Category: Theories of Art

Leo Löwenthal: On Sociology of Literature. 1948

Source: [easyazon_link identifier=”0878554890″ locale=”US” tag=”mainacademicsite-20″]Literature and Mass Culture. Communication in Society,[/easyazon_link] Volume 1. Leo Lowenthal, published by Transaction Books, 1984. Leo Löwenthal (1900-1993) was a sociologist associated with the Frankfurt School. He began his career by joining the Institute for Social Research in 1927 and became managing editor of its journal Zeitschrift für Sozialforschung. Soon thereafter he migrated to the United States where he held various positions, including research director for Voice of America, the Stanford Center for the Advanced Study of the Behavior Sciences, and finally settled in the department of sociology at the University of California, Berkeley. His...

Wassily Kandinsky: On the problem of form. 1912

“On the Problem of Form,” or: “Über die Formfrage,” was a text written by Wassily Kandinsky for the book Der Blaue Reiter, (The Blue Rider, 1912). It expresses the ideas of a group of artists around  Kandinsky and Franz Marc who lived in Murnau nearby Munich. They formed the core of the movement of Expressionism. In his text, Kandinsky defends the identity of realism and abstraction from an artistic perspective. At the appointed time, necessities become ripe. That is the time when the Creative Spirit (which one can also designate as the Abstract Spirit) finds an avenue to the soul, later to...

Manifesto for an Independent Revolutionary Art. 1938.

Written in 1938, during André Breton’s trip to Mexico, where he visited Leon Trotsky. It is signed by André Breton and Diego Rivera. It is believed that the Manifesto was written by Trotsky and André Breton, although it was signed by Rivera and Breton. The trip to Mexico provided the opportunity for Breton to meet Leon Trotsky. Breton and his friends traveled via a long boat ride from Patzcuaro to the town of Erongaricuaro. Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo were among the visitors to the hidden community of intellectuals and artists. Together, Breton and Trotsky wrote the manifesto Pour un art...

ANDRÉ BRETON: First Surrealist Manifesto, 1924.

André Breton (1896 – 1966) was a French writer, poet, and anti-fascist. He is known as the founder of Surrealism, which he defined as a movement in the First Surrealist Manifesto in 1924. (“Le Manifeste du Surréalisme,” 1924. The following excerpts are quoted from: [easyazon_link identifier=”B01FIY4HTW” locale=”US” tag=”mainacademicsite-20″]Patrick Waldberg: Surrealism[/easyazon_link]. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1971. pp. 66-75.) We are still living under the reign of logic, but the logical processes of our time apply only to the solution of problems of secondary interest. The absolute rationalism which remains in fashion allows for the consideration of only those facts narrowly relevant to our...

Benjamin: The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction. 1936

This text was written in 1936. “Our fine arts were developed, their types and uses were established, in times very different from the present, by men whose power of action upon things was insignificant in comparison with ours. But the amazing growth of our techniques, the adaptability and precision they have attained, the ideas and habits they are creating, make it a certainty that profound changes are impending in the ancient craft of the Beautiful. In all the arts there is a physical component which can no longer be considered or treated as it used to be, which cannot remain...

Adorno: music and language – a fragment

This fragment was written in 1956. it is published in “[easyazon_link identifier=”B004VYF1A0″ locale=”US” tag=”mainacademicsite-20″]Quasi una Fantasia, Essays on Modern Music.” by Theodor W. Adorno[/easyazon_link]. (Translated by Rodney Livingstone), VERSO, London, New York. Adorno compares music and language, and also outlines a theory of modern aesthetics. Here is the text: “Music resembles a language. Expressions such as musical idiom, musical intonation, are not simply metaphors. But music is not identical with language. The resemblance points to something essential, but vague. Anyone who takes it literally will be seriously misled. Music resembles language in the sense that it is a temporal sequence...