Reclaiming Art in the Age of Artifice

A Treatise, Critique, and Call to Action (Manifesto)

Contributors

By J.F. Martel

Introduction by Donna Tartt

Read by J.F. Martel

Read by Donna Tartt

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$18.99

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Audiobook Download (Unabridged)

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Audiobook Download (Unabridged) $18.99

With a new Introduction by Donna Tartt, exclusive to the audiobook.

Part treatise, part critique, part call to action, Reclaiming Art in the Age of Artifice is a journey into the uncanny realities revealed to us in the great works of art of the past and present.Received opinion holds that art is culturally-determined and relative. We are told that whether a picture, a movement, a text, or sound qualifies as a "work of art" largely depends on social attitudes and convention. Drawing on examples ranging from Paleolithic cave paintings to modern pop music and building on the ideas of James Joyce, Oscar Wilde, Gilles Deleuze, Carl Jung, and others, J.F. Martel argues that art is an inborn human phenomenon that precedes the formation of culture and even society. Art is free of politics and ideology. Paradoxically, that is what makes it a force of liberation wherever it breaks through the trance of humdrum existence. Like the act of dreaming, artistic creation is fundamentally mysterious. It is a gift from beyond the field of the human, and it connects us with realities that, though normally unseen, are crucial components of a living world.

While holding this to be true of authentic art, the author acknowledges the presence—overwhelming in our media-saturated age—of a false art that seeks not to liberate but to manipulate and control. Against this anti-artistic aesthetic force, which finds some of its most virulent manifestations in modern advertising, propaganda, and pornography, true art represents an effective line of defense. Martel argues that preserving artistic expression in the face of our contemporary hyper-aestheticism is essential to our own survival.

Art is more than mere ornament or entertainment; it is a way, one leading to what is most profound in us. Reclaiming Art in the Age of Artifice places art alongside languages and the biosphere as a thing endangered by the onslaught of predatory capitalism, spectacle culture, and myopic technological progress. The book is essential reading for visual artists, musicians, writers, actors, dancers, filmmakers, and poets. It will also interest anyone who has ever been deeply moved by a work of art, and for all who seek a way out of the web of deception and vampiric diversion that the current world order has woven around us.

Leaping gracefully from Coleridge to Kubrick, from the Bible to Baudrillard, J.F. Martel offers us a lovely and powerful reminder that the greatest art presents the world through mystery rather than manipulation. Arguing that art's prophetic promise comes from its capacity to rupture the workaday world of means and ends, Martel calls for a visionary return to the imaginal rifts of a novelty beyond artifice.”
—Erik Davis, author of TechGnosis
 
“A key work for the soul of our time, Reclaiming Art in the Age of Artifice is for the seasoned artist and the novice alike, for all those who dare to walk in, as J.F. Martel writes, an ‘excess of meaning.’ We need those today who would dare to live this way, and this book is a resounding call to return to the Imaginal life. ‘Sing in me muse,’ spoke Homer, and Martel has writ this large across the pages.”
—Jeremy D. Johnson, editor at Reality Sandwich

“J.F. Martel is an incisive cultural critic with a penetrating vision of art. His book is a quiet manifesto for the creative act, reminding us of the numinous quality of the aesthetic object, as well as the intrinsic strangeness of our lives in the world.”
—Daniel Pinchbeck, author of Breaking Open the Head and 2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl

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On Sale
May 21, 2024
Publisher
Hachette Audio
ISBN-13
9781668640289

J.F. Martel

About the Author

J.F Martel is a writer, lecturer, and filmmaker. With the musicologist Phil Ford, he co-hosts Weird Studies, an arts and philosophy podcast. Martel lives in Ottawa, Canada.

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