Butler, Foucault, and Caravaggio

Yoshie Furuhashi furuhashi.1 at osu.edu
Sun Feb 21 18:39:58 PST 1999

Rakesh wrote:
>It's been some time since I read Jameson's comments on VG and AW and
>postmo. But Jameson doesn't seem to be simply on about *decadence* in the
>movement from modernist to pomo aesthetics. Pomo as manifested in Warhol's
>shoes has much more to do with the fact that pomo aesthetics' only referent
>is late capitalism. So with Warhol's shoes there is an actual celebration
>of mass production and consumption. There is no sense of ironic detachment.
>Unlike the surrealists who use ready mades or "found art" to explore our
>modern fetishism as constitutive of modern consciousness; the surrealists
>attempted to make us self conscious of how our own processes of
>fetishization. Warhol just reproduces the commodity form. Simply an icon to
>the commodity. Interesting indeed but just doesn't seem to have the same
>critical function.

The relationships between Marxism, the working class, art, and mass production have been complex and ambivalent. (Doyle Saylor's comments on Hockney's use of photography, for instance, highlight a positive aspect of mass produced technologies.) Walter Benjamin's celebrated essay "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Production" captures the aforementioned ambivalence nicely. (It is available at http://pixels.filmtv.ucla.edu/community/julian_scaff/benjamin/benjamin.html.)

W hat of Andy Warhol? I think that Warhol's work may be read as palimpsests, with death as an underwriting of commodity fetishism. (I suppose it all depends on who reads it.)


More information about the lbo-talk mailing list