"At the present time significant modern art is entirely unimportant in a society that only tolerates it. This situation affects art itself, causing it to bear the marks of indifference; there is a disturbing sense that this art might just as well be different or might not exist at all."
Theodor Adorno in ‘Aesthetic Theory’ (via ciaramariezz)
Alright. Let’s talk about this a bit.
I’m assuming what Adorno means is something like this: Art is robbed of meaning when it is only tolerated, i.e. not celebrated and not reviled. At least from this quote, this is not an entirely hopeless situation. Plenty of artworks have spoken more to the future than their present.
But what is disturbing and surprising is what “affects art itself.” That we don’t care starts rubbing off on the art. It’s almost impossible to come out of a fine art show nowadays without feeling a good portion of the pieces are simply gratuitous. How else to explain name artists “branding” themselves by selling not just their pieces, but souvenirs with their logo and designs on them in the museum? One might term this decadence or capitalist excess, but I like the term “tolerance” Adorno uses better. We let this happen.
When one extends this concept of this “tolerance” to education - we only tolerate it, what we’re really warring over is results and status - it becomes really clear why we have all the degrees in the world and it still feels like no one knows anything.