Postsensual Aesthetics: On the Logic of the Curatorial
Book Presentation with James Voorhies
In this original work of aesthetic theory, James Voorhies argues that we live in the shadow of old ways of thinking about art that emphasize the immediate visual experience of an autonomous art object. Theory should encompass the full range of activities through which we encounter art and exhibitions, in which reading and thinking are central to the aesthetic experience today. Voorhies advances the theoretical framework of a “postsensual aesthetics,” which does not mean one that is beyond a sensual engagement with objects but rather embraces the cognitive connections with ideas that unite art and knowledge production. Cognitive engagements with art often begin with publications conceived as integral to exhibitions, conveying the knowledge and research artists and curators produce, and continuing in time and space beyond traditional curatorial frames. The idea, and not just visual immediacy, is now art’s defining moment.
Yet, while many artists and curators look to the book as a valuable consolidator for presenting archival- and research-based work, aesthetic value remains concerned with the sensual experience of the viewer and the autonomy of the discrete art object. The theoretical framework of “postsensual aesthetics” posed by Voorhies in his new book seeks to amplify and reposition methodologies by both artists and curators who foreground knowledge production.
Based in Miami Beach and New York City, James Voorhies is a writer, art historian, and curator of The Bass in Miami Beach.