This book tackles one of the thorniest debates in the philosophy and sociology of art, as well as in political theory: the relationship between the political and the aesthetic in "political art." Rejecting both conflationist and autonomist positions, Asavei elegantly shows how political art does not have to lose its aesthetic valence. Through a sophisticated engagement with key concepts and positions in the literature and an illuminating curation of examples, she outlines an account of political art that is critically polyvalent without collapsing into propaganda. A welcome breath of fresh air, this book should be of interest to all those who are tempted to enter this research field armed with reified dichotomies.
An important contribution to the study of aesthetics and political science, Asavei’s book shows that art can be political without neglecting aesthetic concerns. Drawing on a wide range of interdisciplinary theories of art and politics and revisiting concepts taken from traditional aesthetics such as “beauty” and “aesthetic disinterestedness,” the author demonstrates that they can still be applied to politically engaged art, which is often dismissed as non-aesthetic.
This is a timely contribution to the ongoing debate on the fraught relationship between politics and aesthetics. Theoretically astute, Asavei argues convincingly that contemporary trends show the possibility of a political but "proper" art.