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date: 27 September 2021

p. 202. Paradigms and purposeslocked

p. 202. Paradigms and purposeslocked

  • Cynthia Freeland

Abstract

Contemporary artists who create work using blood, urine, maggots, and plastic surgery are successors of past artists who took sex, violence, and war as their subjects. ‘Paradigms and purposes’ asks: What theory applies to such difficult work? To answer this question it explores ancient discussions about tragedy and imitation in fifth-century bce Athens; Chartres and medieval aesthetics; the formal gardens of Versailles (1660–1715); and the premiere of Richard Wagner's opera Parsifal, in 1882. It concludes with a discussion of Andy Warhol's Brillo Box, and a review of recent theories about art.

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