De numeris non est disputandum!
Die Zahl als Rechtfertigungsargument in der bildenden Kunst der Gegenwart

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The field of contemporary arts is currently going through a serious legitimation crisis. Possible solutions to overcoming this crisis are currently being discussed in the context of debates about the value art can or should have in our society. The proposed solutions encompass a wide range of approaches – from academic ones to appproaches based on the creative economy or social integration – but they all have one thing in common: the use of numerical evaluations as legitimization tools.

In the absence of commonly accepted criteria for the reception and evaluation of contemporary arts, numerical evaluations are not only becoming a substitute for qualitative criteria, they also offer a new foundation for seemingly straightforward but in fact multifaceted legitimatization strategies.

Tempting as it sounds, it would be a mistake to assume that a move back to traditional aesthetics in assessing the value of contemporary arts might still be possible as an answer to this legitimation debate.

A multidimensional axiology that includes numerical and performance-based evaluations alongside usual modes of aesthetic reception might be a necessary step toward a post-aesthetic – that is, a not merely self-referential, autonomous and arts-based – perspective on the role arts have to play in modern society.