Art in the Age

Published March 22, 2010 by Molly

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Shopping is only fun if you can find something truly worth spending money on, and that task is a tough one to undertake these days. Luckily, Art in the Age exists as a perfect antidote to mall fatigue.

The site takes its title (and philosophy) from on an essay by the German cultural theorist Walter Benjamin, who mourned the loss of “the aura” of objects as a consequence of mass production lessening the spiritual value of its commodities. (You might have to read that sentence twice—we’re tryna distill an entire essay into a sentence, so, you know. Some stuff is lost in translation. The full essay is here, scholars!)

ANYHOW, Art in the Age sees Benjamin’s essay as the spark of inspiration to form a beautiful collection of well-crafted and aura-filled products. Some examples include letterpressed notecards, zines, this incredible Edgar Allen Poe alliteration print, books by Elizabeth Peyton and so much more. Start emptying your piggy bank!

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2 comments so far

  1. Steven says:

    Mmm. While it’s a common misreading of Benjamin, he understood the loss of aura as a //positive// development, not something to be “mourned” at all (people would later use his theorization of aura to bemoan its loss, but he himself never did). In his thinking, “aura” was conferred on an object though systems and histories of exclusivity that ultimately supported hegemonic power structures, suggesting that “[m]echanical reproduction emancipates the work of art from its parasitical dependence on ritual.”

    The projects/products are still quite nice though, FWIW.

  2. Susanne says:

    Steven is right. Benjamin even links “aura” to fascitic aesthetics.