We are all proletarians

The battle that Marx fought against “milieu theory” was against the idea that culture determined consciousness. His great achievement was to see that economics was not a matter of culture but of exploitation. Which is to say Adorno’s emphasis on domination and difference (how bourgeois culture shapes being), rather than exploitation and the proletariat, is pre-Marxist in orientation.

Picasso and the Vital Order

We see two figures, entwined. What appears to be a woman, at left—tall and hulking, her right, striped pant leg forcefully set down—puts her arms around a smaller figure at right, probably a man, who responds with a kiss. Perhaps the kiss is joyous, enough to have the man raise what looks like his left foot, a kick in ecstasy. But something else is apparent.

The Aesthetic Politics of Affect

Affects are, Berlant insists, “radically private, and pretty uncoded,” and like the fetishized commodity, they make their dazzling appearance with the labor behind them obscured. These private experiences are in fact beyond analysis—an affect, after all, “is just a fact.”

On Catherine Malabou’s What Should We Do with Our Brain?

It thus seems as if the very problem which is at the center of the mind/brain debate, namely, the nature of intentionality, is now being offered as the solution: the claim is that intentional agency just is the biological process that can produce the desired-for “gaps” or differences that characterize freedom.

The Labyrinth of Interpretation: On Cathy Gere’s Knossos and The Prophets of Modernism

At the core of Knossos and The Prophets of Modernism lies the problem of historical interpretation. The excavation and reconstruction of the palace at Knossos—paid for and overseen directly by Evans—unveiled extraordinary murals and colorful columns to the public. But as Gere makes clear, the palace was in fact rebuilt in modern concrete, the first such structure on the island. What at first glance appears to be the oldest monument on Crete, turns out to be one of its most modern. Similarly, modern artists simply reimagined many of the famous artworks in the palace taking small fragments of originals as their inspiration

Mysterious Exchange: On Susan Sidlauskas’s Cézanne’s Other: The Portraits of Hortense

If the agency of color replaces the agency of the artist or the sitter, then what the portraits of Hortense show is a liveliness more animate than any mimetic representation could produce. Indeed, Sidlauskas’s account focuses in detail on Cézanne’s “metaphors of ingestion,” of his “physically absorbing” colors, and of the total identification between the painter and his subjects. Above all, Gasquet provides a vitalist language that best captures Cézanne’s affective forms…