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Die Untugend der Kunst

Pragmatistische Reflexionen über den Kitsch anlässlich des gegenwärtigen Krieges

Dikovich, Albert

Zeitschrift für Ästhetik und Allgemeine Kunstwissenschaft, Bd. 67 (2022), Iss. 2: S. 24–43

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Dikovich, Albert


The following paper aims at developing an understanding of Kitsch as an aesthetic vice, drawing mainly upon John Dewey’s ›Art as Experience‹. ›Does art have to be moral?‹ – the guiding question of this volume is addressed by reflecting on the specific operativity of art in moral terms. The genuine force of modern art and literature lies, contrary to a dichotomic view of the relation of morality and the arts, in showing the limits of concepts and values guiding the recipient and therefore activating processes of learning and reflection. It is then argued that Kitsch is the inversion of such an activity. Kitsch stabilizes moral convictions, value orientations, and thus ways of life by creating an image of the world that resonates with the latter. Following the observation that Kitsch has a manifest affinity for being used for ideological purposes, war – with focus on the current war in Europe – is considered a primal occasion for the thriving of the aesthetic vice.