Summer 2021: Phl 899 – 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)
Voluntary: Lotz, section on formed images in The Art of Gerhard Richter

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

June 7, Jonas
Jonas, Homo Pictor

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)
Voluntary: Lotz, Husserl, Expressionism, and the Eidetic Impulse in Brücke’s Woodcut

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

Wrap Up

July 19, Wrap up
Please prepare a 2-page reflection/question paper to be distributed by the end of Saturday, July 17

August 31
Paper due via email

Artists on Art [cancelled sessions]

July 26, Bacon
Bacon, Interviews with Sylvester
Voluntary: Deleuze, Excerpts from Logic of Sensation
Voluntary: Lotz, Representation or Sensation? A Critique of Deleuze’s Philosophy of Painting

Bacon 2021:

Aug 2, Beuys
Beuys, What is Art?
Voluntary: Lotz, Art = Capital? Reflections on Joseph Beuys’ Das Kapital Raum 1970-1977
Voluntary: Lotz, Representing Capital? Mimesis, Realism, and Contemporary Photography

Watch Joseph Beuys – wie man dem toten Hasen die Bilder erklärt (Engl. Subs): and

Beuys 2021: