As readers of my previous post posts will know, I cannot claim to speak on behalf on poshumanism, nor tell what it might dictate for art. That said, I do have great sympathy for the claim, expressed by Taney in her various writings and in her questions for this symposium, that contemporary art must recover the sensual, the expressive, the embodied. While I take it that that is a common goal among the panelists here, I have some perhaps divergent ideas about how best to enable that that reflect my philsophical differences, expressed previously, as well as other personal experience and attitudes.
I am a newspaper art critic, of nearly fifteen years experience, working mostly in the "college town" of Ithaca, NY (hello to Werner Sun, my neighbor, if you're out there!). While academic thought runs deep in my family background and in my ongoing reading, my primary loyalties are to artists working outside of, or in some cases marginal to, academia. Art is not an academic discipline! Without engaging in broad brush condemnations of academic contributions to current thinking on the arts, I propose that most academic commentators on contemporary art are handicapped in understanding and accepting the broad range of what is, in fact, going on. The temptation to interpret and judge the importance of artists and artistic tendencies on the basis of specialized commitments and esoteric (to be unkind) theories is too strong.
Let me recommend that the best way to recover the sensuous immediacy of art is not to dictate, not in the name of supposedly radical and liberatory intellectual theory, what artists ought to be doing. I think rather, we writers and commentators ought to let practicing artists take the lead. And I while do I identify with modernism in the visual arts, I think the old military metaphor of the avant garde is dead, buried. Radical formal or stylistic innovation, while a generative goal back in the day, is no longer the wide open horizon that it used to be. I think most contemporary radicalism in the visual arts is false and that the posture of perennial oppositionality impedes what is genuinely valuable about art-making. So I think we ought to be open, at least in principle, to the whole gamut, rather than trying to stipulate or predict.