Brutal Aesthetics

Art historian and author Hal Foster focuses on post-war writers and artists’ search for a new foundation in art in his book Brutal Aesthetics. Foster explores the effects of the World War II, the genocide and the atomic bomb in art, through the works of artists between 1940 and 1960. Inspired by the notion that modernist art can teach us how to survive a civilization become barbaric, the author examines the works of philosopher Georges Bataille, painters Jean Dubuffet and Asger Jorn, sculptors Eduardo Paolozzi and Claes Oldenburg in his book. These people dealt with art in its bare form and also inspired those who came after them with their creations in a world that seemed hopeless. The book, in which Foster provides an explanation for what he calls “positive barbarism”, also serves as a visual resource for the reader. Brutal Aesthetics aims to shed light on the change and transformation of art in today’s socio political conditions, was published in collaboration with Princeton University and the Washington National Art Gallery.

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