Art, in this view, redeems the catastrophe of history. To play this role, art must preserve what might be called a moral monumentality—a requirement which explains, I believe, much of the mistrust in the modern period of precisely those modern works which have more or less violently rejected any such edifying and petrifying functions. Claims for the high morality of art may conceal a deep horror of life. And yet nothing, perhaps, is more frivolous than that horror, since it carries within it the conviction that because of the achievements of culture, the disasters of history somehow do not matter.
Leo Bersani, Culture of Redemption
Social ineffectuality stands revealed as the essence of art in bourgeois society, and thus provokes the self-criticism of art.
Peter Burger, Theory of the Avant-Garde