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Croatian Journal of Philosophy

Volume 21, Issue 1, 2021

Aethetics and Philosophy of Art

Polona Tratnik
Pages 39-51

Art Addressing Consumerism in the Age of Late Capitalism

The globalized world is still in the phase of late capitalism, signified by the establishment of multinational corporations, globalized markets and work, mass consumerism and the fluid flow of capital. The question of the criticism of art towards the capitalist system, its ideology and consumerism is therefore still current and is readdressed in this contribution. Considering this issue, the recurrent theoretical reference is American materialist aesthetician Fredric Jameson, who was among the first to define culture and art in the context of late capitalism. In the article the author revises Jameson’s critique of art addressing consumerism and demonstrates that he did not consider the relevance of the means of consumption as regards the cultural logic of late capitalism. She claims that in order to open space to examine contemporary art as being critical towards consumerism, one also needs to consider the ontological changes that have occurred to art and pay attention to performative art, while Jameson was still focused on a representational mode of art. By being performative and also setting out actions outside of spaces that were traditionally designed for art, in the space meant for consumption, art has much a better chance to act politically, which Jameson wished to see from art which addresses consumerism, but did not. The author argues that if one is to seek critical or political art in late capitalism, those would be the cases of artistic interventions into the means of consumption.