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John Carroll

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Nietzsche … criticizes Schopenhauerian aesthetics for not freeing itself from Kant’s moralistic: ‘that is beautiful which gives us pleasure without interest’.
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p. 95

 
John Carroll

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This is precisely what is decisive in Nietzsche’s conception of art, that he sees it in its essential entirety in terms of the artist; this he does consciously and in explicit opposition to that conception of art which represents it in terms of those who “enjoy” and “experience” it.
That is a guiding principle of Nietzsche’s teaching on art: art must be grasped in terms of creators and producers, not recipients. Nietzsche expresses it unequivocally in the following words (WM, 811): “Our aesthetics heretofore has been a woman’s aesthetics, inasmuch as only the recipients of art have formulated their experiences of ‘what is beautiful.’ In all philosophy to date the artist is missing.” Philosophy of art means “aesthetics” for Nietzsche too—but masculine aesthetics, not feminine aesthetics. The question of art is the question of the artist as the productive, creative one; his experiences of what is beautiful must provide the standard.

 
Martin Heidegger
 

Neither Kierkegaard nor Nietzsche had the slightest interest in starting a movement – or a new system, a thought which would indeed have offended them. Both proclaimed, in Nietzsche’s phrase, “Follow not me, but you!”

 
Rollo May
 

After Plotinus, says Schassler, fifteen centuries passed without the slightest scientific interest for the world of beauty and art. ...In reality, nothing of the kind happened. The science of aesthetics ... neither did nor could vanish, because it never existed. ... the Greeks were so little developed that goodness and beauty seemed to coincide. On that obsolete Greek view of life the science of aesthetics was invented by men of the eighteenth century, and especially shaped and mounted in Baumgarten's theory. The Greeks (as anyone may read in Bénard's book on Aristotle and Walter's work on Plato) never had a science of aesthetics.

 
Leo Tolstoy
 

This is now the time from 1952 until the next point in my life – this point was a kind of break down of everything.. That was not a point at all for me. The word “aesthetics” does not exist for me. I found out during all my time in an official institution, a state academy, that this use of the word aesthetics meant nothing, in my understanding. I couldn’t locate this meaning of aesthetics, which was a very nebulous, undetermined idea. I couldn’t put it in any real and concrete way in my work, my problem, my view. But later, after what I said was the next period in my life, I stated my understanding of it: human being is aesthetics. Aesthetics is the human being in itself.

 
Joseph Beuys
 

There can be no question of selecting in any direction, but of a penetrating the whole cosmic law of rhythms, forces and material that are the real world, from the ugliest to the most beautiful, everything that has character and expression, from the crudest and most brutal to the gentlest and most delicate; everything that speaks to us in its capacity as life. From this it follows that one must know all in order to be able to express all. It is the abolition of the aesthetic principle. We are not disillusioned because we have no illusions; we have never had any. What we have and what is our strength, is our joy in life; our interest in life, in all its amoral aspects. That is also the basis of our contemporary art. We do not even know the laws of aesthetics. That old idea of selection according to the beauty-principle Beautiful — Ugly, like to ethical Noble — Sinful, is dead for us, for whom the beautiful is also ugly and everything ugly is endowed with beauty. Behind the comedy and the tragedy we find only life's dramas uniting both; not in noble heroes and false villains, but people.

 
Asger Jorn
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