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Art Rules: Pierre Bourdieu and the Visual Arts

Grenfell, Michael and Hardy, Cheryl (2007) Art Rules: Pierre Bourdieu and the Visual Arts, London, UK, Berg, 256pp.

Record type: Book


The French social theorist Pierre Bourdieu is now recognized as a major contemporary critique of culture and the Visual Arts. His work was developed over a fifty year career which took in major studies of education, museums, photography, painting, the media and taste.
This book sets out to do what no other has so far achieved. It exclusively addresses Bourdieu’s work on the Visual Arts. Over its three parts and eight chapters it gives an in-depth coverage of Bourdieu’s theory of culture and aesthetics. It describes Bourdieu’s background and the development of his thinking throughout his career. His main ‘thinking tool’ are described and located within his overall ‘theory of practice’. There is discussion of aesthetics in terms of his social philosophy. A line is traced from Kant through salient views to aestheticism and its significance in art and culture. Bourdieu’s own response to this tradition is described.
This theory of practice is then applied to three practical case examples: Museums, Photography and Painting. A chapter is dedicated to each of these. In each one, a Bourdieusian perspective is brought to bear on contexts not dealt with by Bourdieu himself. There is analysis of the Tate, MOMA and the Musée d’Orsay. Photography is considered as a ‘mid-brow’ art with examples from pop, journalism and ‘artist-photographers’. Finally, the book deals with painting. Based on Bourdieu’s own work on the ‘pre-impressionist’ Manet, this example is contrasted with such artistic movements as the Young British Artists of the 1990s and American Expressionism.
Finally, the theory and practical examples are used as a springboard to address Visual Arts in the 21st Century. The ‘problem of aesthetics’ is reconsidered in the light of post-modernism and Bourdieu’s theory. A new perspective to the Visual Arts in the twenty-first century is provided based on his approach.
The book sets out to identify the ‘rules of art’: how artistic fields function and the implications their processes have for Art and artistic practice.

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Published date: 2007
Keywords: art, aesthetics, education, social capital, museums, painting, photography, Bourdieu


Local EPrints ID: 43728
ISBN: 1845202341
PURE UUID: e8106cb8-5657-4d0c-88a2-7e8462beeedb

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Date deposited: 30 Jan 2007
Last modified: 17 Jul 2017 15:17

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Author: Michael Grenfell
Author: Cheryl Hardy

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