Consider the nature and function of art and art historical scholarship in the present: Is there still a line—even fine or porous—securing the fragile autonomy of the arts and humanities from commodification in late capitalism? Can art still serve as a negative and critical mirror for reality under the seemingly complete commodification and technological mediation of social life? Is there any real need for art and art historical scholarship even to exist today? Can the arts and humanities serve an emancipatory social agenda, and, if so, how? What role might the humanist ideals once shared by liberals and communists play in the reformulation of art and scholarship today?

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