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Art and Revolution
Art and Revolution
Jasper Bernes

In the twentieth century, Marxist theories of art turned upon a number of important themes – totality, autonomy, mimesis – recorded in the historical literature and frequently debated even now. Mutually entangled, these concepts produce familiar oppositions: Theodor Adorno’s modernism against Walter Benjamin’s avant-gardism, György Lukács’s realism against Bertolt Brecht’s didactic theater. We may, however, reorganize our account of these critical concepts and the art and literary movements they take as their objects through a study of a less shopworn concept the above-mentioned terms imply: participation. Avant-garde and modern art movements conceived of themselves as emancipatory, in part, by imagining themselves enablers of mass cultural participation, aspiring to a totalizing abolition of the barriers ...

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