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past style and its concomitant nostalgic techniques. Instancesof this mutual reliance abound. For example,etching mechanicallyadvanced from engraving, and both were supplanted by lithography . (Artistscontinue to practice all three because each maintainsdistinct resources to be sensitively qualified.) The enormous mushrooming of factories in the industrial revolution was presaged in Guttenburg’sgorgeously printed Bible-movable type as ancestor of the assembly line. Generations of artisticyearnings and chemicalexperiments produced photography, an art whose evidentiaryqualities catapulted science to new levels of empirical precision . The invention of the collapsible (hence portable) paint tube-now used to dispenseeverythingfrom toothpaste to tomato paste-made outdoor painting possible: Impressionism.The piano’s nineteenthcentury high-tech evolution was driven by demands of virtuosity. Movies fulfilledthe agelessdream of cap turing the world’smotion, and film relies on, and has solicited and produced , innumerable technical advances in chemistry,optics and electronics. Yet, today,we hardly notice the techniques of these arts; the functional equipment is transparent to our appreciation of artis tic intelligenceand wit. Novelty is the problem. its own sake,became the industrial-age Cult of Progress. Allied with Romanticism ’sadmiration of originality (authenticity ),the new, the fresh and even the faddish ousted all but the most consciousor reactionarycitations of former artistic technologies. Each generation notes (with suspicionor admiration) the devicesthat purvey its new art and the presentation’srelative conservatism or innovation.Perhaps confusion arises from our uncertainty about the nature of art-since the self-correctingmethod of science represents a mode of exposition or expression but not a unique mode of thinking-which unites art and science through subterranean mental channels (the unconscious). searchfor art’scharacteristicidentityin physical attributes [“Formalism”]cannot sflice. For example,we must decide if economicsurplusproducesart.We tend to associateart with a lot of money-usuallyin propinquitywith power. Single paintingsat auctionsfetch the equivalent of a small country’sgrossnationalproduct . The image of the artworkensconced Change, and the love of mutation for Phenomenologyteaches that the in the splendour of a wealthyprivate home or even a palace is altogetheras commonplaceas it is usually accurate. Furthermore, most people of the world would instantlychoose necessitiesand even necessariesover the acquisition or ownershipof a work or works of art.In all societiesart embodiesa luxuryby virtue of the enormous caloricinvestmentthe communitycontributesto maintaining the apprenticeartist.While the artist makes art, the rest of the society loses that person’s productivecapacity for all other activities. But art is not the p-oductof economic surplus,but its creator. For example,let us imagine two villages subsisting in the same agricultural base and similarpopulations, initially. One of the villages investsall of its assets into capital formation; a good crop means more people survive to till more land and produce bigger crops. All the resources of this village/culture work to expand the base of capital formation. The other village does not reinvest all its wealth in new capital formation but squanders some on rituals related to religion and making artifacts of esthetic enjoyment: art. When disaster strikes, the firstvillage has no way to retrench since all resources are already in use and something-the standard of living, perhaps the health, and perhaps even the population of the village-must be reduced. The secondvillage can stop making art. In short, art is a regulating mechanism.Art can be found in virtually every society,not because art satisfies some unknown human craving but because it allows societiesas a whole to survive.Art is universallyfound because those cultures that lack art die. Their places, their “ecologicalniches”are usurped by societiesthat practice art. ner-science-probes frontiers. Meanwhile, technology (inwhatever form) scrutinisesthe world and creates wealth, changing nature into “resources.” Art regulates,acts as a governor of economic surplus,by keeping societiesfrom overheatingand becoming too intensively capital-forming.As a correlative,young, muscular, efficientsocietiesdo not eventually turn to art-become culturally mature-because they become flaccid, but rather to keep from overheatingand overproducingfor domesticconsump tion. When art no longer automatically evidenceseconomic exploitationbut appearsinstead as the monitor of eco nomic growth-rather than as a (by)productof capital formation-this While art husbands resources,itspartunderstanding (andthe enduring image of the wealthy surrounded by art) opens an inquirythat admits discussions of gender , class, multiculturalism and the d e alienation of postindustrialsociety. Because they mirror...


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