“Sempre troppo tardi”? Alienazione estetica e democrazia

Commento a J. M. Bernstein

  • Agnese Di Riccio The New School for Social Research
Keywords: English


This commentary on Late Style, First Art provides both a textual analysis of Bernstein’s text and a comprehensive reconstruction of his aesthetic theory. Through a close reading of the essay, I argue that the political reflection here enclosed allows the reader to grasp the distance between Bernstein’s and Adorno’s aesthetic theory –– a difference not always spelled out in Bernstein’s thirty-year-long reflection on the philosophy of art. The commentary elucidates the theoretical implications of Bernstein’s analysis of Brancusi’s sculpture and Bingyi’s painting, insisting on the role of nature and sensuous material for the grounding of a new conception of the political. In assessing Bernstein’s reformulation of Benjamin’s notion of the “politicization of art”, I also raise some concerns about the effectiveness of Bernstein’s democratic perspective. If his proposal sounds convincing and intriguing, I maintain that Bernstein still needs to clarify all the implications of his political and aesthetic project.


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