Authentic artworks, Adorno claims, stand in an autonomous relationship to the life processes of society. They do not exist outside or beyond social reality, but they do not follow the norms of reason that hold the social totality together. Historically, autonomous artworks began to emerge when art ceased to be geared towards social affirmation. In so far as art is autonomous it has an oppositional and historically determinate relationship to society. According to Adorno, the culture industry exemplifies non-

autonomous aesthetic productivity. It heteronomously creates commodities which manipulate consumers into reacting in ways that entrench social norms. The forms of its commodities are predictable and simple and therefore provide no contrastive experience to that of everyday life. As a consequence, no possibility of a critical perspective on the conditions of social reality is given by heteronomous works. Autonomous art has a critical potential because it stands in

opposition to social norms. This critical relationship has two dimensions. (1) The distinctive practices of purely aesthetic works are at odds with the prevailing norm of usefulness. (2) Autonomous works are revolutionary in their constant renewal of aesthetic form. This distinguishes them from the limited negotiations of the world permitted by reified consciousness. The oppositionality of artworks underlines Adorno’s claim that

artworks are historical. An implication of this historical reality is that the fullest experience of artworks is available only to those who live within the same historical conditions as those in which the artwork was created. Adorno describes as archaic artworks which are no longer experientially available to us. He criticizes the ‘regressive’ efforts of Stravinsky to give aesthetic form to the loss of experience that is characteristic of the archaic.