The New Sensibility
Posted by s woods on February 12, 2013
Because the new sensibility demands less ‘content’ in art, and is more open to the pleasures of ‘form’ and style, it is also less snobbish, less moralistic — in that it does not demand that pleasure in art necessarily be associated with edification. If art is understood as a form of discipline of the feelings and a programming of sensations, then the feeling (or sensation) given off by a Rauschenberg painting might be like that of a song by the Supremes. The brio and elegance of Budd Boetticher’s The Rise and Fall of Legs Diamond or the singing style of Dionne Warwick can be appreciated as a complex and pleasurable event. They are experienced without condescension.
- Susan Sontag, “One Culture and the New Sensibility,” 1965
[I've been under the impression for a long time that Sontag mentioning the Supremes and Dionne Warwick was a Big Deal. To this McLuhan/Aesthetics of Rock fan, it all seems a bit so-what to me, but perhaps in context, in 1965 -- inside the halls of academia? -- assigning value to the Supremes did signal some kind of line being crossed. I don't know. I've also heard that Sontag later shrugged off whatever affinities she once expressed for pop, though I've never seen the evidence of such.]