The exemplarities of artworks

Heidegger, shoes, and pixar

Julie Kuhlken

pp. 17-30

Heidegger's essays "The Origin of the Work of Art" and "The Question Concerning Technology" provide a revealing insight into the importance of exemplarity to artworks. Originally the notion that exemplarity is essential to art is Kantian: As Kant puts it, since originality can produce "original nonsense, [beautiful art's] products must be models, i.e. exemplary." However, what Heidegger recognizes is that even if exemplarity allows us to take art seriously in spite of its excesses, it exposes the artwork to new dangers: on the one hand, to the "world withdrawal of the work" as occurs in consignment to the museum shelf, and on the other, to the conditions of Enframing as "challenging-forth," under which art is taken as a means to an end—dangers which point to the division of artworks between "fine" art and "popular" art. Since Heidegger's approach favors the former, we will try to gain new critical insight by considering his arguments in the light of a "popular" work that allows us to formulate an exemplarity of popular art as the necessary complement to that of traditional art. By means of an understanding of the exemplarities (in the plural) of artworks, we will be able to reconsider the significance of Heidegger's notions of reliability, Enframing, and poiesis for our current technological conditions.

Publication details

DOI: 10.1007/s11007-007-9048-3

Full citation:

Kuhlken, J. (2007). The exemplarities of artworks: Heidegger, shoes, and pixar. Continental Philosophy Review 40 (1), pp. 17-30.

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