Disinterestedness and Political Art

In Carolyn Korsmeyer (ed.), Aesthetics: The Big Questions. Blackwell. pp. 155-171 (1998)
  Copy   BIBTEX


Can an ordinary viewer ever experience art---particularly politically charged, socially relevant art--in a neutral, detached, and objective way? The familiar philosophical notion of disinterestedness has its roots in eighteenth-century theories of taste and was refined throughout the twentieth century. In contrast, many contemporary theorists have argued for what I call an "interested approach" in order to expand beyond the traditional emphasis on neutrality and universality. Each group, in effect, has argued for the value of a work of art by excluding the other's approach. This essay will consider the legacy of the concept of disinterestedness for contemporary aesthetic theory in light of challenges posed by postmodern skepticism regarding the possibility of disinterestedness, and by the difficulties involved in appreciating political art with a disinterested attitude. My principle example of political art will be drawn from feminist art--the extraordinary and controversial performance art of the French artist, ORLAN. Unlike traditional philosophers, I will advocate that an interested stance toward art is, at times, inevitable and appropriate. I will also argue not only that feminist art--and by extension political art of all kinds--can be experienced disinterestedly, but that it should be. As a position inconsistent with both traditionalists and feminist critics of tradition, my recommendation of both disinterestedness and interestedness affords what I take to be the fullest and fairest experience of a work of art.



External links

  • This entry has no external links. Add one.
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Beyond disinterestedness.Arnold Berleant - 1994 - British Journal of Aesthetics 34 (3):242-254.
Disinterestedness as ideal and as technique.Annette T. Rubinstein - 1931 - Journal of Philosophy 28 (17):461-466.
An alternative to "aesthetic disinterestedness".Jerome Schiller - 1964 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 22 (3):295-302.
Depragmatization - Active Disinterestedness.Sławomir Marzec - 2007 - Art Inquiry. Recherches Sur les Arts 9:41-48.
A note on eighteenth-century "disinterestedness".Marcia Allentuck - 1962 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 21 (1):89-90.


Added to PP

152 (#104,815)

6 months
59 (#50,757)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Peg Brand Weiser
University of Oregon

Citations of this work

Feminist Philosophy of Art.A. W. Eaton - 2008 - Philosophy Compass 3 (5):873-893.

Add more citations

References found in this work

No references found.

Add more references