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September 07, 2010



Well, HF proclaims his interest in being "responsive" to changing social/aesthetic contexts in his first paragraph that you quote. So his shiftiness (as you put it)in the next one shouldn't come as a surprise. I'm not sure if this a legitimate position or not, but it is one with a certain intuitive appeal.

I'd feel better about relational aesthetics were people not using it to replace or distract from the more traditional practices of the visual arts -- which I quite frankly enjoy, and which make-up the better part of my background.


Hi Arthur, good to hear from you. I think you're right, and if Foster had simply said it was a matter of judgment, I'd certainly have no objection. And I don't really have an objection now, I suppose--he's entitled to feel however he feels. But it still seemed to me like he was saying that he felt it important to insist on the (semi) autonomy of art mostly when he wasn't personally sympathetic to the particular variety of "social embeddedness" involved. These aren't matters that can be solved by an exact equation, of course, but I for one would hope for better criteria than that.

And really, a greater interest in pedagogy? Relational aesthetics may veer into the unbearably twee, but if this is all a matter of preference, I shudder at the thought of someone who gets more excited by that.


Well, I'll admit to not having read Foster, so obbviously I'm talking out of my ass here. Certainly any theory -- formal or informal -- of artistic value is easily subject to being bent and twisted for impure reasons. I think the proof is the results -- maybe their coherance more than their accuracy -- and you may very well be right about that. Is there a particular form of "social embeddedness" that Foster demonstrably prefers? And how eregious is it? Pedgagogy does sound pretty drab.

Tweeness is a ubiquitous in contemporary art in general and I admit to being seduced by it in the past. (I think I'm growing out of it in my middle young adulthood.) I haven't thought about it, but there might indeed be something particularly bad about putting on social events (or travesties of such) in spaces that weren't really designed for it. But I'm not sure.

Anyway, good to hear from you as well.

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