Ben Davis on Connoisseurship and Critique

“It can be argued, based on this, that the particular, near-religious charge of this strain of art connoisseurship is owed to the fact that it seems to offer access to all those qualities lost in the transition to alienated consumption: a sense of the specific conditions of production, the aura of the humanity behind the object.”

“A rapacious contemporary capitalism relentlessly seeks to carve out spaces of nouveau-snobbery and privilege, while also despoiling and profaning old spaces of solace—sometimes simultaneously.”

“The condemnation of arrogant elitism or dumbed-down consumerism, of the detached art object or the degraded commodity form, has value. But, being partial, such critiques are always liable to overshoot their mark, and become their opposite. In the end, you have to keep your sights on transforming the system that produced such contradictions in the first place.”

See: Connoisseurship and Critique

in e-flux


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