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The Anti-Aesthetic: Essays on Postmodern Culture

3.97  ·  Rating Details ·  866 Ratings  ·  20 Reviews
For the past thirty years, Hal Foster has pushed the boundaries of cultural criticism, establishing a vantage point from which the seemingly disparate agendas of artists, patrons, and critics have a telling coherence. In The Anti-Aesthetic, preeminent critics such as Jean Baudrillard, Rosalind Krauss, Fredric Jameson, and Edward Said consider the full range of postmodern c ...more
Paperback, 183 pages
Published April 1st 2002 by The New Press (first published 1983)
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Zuty Lorz
Dec 24, 2009 Zuty Lorz rated it really liked it
Modernity- An Incomplete Project
Jürgen Habermas

The Discipline of Aesthetic Modernity
Aesthetic modernity is characterized by attitudes which fin a common focus in a changed consciousness of time. The purpose of things vanguard and avant-garde is to find uncharted territory. This is in conflict with modernist notions of the myth of progress, in tune with classical and Enlightenment sentiments. Because the avant gard focuses on the unknown and lack of concrete futures, modernity holds interest in t
Jan 26, 2008 Nick rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed the Fredric Jameson essay and regret not knowing about him during my stint in Santa Cruz, where he heads up the history of consciousness. In his essay, called something like"Post-modernism and Consumer Society" (I no longer have the book), he breaks down two defining features of post-modernism: pastiche and a second more unique facet where he describes the way in which post-modernist work may be experienced as dislocated from linear history.

This second facet is likened to the wa
Sarah Taylor
Feb 27, 2008 Sarah Taylor rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: art historians, artists, intellectuals
Recommended to Sarah by: my advisor
This is one of the best books on postmodern theory out there. It didn't make me want to hit my head on anything, and actually clarified a few issues for me. A must read for anyone curious about postmodernism or writing about American art since 1940.
Feb 07, 2016 May rated it liked it
Shelves: philosophy
For the most part, this was not my cup of tea, and that is despite a true interest in post-modern thought and its impact on aesthetic (even if it be anti-aesthetic). I found the first few essays to be the continuation of a dialogue for which I had not been made aware in advance. That to me is poor essay writing. If you must make your point by citation after citation vs. making your point and using citations as illustrations, then just can’t give you any sort of real credit.
Of the 10 essays compr
Nov 26, 2012 Dnl rated it liked it
Shelves: miscellaneous
"For as long as there has existed a separation between the ordinary life of laymen in the West, (that is, in those countries pursuing the imperatives of European democracies), the outcome of such pursuit has been deemed "civilized" in the concrete forms of knowledge, welfare and security, then the definition of Postmodernity will be the subject of tremendous debate. This was outlined by Habermas, Jameson and Saïd in this book some 30 years ago. However, their promises such as the fulfillment of ...more
Aug 14, 2016 Chris rated it really liked it
I would give this book less stars if I were rating it without any context.

For instance, I don't necessarily recommend reading it.

I read parts of it in grad school, then read the whole thing a few years later as a youngish artist in the city. It remember it as the quintessential postmodern foundation text, at least in relationship to art. There's lots of simulacrum and appropriation speak, and I feel like embedded in the text is a sort of cheerleading for the pictures artists and a lot of 80's
Jun 16, 2012 Anna rated it liked it
Shelves: visual-culture
This text has moments of brilliance, but is largely overshadowed by excess bulk. Personally I only found the essays by Fredric Jameson, Edward Said and Rosalind Krauss to be of any real relevance today. The other six essays are written in an extremely dry manner and a couple are not particularly coherent. They're not all bad, I found valid points in each one, but for the most part they just created bulk in what could have been a strong collection of essays.
Sep 09, 2012 Elison rated it it was amazing
For a student beginning his foray into Postmodernism, this was the primer for me, though to call it a primer would be a bad description. The essays cover all types of media, from literature to sculpture to architecture, each author having a slightly different spin on how to (un)define Postmodernism. Check it out.
Mohammad Abid
May 12, 2016 Mohammad Abid rated it really liked it
Best collection of essays one can find in a single copy. One of the most scholarly critiques on post-modernity. I particularly loved the introduction by Hal Foster where he brilliantly tries to link-up all the major ideas of the following sets of essays by the most prominent minds. Truly a seminal piece of text, i believe.
Aug 28, 2007 Rob rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: "Quick! What the hell is this PoMo you speak of?"
Shelves: college, own
Collection of essays on postmodernism and various examples thereof. Consumed this particular text during my 2000-2001 stint at SMCM, working my way through my SMP, trying to create reasonably plausible art students in my novel.
Jan 24, 2008 Ryan rated it it was amazing
this is a great collection of essay from many art theorist. It really explains the last 20 years of art and culture.
May 24, 2010 Lindisblue rated it it was amazing
Great info on (still) current philosophy with all those subtle French guys and their fellow travelers. Is this this still hip? Depends how smart your peeps are.
Devin rated it really liked it
Sep 21, 2016
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May 09, 2012
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rose  Reem
rose Reem rated it it was amazing
Aug 10, 2014
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Aug 22, 2015
Jul 14, 2011 David rated it liked it
Some of this is more hulabaloo but at the time fascinating ideas.
Remington Tonar
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Feb 01, 2017
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Oct 13, 2008
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Josh Jalbert rated it really liked it
Nov 04, 2012
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Hal Foster is a Professor of Art and Archaeology at Princeton University specializing in 20th century art.

Note: for the comic book artist, see Harold "Hal" Foster.
More about Hal Foster...

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