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Mikhail Lifshitz is a major forgotten figure in the tradition of Marxist philosophy and art history. A significant influence on Lukács, and the dedicatee of his The Young Hegel, as well as an unsurpassed scholar of Marx and Engels’s writings on art and a lifelong controversialist, Lifshitz’s work dealt with topics as various as the philosophy of Marx and the pop aesthetics of Andy Warhol. The Crisis of Ugliness (originally published in Russian by Iskusstvo, 1968), published here in English for the first time, and with a detailed introduction by its translator David Riff, is a compact broadside against modernism in the visual arts that nevertheless resists the dogmatic complacencies of Stalinist aesthetics. Its reentry into English debates on the history of Soviet aesthetics promises to re-orient our sense of the basic coordinates of a Marxist art theory.
Hegelian Marxism and Situationist Theory
Author: Tom Bunyard
In Debord, Time and Spectacle Tom Bunyard provides a detailed philosophical study of the theoretical work of Guy Debord and the Situationist International. Drawing on evidence from Debord’s books, films, letters and notes, Bunyard reconstructs the Hegelian and Marxian ideas that support Debord’s central concept of ‘spectacle’. This affords a reconsideration of Debord’s theoretical claims, and a reinterpretation of his broader work that foregrounds his concerns with history and lived time. By bringing Situationist theory into dialogue with recent reinterpretations of Marx, this book also identifies problems in Debord’s critique of capitalism. It argues, however, that the conceptions of temporality and spectacle that support that critique amount to a philosophy of praxis that remains relevant today.
Art History as Social Praxis: The Collected Writings of David Craven brings together more than thirty essays that chart the development of Craven’s voice as an unorthodox Marxist who applied historical materialism to the study of modern art. This book demonstrates the range and versatility of David Craven’s praxis as a ‘democratic socialist’ art historian who assessed the essential role the visual arts play in imagining more just and equitable societies. The essays collected here reveal Craven’s lifelong commitment to exposing interstices between western and non-western cultures by researching the reciprocating influences between First- and Third-World artists, critics and historians.
Marxist Essays on British Art and Art Theory, 1750–1850
At a time of growing interest in relations between Marxism and Romanticism, Andrew Hemingway’s essays on British art and art theory reopen the question of Romantic painting’s ideological functions and, in some cases, its critical purchase. Half the volume exposes the voices of competing class interests in aesthetics and art theory in the tumultuous years of British history between the American Revolution and the 1832 Parliamentary Reform Act. Half offers new perspectives on works by some of the most important landscape painters of the time: John Constable, J.M.W. Turner, John Crome, and John Sell Cotman. Four essays are hitherto unpublished, and the remainder have been updated and in several cases substantially rewritten for this volume.