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Fr. 414

October 14, 2013

The foregoing exposition of Adorno’s view on the work of art and subject qua expression does much to show the way in which a former fragment here stated that art was above and beyond the technical, being a question of intention and ethics by extension. Fragment 1 held that:

“Art is no longer bound up with technique or craftsmanship, material or medium. Rather, like acts of moral value, art relates directly to the creating frame of mind. Art is born from the intention of the artist that it be such.  Art is ethics.”

Although this last move might be seen as questionable for any number of reasons (e.g. is intention all that matters in questions of ethics?), Adorno does not do away with intention entirely in the field of art, even if one should be careful not to lend this last contention an overly subjectivist sense. Insofar as the objective, socioeconomic-historical circumstances of an era are expressed in the work of art qua windowed monad or, in other words, contained there as an impression, if an era can in any way be spoken of any conveying some meaning or intention through the products of culture constantly being formed in the superstructure, then there remains a sense in which it is possible to speak of these things following the objectivist turn in art. In the end, despite this turn, art might be said to retain meanings and intentions over and above those which the subject of art might have once held, in spite of itself.

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