Art in the Offertorium.
Narcissism, Psychoanalysis, and Cultural Metaphysics.
Giesbrecht, Harvey and Charles Levin
Amsterdam/New York, NY, 2012, XI, 268 pp. Ill.
Contemporary Psychoanalytic Studies 15
This book proposes a new approach to the problem of aesthetic experience in Western culture. Noting how art world phenomena evoke conventional psychoanalytic speculations about narcissism, the authors turn the tables and “apply” aesthetic questions and concerns to psychoanalytic theory. Experimenting with Freudian and post-Freudian concepts, they propose a non-normative theory of the psychic drive to address and embrace deep tensions in the post-Renaissance aesthetic project, the rise of modernism, and the contemporary art world. It is argued that these tensions reflect central conflicts in the development of patriarchal civilization, which the emergence of the aesthetic domain, as a specialized range of practice, exposes and subverts. The postmodern era of aesthetic reflection is interpreted as the outcome of a complex narcissistic dialectic of idealization and de-idealization that is significant for the understanding of contemporary culture and its historical prospects.
List of Illustrations
Introduction: Paragone of the Art World
Narcissism Without Apology: Art in the Offertorium
The Language of Narcissism: Terms and Conditions
The Crack in the Golden Bowl
Limits of the Diaphane: Reflections on Visuality as a Modality of the Narcissistic Drive
Limits of the Diaphane II: More Self-Portraits of the Drive
The Dialectic of Narcissism in Art
Applied Art: Driving Psychoanalytic Theory to Distraction
Psychophantic Relations with Art: Analytic Romanticism and the Problem of Perversion
Applied Art World: The Social Struggle with the Ideal
Stalking Horse, Gift Horse, Trojan Horse