Aisthesis: Scenes from the Aesthetic Regime of Art

Jacques Ranciere, trans. from the French by Zakir Paul. Verso (Norton, dist.), $29.95 (304p) ISBN 978-1-78168-089-6
Eminent French philosopher Ranciere (The Politics of Aesthetics) focuses on various regimes of art, from 1764 to 1941, brought about by realignments in the cultural conception of what, precisely, qualifies as art. Besides highlighting a pattern of alteration within the artistic landscape, he concentrates on the contention between aesthetics and politics. While emphasis remains on the overarching system of change, individual artistic spectacles—from the Belvedere Torso sculpture to renowned acrobats, the Hanlon-Lees Brothers—are cited in extensive detail. Unveiled via passages from critics or other commentators, the individual works of art, events in art, and artists are examined by Ranciere alongside the commentary each inspired. For instance, he contextualizes both sculptor Auguste Rodin and Rodin enthusiast Ranier Maria Rilke within a regime which "gives the fragment...the value of the whole." The book persistently reveals reversals, upheavals, and rebirths in widespread perceptions of art, along with how and why these become displaced. While Ranciere does not take for granted his readers' intimate knowledge of the works discussed, he moves with swiftness and familiarity through dense historical settings, and those who already possesses a working knowledge of art theory and history will most readily absorb his astute observations. (June)
Reviewed on: 07/01/2013
Release date: 06/01/2013
Open Ebook - 176 pages - 978-1-78168-309-5
Paperback - 304 pages - 978-1-78168-308-8
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