Aisthesis is Jacques Ranciere’s long-awaited, definitive statement on aesthetics, art and modernity. The book comprises a string of dramatic and evocative locales, each embodying specific artistic tendencies and together spanning the modern era–from Dresden in 1764 to New York in 1941. Along the way, we view the Belvedere Torso with Winckelmann, accompany Hegel to the museum and Mallarme to the Folies-Bergere, attend a lecture by Emerson, and visit exhibitions in Paris and New York, factories in Berlin, and film sets in Moscow and Hollywood. Ranciere uses these sites and events–some famous, others forgotten–to ask what becomes art and what comes of it. He shows how a regime of artistic perception and interpretation was constituted and transformed by erasing the distinctions between the different arts along with the borders separating them from ordinary experience.
This incisive study provides a history of artistic modernity far removed from conventional understandings of modernism.