Between Art and the Polis

Abstract
In The Man Without Content, Giorgio Agamben makes a few but poignant references to Plato’s understanding of art. Because art’s impact was powerful, Plato deemed art dangerous and subordinated it to politics. In contrast, Agamben argues, modern art enjoys the privilege of formal autonomy at the cost of losing political significance. This essay develops the Platonic dimension in Agamben’s thought: whereas Platonic censorship recognizes art’s power by way of prohibition, the modern culturalist tolerance of art is symptomatic of art’s reduction into commodity and of the public indifference toward it
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