However, Spencer's lyric style is calm, nonconfrontational, and without telegraphed irony; it invites viewers to decide for themselves where each image exploits, comments, aestheticizes
, or observes.
By erasing the contextual information and diffusing it with a generic version of what one might remember, the resulting image seemingly formalizes and aestheticizes
a previously documentary and shocking picture--maybe inevitably--as an artwork.
Scott, like Southey in A Vision of Judgement, deliberately elides (and aestheticizes
) major political and religious differences for 'patriot' ends, but Wordsworth calls up the shades of republicans or regicides.
The solipsistic enterprise deprives of value--whether monetary or spiritual--the object of its attention; it aestheticizes
a woman, for example, until that "woman almost fades from view" to disclose what is unchangeable, the "cipher of man's ...
Survival art aestheticizes
this constant "re-traumatizing," not to offer transcendence or simple resolution, but to stimulate an immediacy of emotional and intellectual response.
Yet in the book's title poem, as he describes a young crack addict on the subway who is itching himself convulsively, Doty seems to become suddenly disgusted with the way poetic language effaces the boy's pitiful reality: "Moth, plum--hear how the imagery aestheticizes
?" In "Metro North," we find a similar resistance to the practice of reducing the real world to a set of metaphors.
While scavenger-artists are perpetually subject to the criticism that they select more than they transform, Sibony aestheticizes
the aesthetic void, and in that way he does transform.
This emphasis on the cultural too easily becomes an argument for a form of multi-culturalism "that aestheticizes
ethnic differences as if they could be separated from history" and politics (Lowe 9).
The great cultural critic Daniel Harris has written, "Because it aestheticizes
unhappiness, helplessness and deformity, [cuteness] almost always involves an act of sadism on the part of its creator." As usual, Murakami turns the tables: His giant fiberglass cutie grins menacingly and, in the video, turns vicious, gleefully swallows a little girl's cell phone, then swallows the girl.
For example, the artists summarize Avant Garde, 1997/2002--a proposal to reproduce a 1964 photo of overheated mods and rockers mistreating deck chairs as a giant billboard on the Brighton seafront--as "an official commission which aestheticizes
youthful rebellion" and "an example of recuperation, the process by which the social order is maintained." The term avant-garde, their proposal intones owlishly, "became widely used to describe anything fashionable...
It is a particular category of Holocaust art that I dislike, an art that aestheticizes
suffering and makes delectable belle peinture out of horror and pain.
Tuymans's paintings, for example, seem to speak with compelling and articulate intellectual passion about an issue--memory and trauma, to be specific-- though almost no trace of that discourse can be seen, for Tuymans aestheticizes
and, almost literally, whitewashes everything out of existence rather than into memory.