The relevance of critical theory to art today
J.M. Bernstein, Lydia Goehr, Gregg Horowitz, and Chris Cutrone
Platypus Review 31 | January 2011
On Saturday, November 20, 2010, Platypus hosted a panel entitled “The Relevance of Critical Theory to Art Today” moderated by Chris Mansour at The New School for Social Research in New York. The panel consisted of philosophy professors J.M. Bernstein (The New School), Lydia Goehr (Columbia University), and Gregg Horowitz (Pratt Institute and Vanderbilt University), and Chris Cutrone, Adjunct Assistant Professor (School of the Art Institute of Chicago) and member of Platypus. What follows is an edited transcript of the event. Full video is available online
J.M. (Jay) Bernstein: Some 25 years ago, I asked Terry Eagleton and Fredric Jameson why two revolutionary Marxists spend so much time talking about Jane Austen. They replied, “Because that’s where the bourgeoisie have pitched their tent.” I felt that answer was true, but also insufficient. If the bourgeoisie have a stake in high culture, as one of the ways society reproduces itself, then it makes sense for Marxists to critique the practices that constitute high culture. But, beyond the issue of social integration, what stake do Marxists have in art?