From the Summer, 1991 issue of Touchstone

The Crisis of Modern Art by Heinrich Stammler

The Crisis of Modern Art

Nicholas Berdiaev’s Prophetic Critique

by Heinrich Stammler

In 1931 there appeared in the Zeitschrift für Aesthetik und allgemeine Kunstwissenschaft an article entitled “The Historicity of Art.” The author was a young assistant professor of Philosophy, Helmut Kuhn, who later made a name for himself as a Platonist philosopher, aesthetician, and specialist in problems of ethics. In his essay Kuhn was concerned with the question of the degree to which art is either subject to the laws of historical change or exempt by virtue of its intrinsic qualities—thus in some way transcending the perishability of all earthly things.

Paradoxically, the historicity of art becomes manifest in its very origin in a given . . .


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