Art & Photography Books:

Reluctant Modernity

The Institution of Art and its Historical Forms


Paperback / softback

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Reluctant Modernity by Ales Debeljak
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In this book, Ales Debeljak offers a refreshing alternative to postmodernists such as Baudrillard, who declare the death of art was conceived as yet another source of rootless, circulating fictions. The deterioration of bourgeois liberal individualism into the narcissism of mass society accompanied the decomposition of art into simplified mass art and commercialized kitsch. Maintaining its formal autonomy (museums, galleries, etc.), its content became the universal object of indirect corporate exploitation. Today postmodern art, argues Debeljak, is subjected to infinite reproducibility, total integration into mass society, and political resignation-no longer representing an alternative reality. The postmodern institution of art thus cannot be simply cured of modern structures and assumptions, but is, instead, fated to a continuous and painful relationship with modernity.

Author Biography

Ales Debeljak, a leading Central European poet and cultural critic, teaches cultural studies at the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia. His books in English include Anxious Moments (1994) and Twilight of the Idols: Recollections of a Lost Yugoslavia (1994).
Release date NZ
July 2nd, 1998
Country of Publication
United States
Rowman & Littlefield
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