Suzi Gablik

The Nature of Beauty in Contemporary Art

Suzi Gablik has discussions with Thomas Moor and James Hillman.

Here is an excerpt.

Suzi: In our culture, the notion of art being in service to anything is anathema. Aesthetics doesn’t serve anything but itself and its own ends.

I would like that to change. When Hilton Kramer says that the minute you try to make art serve anything, you’re in a fascistic mode’well, I don’t believe that.

Hillman: I’d like to defend the cleaning of the river, for a moment. I’m going back to what you said a little earlier: it’s the attempt to put art in the service of something.

Suzi: Yes, that’s where the issue is.

Hillman: Art in the service of something. If we say that it’s life, and if we think, for instance, of the Balinese village where everything is made to be functional and useful, for celebrations or ceremonies… you’re still in service to the gods, somehow. Now we don’t have that we’ve wiped the gods out… So the god that art now serves is the god that dominates the culture, which is the god of commodity, of money. So it is in service, it’s in service to gods we don’t approve of… Now suppose the question doesn’t become what art should do, but rather how do we find that which art should serve? Art is already in service, so we could perhaps change that to which it is in service?

Suzi: So the question is what could art better serve than the things it has been serving, like bourgeois capitalism, throughout our lifetimes?

Hillman: Right! And I think the artist in the river is serving a different god.

To relate it back to the themes here, what it we replaced the word Art with Net? I see them as both mediating soul. However for it to be of the sort of art they are advocating here it is not all the net that works this way… have we wiped the gods out of the Net?

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