Summer 2021: Independent Study, Art and Aesthetics

Beuys, I love America and America Loves Me


We will read and discuss major contributions to aesthetics and philosophy of art in the phenomenological, hermeneutical and critical theory traditions.


Very brief introductions/questions to/for each session, open discussion of the texts.


To gain “some” understanding of major 20th Century contributions to art and aesthetics.


These sessions neither can replace a thorough study of the authors discussed nor do they go beyond the surface of their thoughts.


Mondays, 11am-12:30pm, EST, Detroit


The Zoom link will be distributed via email.


Texts will be sent out via email/pdf


Paper, submitted by the end of summer

Schedule (tentative)

Hermeneutics & Phenomenology

May 17, Gadamer
Gadamer, The Relevance of the Beautiful, pp.1-56 (essay)

May 24, Gadamer
Gadamer, The Relevance of the Beautiful, pp.74-83; 92-105; 105-116; 116-131

May 31, Cassirer
Cassirer, Art, in: Essay on Man, 176-217
Voluntary: Langer, The Making of the Symbol, in Feeling and Form, 45-120

June 7, Heidegger
Heidegger, The Work of Art, 143-182 (leave out the last subsection of the essay)

June 14, Merleau-Ponty
Merleau-Ponty, Cezanne’s Doubt (in: The Merleau-Ponty Reader)

June 21, Merleau-Ponty
Merleau-Ponty, Eye and Mind (in: The Merleau-Ponty Reader)

Critical Theory

June 28, Benjamin
Benjamin, The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, in Writings, Vol.4
Voluntary: Adorno, Letters to Benjamin & Benjamin, Reply to Adorno (in: Jameson, Aesthetics and Politics)

July 5, Lukacs
Lukacs, Realism in the Balance (in: Jameson, Aesthetics and Politics)
Bloch, Discussing Expressionism (in: Jameson, Aesthetics and Politics)
Voluntary: Adorno, Reconciliation under Duress ( in: Jameson, Aesthetics and Politics)

July 12, Marcuse
Marcuse, The Aesthetic Dimension
Voluntary: Marcuse, The New Sensibility, in: An Essay on Liberation, ch.2
Voluntary: Marcuse, Letters to Chicago Surrealists, in Art and Liberation. Collected Papers of Herbert Marcuse, ch.9

Artists on Art

July 19, Bacon
Bacon, Interviews with Sylvester
Deleuze, Excerpts from Logic of Sensation

Bacon 2021:

July 26, Beuys
Beuys, What is Art? (no pdf)
Voluntary: Lotz, Art = Capital? Reflections on Joseph Beuys’ Das Kapital Raum 1970-1977
Voluntary: Lotz, Representing Capital? Mimesis, Realism, and Contemporary Photography

Beuys 2021:

August 31
Paper due via email