The Aesthetic - Richard Shusterman, Theory, Culture & Society. 23(2-3).
Not surprisingly, there is significant dissent to the Kantian orthodoxy of aesthetic disinterestedness and functionlessness. Nietzsche (1956: 238–40) mordantly mocks the dogma of disinterestedness as an expression of philosophers’ prudishness, innocence and second-hand, spectator’s view of art – contrasting it to the creative, hands-on view of the artist. The power of art and beauty, he argues, derives not from disinterest but rather from ‘the excitement of the will, of “interest”’ [‘die Errgeung des Willes (“des Interesses”)’].
When our estheticians tirelessly rehearse, in support of Kant’s view, that the spell of beauty enables us to view even nude female statues ‘disinterestedly’ we may be allowed to laugh a little at their expense. The experiences of artists in this delicate matter are rather more ‘interesting’; certainly Pygmalion was not entirely devoid of esthetic feeling.