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Art and Labour: On the Hostility to Handicraft, Aesthetic Labour and the Politics of Work in Art

Beech, Dave (2020) Art and Labour: On the Hostility to Handicraft, Aesthetic Labour and the Politics of Work in Art. Historical Materialism . Brill. ISBN 978-90-04-32151-9

Type of Research: Book
Creators: Beech, Dave
Description:

Art & Labour ‘re-narratavises’ the relationship between art, craft and industry, posing the claim that art constitutes a specific mode of production (a social form of labour) distinct from both pre-capitalist modes and of capitalist manufacture. The book demands that we ‘rethink the categories of aesthetic labour, attractive labour, alienated labour, non-alienated labour and unwaged labour that shape the modern and contemporary politics of work in art’ (p. 1); in so doing, the book revisits ‘the philosophical inquiry into the ontology of art from the perspective of the politics of labour’ (p. 49). It provides a new history of the changing relationship between art, craft and industry, focusing on the transition from workshop to studio, apprentice to pupil, guild to gallery and artisan to artist. Responding to the question whether the artist is a relic of the feudal mode of production or is a commodity producer corresponding to the capitalist mode of cultural production, this inquiry reveals, instead, that the history of the formation of art as distinct from handicraft, commerce and industry can be traced back to the dissolution of the dual system of guild and court. This history needs to be revisited in order to rethink the categories of aesthetic labour, attractive labour, alienated labour, nonalienated labour and unwaged labour that shape the modern and contemporary politics of work in art. A key claim by Beech is that ‘Whereas the category of art is conventionally understood by art historians and aesthetic philosophers as a class of objects, I will attempt to narrate the emergence of art as a specific form of labour’, and hence a specific set of social relations of artistic production’.

Publisher/Broadcaster/Company: Brill
Your affiliations with UAL: Colleges > Chelsea College of Arts
Date: 1 July 2020
Date Deposited: 18 Jan 2021 09:10
Last Modified: 19 Jan 2021 14:28
Item ID: 16343
URI: https://ualresearchonline.arts.ac.uk/id/eprint/16343

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