive, if not violent, force field with material, political, and practical consequences.

Published by: Dartmouth College Press

Title Page, About the Series, Other Works in the Series, Frontispiece, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. xi-xii

The larger part of this book was written during a sabbatical leave from Wayne State University—for which I was and remain grateful. Additional material support was provided by the English Department at Wayne State University, which granted me a Josephine Nevins Keal Fellowship during the summer of 2012. My thanks extend to Hilary Ratner, the vice president for research, and...


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pp. xiii-xvi

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Introduction: Visuality, Cultural Literacy, and the Affective Turn

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pp. 1-18

And so it goes. With individual thinkers, as much as with movements, or indeed with moods in thinking itself. While often dismissed as mere fads or trends that one may or may not resist, shifts or “turns” in critical thinking happen with a certain irregularity, marking emergent moods that allow for (or that enforce) a “whole other image” of thought. This book finds its beginnings in...

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1 | Artistic Activity: Dialogism, Aesthesis, and Corporeality

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pp. 19-39

In one of his early essays, “Supplement: The Problem of Content, Material, and Form in Verbal Art” (1924; hereafter “CMF”), the Russian literary scholar and philosopher M. M. Bakhtin (1895–1975) describes the author-creator of a work of art as a “constitutive moment in artistic form.”1 As such, the personality of the author-creator is “both invisible and inaudible” and is organized and experienced...

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2 | Violent Becomings: From the informe and the Abject to Uncontrollable Beauty

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pp. 40-62

On September 16, 2001, five days after the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, the controversial German composer Karlheinz Stockhausen (1928–2007) gained unprecedented fame, or notoriety, far beyond the relatively narrow circles of avant-garde music lovers, by describing the events of 9/11 as the “greatest work of art of all time.”1 Widely dismissed as highly “distasteful, tactless...

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3 | Neo-Aesthetics and the Study of the Arts of the Present

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pp. 63-88

As more than one critic has noted, aesthetics has, since Kant, suffered from what Deleuze calls in The Logic of Sense (hereafter LS) a “wrenching duality.”1 On one hand, Kant uses the term “aesthetics” to define the objective element of sensation, the theory of sensibility as the form of possible experience, which critically rests on the a priori forms of time and space—this is the...

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4 | The Groundless Realities of Art Photography

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pp. 89-112

If there is one form of visual cultural production that at once marks the rise of commodity culture and that lends itself to co-optation in and by an increasingly market-driven art world so as to become highly lucrative Business Art, it would be the prototypical mode of mechanical image reproduction: photography. True, the work of photographers like Richard Barnes today unabashedly...

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5 | The Ruse of the Ruins, or: Detroit’s Nonreal Estate

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pp. 113-137

In the summer of 2009, Time launched “Assignment Detroit,” the media conglomerate’s yearlong reporting project on what was hailed as a “city in crisis—but with potential for a big comeback.” The project ended on November 11, 2010, with a final blog installment titled “The Future of Detroit: How to Shrink a City.” A quote from John Huey’s exuberant editorial of September 24, 2009, suggests...

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6 | Visualizing the Face: Face Value and dévisage

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pp. 138-158

In her encounter with the liveried footmen in chapter 6 of Alice in Wonderland (see figure 6.1), Alice, with her usual yet uncanny perspicacity, returns us to the paradox of visual reality, of the actuality of our experience in a world that is at once, and primarily, perceptible and yet, albeit it not necessarily, potentially intelligible as well. Defying St. Thomas’s earlier cited claim that seeing is...

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Conclusion: Lines of Flight and the Emergence of the New

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pp. 159-180

I started this book by situating myself in a moment—a mood, a concatenation of events, with both theoretical and practical dimensions. The event, in a Deleuzian sense, is “unlimited becoming.” This idea is one of the principal targets of Alain Badiou’s (in)famous critique of Deleuze.1 Rather than a philosopher of multiplicity, Badiou takes Deleuze’s distinctly vitalist perspective, the...


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pp. 181-198


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pp. 199-208


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pp. 209-216

E-ISBN-13: 9781611684926
E-ISBN-10: 1611684927
Print-ISBN-13: 9781611684902

Page Count: 248
Publication Year: 2014