The Life and Death of Images

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During the 1970s and 1980s the discourse surrounding aesthetics largely disappeared from the study of art history, theory, and cultural studies. Claims for the aesthetic value of artworks were thought elitist and politically regressive. The 1990s witnessed a return to aesthetics, but one that stressed the independent claims of beauty in reaction to its perceived suppression by ethical and political imperatives. Beauty, however, is just one aspect of the aesthetic. In recent years, increasing attention has been paid to the ways in which aesthetics and ethics are intertwined. In The Life and Death of Images some of the world's leading cultural thinkers engage in dialogue with one another concerning this new aesthetics. In provocative and accessible fashion, they demonstrate its relevance to a range of disciplines including analytic and continental philosophy, art history, theory and practice, cultural history and visual culture, rhetoric and comparative literature. While the focus is primarily on artworks, contributors also consider other forms of imagery that raise questions about the boundaries between art and non-art, about beauty, and about the ethics of aesthetics.