The Kantian sublime, the Avant-Garde, and the Postmodern: a critique of Lyotard

New Formations - ISSN 0950-2378
Volume 1989 Number 7

The Kantian sublime, the Avant-Garde, and the Postmodern: a critique of Lyotard
Paul Crowther, pages -

Abstract

Crowther discusses Lyotard’s revisiting of Kant’s theory of the sublime in relation to modern avant-garde art. Lyotard argued that the sublime could refer not only to natural phenomena but to human-made creations, providing that they were of sufficient scale to overwhelm the viewer, and that the invention of photography had allowed science to transform aesthetics. He saw modernism and postmodernism as representing a movement towards the sublime, and used this as a means of legitimizing avant-garde art. Crowther argues that Lyotard overuses the notion of the sublime to the point of meaningless here, losing sight of its essential meaning, but finds in Kant’s theory of genius a way of redeeming Lyotard’s approach. Finally, he argues that modern art can access a new sublime, overwhelming the viewer not by its scale but by its complexity.

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To cite this article
Paul Crowther (1989) The Kantian sublime, the Avant-Garde, and the Postmodern: a critique of Lyotard, New Formations, 1989(7), -

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