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Anne Dalke's picture

sight unseen

I want to keep in play here the description, made during class yesterday, about what it's like to encounter abstract art when one is visually impaired. I've been wrestling with the idea that not being able to see clearly might actually enable one to see the way Sontag is inviting us to--that is: by experiencing art sensuously. Sontag said that

"'Against Interpretation' was a polemic against one reductive way of accounting for art…treating a work as if it were equivalent to the account that could be given of its 'meaning.' This practice…weakens and corrupts our direct appreciation of a work’s 'thingness.' Instead of relying so much on questions about what elements in a work of art mean...we could rely more on questions about how they function—concretely, sensually, and formally—in the work."

If you want to think some more w/ me about this, check out Georgina Kleege's collection of essays, Sight Unseen, which has a great chapter about the "blind gaze" in the art museum.

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