Popular Pleasures: An Introduction to the Aesthetics of Popular Visual Culture (Hardcover)
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Today's many popular aesthetic pleasures have a very long history. Paul Duncum considers the historical critical discourses, and socio-political issues raised by aesthetic pleasures in fifteen thematic chapters. Using illustrative examples from the past, present, and across cultures, he challenges the idea of any decline of cultural standards and argues that no grounds exist for cultural pessimism. Refusing to condemn popular culture on the basis of taste, he reserves critique for the socio-political ideologies aesthetics invariably serve.Art history, film, cultural studies, and philosophical aesthetics are each employed to show that the sensory/emotional lures of today's popular culture are mostly identical to those of premodern fine art. They include the violent, the horrific, the sentimental, the exotic, the erotic, and the humorous. Some of these pleasures derive from our evolutionary biology; they are all an important part of what it means to be human, and central to understanding contemporary society. Examples are wide-ranging, including British seaside postcards, Disney films, Nazi propaganda, burlesque, modern advertising, as well as many exemplars of fine art. The book reveals fresh insights for all those studying visual culture, art history, aesthetics, media studies, and media and art education.
About the Author
Paul Duncum is Professor Emeritus at the University of Illinois, USA, and Adjunct Professor at the University of Tasmania, Australia. He is the author of Picture Pedagogy (Bloomsbury, 2020).