1st Edition

A Philosophy of Cultural Scenes in Art and Popular Culture

By Max Ryynänen, Jozef Kovalčik Copyright 2024

    This book seeks to understand culture through the lens of scenes, analyzing them aesthetically and culturally as well as understanding them through the frameworks of gender, social networks, and artworlds.

    It is common to talk about the cultural and intellectual scenes of early twentieth-century Vienna, the visual art scene of postwar New York, and the music and fashion scene of the swinging London. We often think about artists and works of art as essentially belonging to a certain scene. Scenes might offer a new approach to study what is possible, what is a tradition, and/or to discuss what are the relevant units of contemporary culture for research. The book posits that scenes explain a lot about how the artworld and the cultural field function. Vivienne Westwood, Rene Magritte, Roman Jakobson, Arthur C. Danto, Susan Sontag, James Baldwin, and Didier Eribon are among the figures included in the book, which examines scenes in cities such as Moscow, Bombay, New York, London, Paris, Brussels, Helsinki, and Bratislava.

    The book will be of interest to scholars working in art history, cultural studies, philosophy, film, literature, and urban studies.

    1.     Three Giants: Vivienne Westwood, Roman Jakobson and René Magritte, and their vertical and horizontal travels through scenes  2.     Sketching Out the Structure of the Scenes  3.     The Scene-Driven Art Theories of Danto and Sontag – and the Urban Thinking of the Twentieth-Century Philosophers  4.     If Beale Street Could Talk like Greenwich Village: Scenes, Class, Ethnicity and Some Notes on Contemporary Urban Studies Through Scenes  5.     Aesthetics of the Scenes  6.     Film Scenes: Professionals, Institutionally Homeless Filmmakers, and Film Enthusiasts


    Max Ryynänen is Principal Lecturer of Theory of Visual Culture at Aalto University.

    Jozef Kovalčik is lecturer of Aesthetics at Comenius University in Bratislava, Slovakia and director of Slovak Arts Council.