chapter  6
12 Pages

Art and Theory: The Politics of the Invisible

In his essay ' The Historical Gene sis of a Pure Aesthetic ', Pierre Bourdieu offers a useful thumbnail sketch of the histor ical processes involved in the form ation of an aesthetic structure of vision - what Bourdieu calls the 'pure gaze ' - in which the work of art is at tended to in and for itself. The organization of the categories governing how works of art are named or labelIed , Bourdieu argues , plays an important role within these processes and he sugge sts that the term 'theory' might aptly be used to describe these cate gor ies , the manner of their functioning and their effects. 'Theory ', he writes , ' is a particularly apt word becau se we are dealing with sceing - theorein - and of making others see ' (Bourdieu 1987: 203) .