Mr Louis Hartnoll



Research project: The Social Character of Art in a Critical Theory of Society; Theodor W. Adorno and Art as fait social


This research reconsiders the concept of fait social [social fact] as it appears in the work of Theodor W. Adorno, particularly with reference to his posthumously-published Aesthetic Theory (1970). Reading the reference to Émile Durkheim as an invitation, this research proposes to think elements of Adorno's philosophy of art, especially the Doppelcharakter der Kunst, through his critical theory of society and the social. Further treating this by way of the work of G.W.F. Hegel, Karl Marx, and Gillian Rose, among others, it is in turn argued that post-1989 artistic developments in the category of 'socially-engaged art' do not simply pose problems for art-historical frameworks of intelligibility. Rather, the problem here centres on comprehending such developments as bound to the contradictions and antagonisms that formulate a ‘social' under the economically mediated conditions of high capitalism.

  • Research degree: PhD
  • Title of project: The Social Character of Art in a Critical Theory of Society; Theodor W. Adorno and Art as fait social
  • Research supervisor: Professor Peter Osborne
  • Other research supervisor: Professor Howard Caygill


Outside of my doctoral research at the CRMEP, I am currently an assistant editor at the Afterall Research Centre and an associate lecturer on the MRes Art programme at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London.

Areas of research interest

  • Theodor W. Adorno
  • Frankfurt School
  • Critical theory
  • G.W.F. Hegel
  • Gillian Rose
  • Marxism
  • Contemporary art history
  • Contemporary art theory
  • Art historical methodology
  • Art and society


  • MA Aesthetics and Art Theory, CRMEP, Kingston University, London
  • MA Contemporary Art Theory, Goldsmiths College, University of London
  • BA(Hons) Advertising, London College of Communication, University of the Arts London

Funding or awards received

  • AHRC–TECHNE Ph.D. Scholarship (2017)
  • CRMEP Aesthetics and Art Theory Dissertation Prize (2017)
  • CRMEP Postgraduate Scholarship (2015)
  • Socrates–Erasmus Postgraduate Scholarship (2012)


2018, ‘Without Further Ado: Review of Theodor W. Adorno, Aesthetics', in Radical Philosophy, 2.03.

2015, co-editor, Bad Feelings, London: Book Works, Series Editor: Nina Power.

Conference papers

2016, 'Hegel and Arts Historical Exceptionalism', Society for European Philosophy–Forum for European Philosophy Annual Conference, Regent's University, London.