Practical Aesthetics: Events, Affects and Art After 9/11

Practical Aesthetics: Events, Affects and Art After 9/11

I.B. Tauris Publishers

August 9, 2012
Practical Aesthetics: Events, Affects and Art After 9/11

by Jill Bennett

Australian launch: Friday 17 August 2012, 5pm
following the symposium Another World

Artspace Sydney
43 – 51 Cowper Wharf Road
Woolloomooloo, Sydney

I.B. Tauris is pleased to announce the publication of Practical Aesthetics: Events, Affects and Art After 9/11 by Jill Bennett.

Practical Aesthetics brings a pursuit, long seen as rarefied and indulgent, out of the ivory tower and down to Ground Zero. Theoretically ambitious, fiercely original, it is a radical new account of art’s rootedness in the social world and of the value of aesthetics to contemporary society. Beginning with the cultural watershed of 9/11, internationally-renowned scholar Jill Bennett explores artistic developments in relation to current events to argue that understanding aesthetics is as vital to social and political theory as it is to the arts. Taking as its starting-point a definition of art as the critical, self-conscious manipulation of media, Bennett examines a wide range of events from the War on Terror to the football World Cup to elucidate how aesthetic perception works in a social field, a process that begins with the rich emotional content of the visual imagery with which we are constantly bombarded. Now more than ever, Bennett argues, understanding how what we see informs what we do is not merely an artistic endeavour but one which is fundamental to our very being.

Part of the Radical Aesthetics, Radical Art series from I.B.Tauris Publishers, this book challenges the notion that art and ‘real life’ are somehow opposed. Practical Aesthetics proposes a new way of reading contemporary artworks—and a new understanding of how fundamental art is to our social survival.

‘Jill Bennett is one of the strongest as well as most subtle voices in contemporary art criticism and theory.’
–Mieke Bal, cultural theorist, critic, video artist and Professor, Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis (ASCA), University of Amsterdam.

‘[the book] itself is a kind of encounter, inspiring further creative thinking …Practical Aesthetics will play a key role in reattaching art to the social.’
–Amelia Jones, Professor and Grierson Chair in Visual Culture at McGill University, author of Seeing Differently: A History and Theory of Identification and the Visual Arts.

‘In her remarkable new book, Jill Bennett proposes a radical rethinking of aesthetics … indispensable and richly suggestive for cultural studies, critical theory, and contemporary art.’
–Abigail Solomon-Godeau, critic, curator.

Jill Bennett is Professor and Director of the National Institute for Experimental Arts, University of New South Wales.

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