Artistic Capitalism Analysis

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On the one hand, reflecting on what is called by Gilles Lipovetsky and Jean Serroy as “artistic capitalism” – an autonomous domain of instituting art as a social tool for the aestheticization of world and resistance to all the temptations of a hedonist life inspired by consumption – involves understanding if this notion explains a new artistic regime, correspondent to a historical phase of modernity or postmodernity, or if it represents such a phase in itself. In order to answer this question, I adopted Luc Boltanski’s and Eve Chiapello’s theory on the four types of capitalism, that I will confront with the four ages of artistic capitalism, that Lipovetsky and Serroy presented in their book. Hence, Boltanski and Chiapello distinguish between:…show more content…
Each type of capitalism is gathered around some native “indignations” and “nostalgias”: for example, the disappearance of authenticity and personal values is confronted with the impersonal domination of the market, while the ideals of equality and transparency are still historically contrasted with the clash of social classes that promoted the bourgeoisie and accelerated capitalism. Hence, Boltanski and Chiapello argue for a social critique and an artistic critique that should diagnose properly all the insufficiencies of each phase of capitalism. Normatively, the two of them are constituted independently. My argument is that the first model, that of the social critique, has the privilege of opening a taboo subject for artistic capitalism, meaning “the rejection of any contamination of aesthetics by ethics.” Socially, this critique considers that the life style of an individual is modelled by personal aspirations to welfare, reflecting, on the same time, symptoms of decadence and inauthenticity. The artistic mercantilism appears, in the terms of this social critique, responsible for encouraging the reception of an art object as a criteria for social inclusion and validation, since it reflects either the belonging to the same social class, tested through the power of…show more content…
In my opinion, the first problem is represented by the clash between the ethical and the aesthetical level of such a critical theory, that inspires particular “indignations” and “nostalgias” for each of the two aspects of such a theoretical construct, as Boltanski and Chiapello agreed. The key to create the synergy between the ethical and the aesthetical level of interpretation is represented by the attempt to consider them as integrated parts of a modern project of social criticism in which the switch from a Webberian protestant ethic which dominates the capitalism society, to a Lipovetskyan hedonist moral assists the individual also in his quality of art consumer. The social critique should treat, in my opinion, artistic capitalism, in its two aspects – social and artistic – as part of a certain phase of modernity, through which it proves its historical legitimacy, authority and particularity. A similar argument appears in Luc Ferry’s pages, who considers that modernism continues, a century late, the work of modern society, that of promoting democracy and liberating the individual from the codes of traditions and mimesis. In this manner, any model proposed for the social theory of capitalist art should take into account the fact that modernity is focused exclusively on “the subjectivation of truth as primary conception on
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