CfP: MORAL ART: Is art allowed to be moral? (ZÄK)

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Date(s): 14. April – 31. December


The Zeitschrift für Ästhetik und Allgemeine Kunstwissenschaft (ZÄK), founded in 1906 by Max Dessoir and re-founded in 1966, is one of the oldest peer-reviewed journals for aesthetics and the theory of art. In its 67th year, it addresses the relationship between art and morality. We welcome original contributions on two complementary topics that analyse the relationship between art and morality: from the perspective of artistic production and from the perspective of the reception of art.

ISSUE 67/1 ∙ 2022 MORAL ART: Is art allowed to be moral? (Deadline: 31 December 2021)

Is art allowed to be moral? Or must art be evil: immoral, shocking, offensive?

The first issue will lay a special focus on the relationship between art and morality with regard to the production of art.

What would it mean for art to be moral? That in itself is an unanswered question. But as difficult as it is to answer, it seems to be clear to many of the art world’s stakeholders that art has the right to be immoral. Ever since Baude-laire’s Fleurs du Mal, it even seems as if art must be evil and immoral if it does not want to appear affirmative, boring, unattractive, or embarrassingly moralistic.

Can art only fulfil its mission if it provokes the moral feel-ings of many people? Or does the demand that art should not bow to the prevailing morality, but should disturb and devalue it, fail to recognise the nature of art and the way it affects people? Does it possibly even underestimate the potential impact of moral art and the contribution it can make to improving social conditions?

If art is allowed to be moral: What does this mean for artists and for art production? Is it possible to produce art that deserves to be called “moral”—and if so, how? Are there criteria to which artists can orient themselves if they want to produce moral art? Or does the moral character of art depend above all on how it is commented on and situated by those who produce it?

Original contributions in German, English, or French that discuss questions such as these in a profound and thorough way—whether in a purely theoretical manner or using art of any kind as an example—are requested by 31.12.2021 by e-mail to the editorial office of the ZÄK: The length of the sub-mitted contributions should not exceed 45,000 characters (including spaces and footnotes).