Art and Social Structure

Art and Social Structure

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This text's central concern is artistic revolutions - the major formal developments of art which divide, for example, the archaic art of the Egyptians from the classical art of the Greeks, and the perceptual-realist tradition of the European Renaissance from the art of the Middle Ages and the modernist art of the 20th century. Witkin develops his approach through a drawing together of the sociology of art, the German historical tradition and the French semiotic tradition. Styles of art are seen as a function of the semiotic demands for organizing experience at different levels of abstraction. These, in turn, are grounded in the structure of social relations which constrains the level of abstraction at which value can be thought in any given society. The book analyzes the structural isomorphism between aesthetic, semiotic and social systems and pursues the implications of this for theorising aesthetic developments in postmodernity. The analysis is illustrated through particular works of art, including works by Jan van Eyck and Cezanne.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 250 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 19.05mm | 453.59g
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 14 illustrations, notes, index
  • 0745611338
  • 9780745611334

Table of contents

1. Art and History - The Grand Version. 2. Abstraction and Social relations. 3. Perceptual Systems and Presentational Codes. 4. Art and Ideology. 5. Bourgeois Society and Realist Styles of Art. 6. Van Eyck through the Looking Glass. 7. To Amaze Paris with an Apple. 8. Machines, Dreams and the Room at Unilever.
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