The establishment of the mass media as major players within the art field of the 1960s. A challenge to Pierre Bourdieu´s art field conception
Zahner, Nina Tessa
Institut of Cultural Science, Faculty of Philosophy and Social Science. University of Leipzig Leipzig, Germany
Within Pierre Bourdieus art field conception aesthetics and art critique play an important role in mediating and defining high art. This powerful position of aesthetics and art critique gets challenged empirically when looking at the art field of the 1960s. In the 1960s a number of artists were to produce art that could be understood by the audience without this mediating practices as it either referred to everyday knowledge or to contexts that the artists themselves provided. The paper will present the reconstruction of the career paths of some major artists in the western art field of the 1950s and 1960s. A comparison of these careers will show that the definition processes of art changed dramatically during this period: The described artistic practices put the quasi-monopolistic position of the art critique for interpreting and defining the art of the time into question and included a number of new actors in this process. It will be shown that the mass media became one of these important new actors within the art definition processes. This development changed the art definition process and the power structure of the art field fundamentally. Publicity now became an important new type of capital within the field. It became an alternative source for the accumulation of economic and symbolic capital and opened new career paths to artists. The paper will show in detail that, from now on, it was not only specific artistic capital that could lead to a successful career in the arts but also publicity skills, a specific form of cultural capital.