The market in meaning

If, as Boris Groys suggests, art has definitively become discourse, then the position I laid out in the previous post must seem pretty rearguard to some. Actually, it isn’t clear yet whether the transition from objects to discourses has been completed; if it is then my position is a critique of the new order, not a defense of a conservative modernism. At this point I’m missing the contribution of David Court, a strong defender of art as discourse.

There’s always a lot of talk about how the abstract painting is the ultimate commodity; I think rather that meaning now fills that role. Meaning has become a “take-away,” as in “these are the five points that I take away from your presentation.” On the other hand I’m very aware that the suggestion I made to suspend understanding and open up to non-conceptual experience is also an opening to the anti-intellectual strand in modernism. But the downfall of those people is that in place of discourse all they can present is beauty or aesthetics, and they’re easily spotted because their work is derivative. To empty out ideas and void aesthetics both is the right way, so the intellect has to be active. The previous post was motivated by the understanding that Arianna Huffington’s wise words are entirely hostile to art, but then if one fights against abstract generalities one will die by the same. Better to stick to concrete features of particular works.

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