Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Michael S. Roth, Wesleyan University President

Michael S. Roth, Wesleyan University President, claim that the idea of "the modern" develops at the end of the 18th century and how being modern became one of the crucial criteria for understanding and evaluating cultural change during the last two hundred years.

The Modern and the Postmodern traces the intertwining of the idea of modernity with the idea of art or culture from the late 18th century until the present. Beginning with the Enlightenment, Western cultures have invested heavily in the notion that the world can be made more of a home for human beings through the development of culture (and technology). Throughout this period there has also developed a strong, sophisticated counter-movement that sees the Enlightenment effort as a disaster – destructive of both art and of the world.

The Western idea of modernity is linked to but not the same as the idea of modernism.
Modernism in painting is often identified since the work of the great art critic Clement Greenberg now more than 50 years ago.

A modernism is often identified as a movement in aesthetics that calls attention to the artwork's own status as an artwork. In this case, the paintings own painterliness.

It is not, the painting isn't just a way of seeing the world, the painting is an object itself.

The way in which the painting, calls our attention to its status as art. Rather than trying just to give us a moment of entertainment by letting we look into the world and that reflects of dimension.

Art talking about its own artiness or art talking about its own aesthetic dimensions that will be part of the modernist stream right into the middle of the 20th century.

There are lots of ways of defining modernism, but one of the most important ways is the investigation within a medium of the most important qualities of the medium you're working in.

In painting will often be an exploration of painting itself, even though the object may be different.

Whatever the subject is, the painting also is an exploration of painting, of painterliness of the canvas.

That reflexive dimension, art commenting on art, is part of modernism from the last quarter of the 19th century, the last half of the 19th century up through the middle of the 20th century.

The modernist had a critical relationship to bourgeois or conventional culture.

Trying to find the angle on the world that would allow you to see it properly, to see it as it really is, to see it in a fundamental way, this would be characteristic of a modernist art project.

You can't just see it any old way. You're seeing it in a critical way to reveal what's wrong or what's shaky about. The conventions of seeing and acting normally. And you’re seeing in a way that should lead you to a core truth.

Pollock create a new process for painting making, by dripping the paint on the floor on the canvas is to intensifying the act of painting.

This kind of incredible rush of energy to the surface of the painting and that sense that the surface of the painting is just a clinging to its own existence.

But Pollock in doing this is an example of a modernist, an artist on a quest for, a painting surface that is adequate to the energy of the modern age.

And a painterly service that is adequate to the energy of his own psyche.

Pollock was an artist who was trying to dredge up from himself the kind of, the core elemental energetics a fantasy and desire, exploding into the making of painting.

And this is a post-World War II painting that tried to be alive to the energy of the world out there and alive to the tormented energy of the internal world as well. But, in both cases, trying to get beyond convention, get beyond polite painting. Get beyond polite society. Get beyond bourgeois norms, to something both more intense and perhaps more fragile, by producing this, offering a critique of the kind of eye candy and easy to look at work that one might find in corporate showrooms or family living rooms or in advertising.

Pollock offering something that would be challenging to the status quo. But also offering something that would really get at the really real. And he arrives at these drip paintings, he's arrived at one of the final stops of modernism.

Pollock is looking for essence not irony he's looking in within modernism.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

The philosophical discourse of modernity

Habermas, Jürgen – The philosophical discourse of modernity. Texto Editora, 2010.

The word "modernization" was introduced as a "terminus" only in the 50. The concept of modernization refers to a bundle of cumulative processes that reinforce each other: capital formation and mobilization of resources, the development of productive forces and the increase in labor productivity, the establishment of centralized political power and the formation of national identities, the expansion of rights of political participation, urban life forms and formal school education refers to the secularization of values ​​and norms.

The first philosopher to develop the concept of modernity was Hegel. We have to go back to Hegel to understand what the internal relationship between modernity [Modernitat] and rationality. Hegel began to use the concept of modernity in historical contexts as epochal concept: the "new times" are the "modern times". This corresponded to contemporary usage in English and French of the terms "modern times" and "temps modernes"; designate by 1800 the previous three centuries. The discovery of the "New World" as well as the Renaissance and the Reformation – the three great events around 1500 – is the epochal transition between the Middle Ages and the Modern Age. While the Christian West the "new times" appointed time yet to come to the man that opened only after the Final Judgment, the profane concept of the modern age expresses the conviction that the future has already begun, the mean epoch headed for the living future, which opened the new things that are to come. Thus, the caesura of the start of new shifts to the past, precisely to the beginning of the modern age; was only in the XVIII century that historical threshold to 1500 wheel was retrospectively recognized as being in reality this beginning.

The new world, the modern world differs from the old in that it is open to the future. Hegel also believes "our time" as "the most recent season". Places the beginning of his present caesura in the Enlightenment and the French Revolution represent for men with more discernment living at the end of the XVIII century and beginning of the XIX century.

It is initially in the field of aesthetic criticism that we are aware of the problem of a foundation of modernity from itself, and this becomes clear when one traces the history of the concept of "modern". The separation process paradigm of ancient art starts at the beginning of the XVIII century famous by the Querelle des Anciens et des Modernes. The modern call into question, with arguments of critical historical sense of imitation of ancient models, according to the standards of absolute beauty, seemingly disconnected from time, draw up the criteria for a beautiful and conditioned by time and thus articulate self-understanding of the French Enlightenment, as an epochal beginning. While the modernist noun (along with the antithetical antiqui / moderni) were used in a chronological sense since late antiquity in European languages ​​of the modern age just too late, more or less, from the midle of XIX century, the modern adjective noun was, and again for the first time in the field of Fine Arts. This explains why the terms modernity, moderne, modernitat, modernity, even today retain a kernel of aesthetic significance marked by self-understanding of avant-garde art.

For Baudelaire aesthetic experience blended with the historical experience of modernity. In basic experience of aesthetic modernity is becoming more acute the problem of self-justification, because here the temporal horizon of experience is reduced to the decentered subjectivity, which departs from the conventions of everyday life. That is why to Baudelaire the modern work of art occupies a unique position at the intersection of the axes of today and eternity. Modernity is the transitory, the fugitive, the contingent, is one half of art the other half being the eternal and the immutable. This understanding of time, radicalized again by the surrealism, based affinity of modernity with fashion.

Baudelaire says that beauty is formed by an eternal and immutable element and also a relative and circumstantial element, which is represented by the season, the fashion, the spiritual life, the passion. Without this second element, which is like the bright and attractive cover that opened the appetite for divine cake, the first element would be indigestible to human nature. Baudelaire, in his capacity as an art critic in modern painting highlights the aspect of beauty fleeting, ephemeral gift of life, the nature of what the reader allows us designate by modernity. Baudelaire wrote the word modernity between quotes because it is fully aware that this word is new and is a terminology used in a particular way thus the authentic work is radically attached to the moment he is born; precisely because it consumes at present is that it can stop the steady stream of trivia, disrupt normalcy and indulge for a moment, the moment of ephemeral eternal fusion with the current, the immortal longing for beauty.

The eternal beauty is revealed only in disguise costume of the time; Walter Benjamin refers to this later using the expression of the dialectical image. A modern masterpiece is marked by the union of authentic with the ephemeral. This character of the current also underlies the affinity between art and fashion, with what is new.

Hegel is the first to raise the category of philosophical problem separation process of modernity normative cues from the past that are external. While modernity awakens to a consciousness of itself it comes a need for self-certification, which is understood by Hegel as the need of philosophy. He sees confronted with the task of translating the thoughts in your own time, for Hegel means modern day philosophy. Hegel is convinced that somehow can’t grasp the concept that philosophy makes itself without regard to the philosophical concept of modernity.

For Hegel modern times are characterized in general by a structure of self-relation what he calls subjectivity: the principle of the modern world in general is freedom of subjectivity. When Hegel characterizes the physiognomy of modern times (or the modern world) explains subjectivity through freedom and reflection. What gives grandeur to our time is the recognition of freedom, ownership of the spirit, the recognition that the spirit itself is being with you. In this context the term subjectivity mainly involves four connotations: a) individualism in the modern world infinitely particular peculiarity may assert their claims; b) right of criticism, the principle of the modern world requires that it should be recognized by every one if he presents himself as something legitimate; c) autonomy of action, is characteristic of modern times that we want to blame us for what we do; d) finally, the very idealist philosophy, Hegel considers task of modern times which philosophy perceives the idea that knows itself. Historical events key to the establishment of the principle of subjectivity are the Reformation, the Enlightenment and the French Revolution. With Luther's religious faith has become reflexive in the solitude of subjectivity the divine world transformed into something postulated by us. Against the faith and tradition of preaching Protestantism proclaims the sovereignty of the subject that makes it worth its discretion. Soon after the Declaration of Human Rights and the Napoleonic Code consecrate, to the detriment of the historic law, the principle of free will as a substantial foundation of the state, it is considered that the law and ethics were grounded in this land of the will of man since previously only a divine commandment emanating from outside, written in the Old and New Testament .

The principle of subjectivity determines moreover the settings of modern culture. This is what happens in the first place, with science objectively that undresses the Nature of magic and simultaneously releases the knowing subject: then challenged –  all miracles; because Nature is now a system of laws known and recognized, the man feels good inside her and only tells what he feels right; knowledge of Nature becomes free .

Modern art reveals its essence in romanticism; the form and content of romantic art are determined by an absolute interiority. The expressive self-realization becomes the principle of art that presents itself as a way of life.

In modernity therefore religious moral life, state and society as well as science, and art became so many incarnations of the principle of subjectivity. Its structure is enclosed as such in philosophy, namely as an abstract subjectivity in cogito ergo sum of Descartes, in the form of absolute self-consciousness in Kant. It is the structure of the self-respect of the knowing subject which focuses on you as on an object to understand as precisely reflected in a mirror, a speculative attitude picture.

To the extent that the theory of modernity is guided by the basic concepts of the philosophy of reflection, knowledge of the concepts of awareness and self-consciousness, it becomes evident the internal connection of this theory with the concept of reason or rationality.