Masterpieces and Metapictures

ARHT Masterpieces and Metapictures Essay
In Jean Baudrillard's publication, "Absolute Merchandise", Baudrillard explores French poet and art critic, Charles Baudelaire's, ideas on the modern art, supporting these with Andy Warhol's Pop Art. By doing so, Baudrillard discusses the essence of modern art and addresses the orthodox notion that art is rapidly being corrupted and degraded by "a commercial, vulgar, capitalist, advertising society" (Baudrillard, 1988, pp. 18). Through Baudelaire, Baudrillard implies that this is not necessarily the case, the traditional art concept being outdated within the context of modern society. In fact, he suggests, the salvation of art is embedded within the alienation of the aesthetic values traditional artwork concepts were founded on. Baudrillard refers to this as the "relentless pursue (of) the indifference and equivalence of mercantile value" (Baudrillard, 1988, pp.18), which, in effect, transforms the artwork into what he calls "absolute merchandise" (Baudrillard, 1988, pp.18).
Baudrillard begins this article by indicating that art is "caught up in the process of its own disappearance" (Baudrillard, 1988, pp.18). To Baudrillard, much of modern art is based on disappearance, in particular, the disappearance of meaning; as the acknowledgement of the "nothing" is essential for the virtue of modern art. Whilst many critics argued that the treat of mercantile value would reduce the work of art to "the status of a mere object" (Baudrillard, 1988, pp.18), Baudrillard argues, with respect to Baudelaire that art cannot seek to revive itself in the "critical posture of denial" (Baudrillard, 1988, pp.18), which will demean it to the state of "art for art's sake". Instead, Baudrillard suggests an ironic proposal: that art should "fight alienation with its own weapons" (Baudrillard, 1988…


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