Relationship between Mechanical Reproduction, Art and Culture

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Marxist criticism concerns itself with class differences and the modes of production that produce oppression. Class conflict will be reflected in different forms of art because the marxist school believes that everything in a society is based on the current modes of production. A change to the mode of production will bring change to politics, law, philosophy, religion, and art. Max Horkheimer, Theodor W. Adorno and Walter Benjamin are three of the most notable critics of Marxism. They write about the production of cultural subject in capitalist societies, agreeing that reproduction of art has drastically changed due to mechanization. Horkheimer and Adorno’s The Culture Industry: Enlightenment as Mass Deception and Benjamin’s The Work of…show more content…
Art will be made for the purpose of reproduction to reach the highest audience. The aura of an object will no longer matter because it will not be part of the class consciousness. As Benjamin brings up the debate of the cult value versus the exhibition value, the value of art will change so that it’s only function will be based on how many times it can be reproduced. Horkheimer and Adorno describe the culture industry as, “ millions participate in it, certain reproduction processes are necessary that inevitably require identical needs in innumerable places to be satisfied with identical goods” (1256). Benjamin argues that as soon as the authenticity is lost, art’s function is transformed. Horkheimer and Adorno describe a new function of art, to produce for mass consumption. Those in control of the modes of production want to replace the ritual value with a exhibition value to increase profit. Thus creating a bigger divide between the working class and the upper class. Art is being given a new value under capitalism. Benjamin suggests that what is being created within the society is correlated to that value that society puts on art. The quality of art being produced will shift from the cult value and the exhibition value. As Horkheimer and Adorno describe as art being created for almost instantaneous disposal, the culture doesn’t allow art to be held on to but rather be discarded for the new. Mechanical
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