Journal Article

Autonomy in Post-war Art, Quasi-heroic and Casual

Alex Potts

in Oxford Art Journal

Volume 27, issue 1, pages 43-59
Published in print January 2004 | ISSN: 0142-6540
Published online January 2004 | e-ISSN: 1741-7287 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oaj/27.1.43
Autonomy in Post-war Art, Quasi-heroic and Casual

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This article re-examines the larger shifts that took place in understandings of aesthetic autonomy when the modernist privileging of autonomy in the mid-twentieth century gave way to the avant-garde or neo-avant-garde ‘art into life’ initiatives of the late 1950s and early to mid-1960s. Tracing the changing ideological complexion of the image of the artist from a quasi-heroic, isolated individual to its apparent opposite in a casual persona engaging with the realities of ‘everyday life’, this study analyses the ethical imperatives that made autonomy as such an important issue throughout the period. Subsuming the outlook of the post-war avant-garde to later postmodern attitudes to autonomy, it is argued here, fundamentally misconceives the radical reshapings of artistic subjectivity that did occur under the impact of post-war consumerism. At issue were different understandings of autonomy that were each in their own way constitutionally split and radically unstable.

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Art Forms ; Art Styles ; Art Subjects and Themes ; History of Art ; Theory of Art

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