Thursday, April 23, 2020

On Peter Schjeldahl and "disembodiments of aesthetic experience"

Peter Schjeldahl's reflections on art under social distancing (and closed museums) offer a wonderful interpretation of the difference between seeing Velázquez's "Las Meninas" in December in the Prado and thinking about it now, "from lingering exhilaration to vertiginous melancholy." But he begins by dismissing virtual tours as "amorphous disembodiments of aesthetic experience". This makes art something only for those who are able to travel to see the originals, when not everyone can travel to Madrid. And even Schjeldahl's reconsideration of the work now isn't based on an "embodied" experience of the work anyway. Reception "at a distance" (including my reception of Velázquez through Schjeldahl) is a necessary part of aesthetic experience. (Andrew Shields, #111words, 23 April)
See also my essay on Jan Svenungsson, "Abstract Reception"

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