___Scholarly Publications (and INTRO)


CV & Publications _ Max Ryynänen _ 03062022

Teaching Portfolio _ 12012022

I am a Helsinki-based scholar (and writer) with one foot in philosophical aesthetics and the other in cultural studies, cultural semiotics and idea history. I also have a professional history in performing arts, gallery management (ROR Gallery, Kallio Kunsthalle, Gallery KLEIN), critique, essays, fiction and art writing (Kunstkritikk, Flash Art, Art Pulse).

I work in the crossroads of (German) phenomenology, Italian hermeneutics, the Frankfurt School, pragmatist aesthetics, echoes of the Birmingham School  and Indian philosophy – without forgetting the ‘queminist’, race and class sensitive touch that quite naturally lands a bit in nearly every text, echoing my background: I am not from the middle class and my immigrant childhood in multicultural environments like Rinkeby Stockholm (working class cosmopolitanism) left traces.

Especially my book On The Philosophy of Central European Art: The History of an Institution and its Global Competitors (Lexington Books, Rowman & Littlefield 2020), an introduction to the birth and development of the concept of art and the art system in Central Europe, its global outreach through colonialism and diaspora – including an analysis of the way highbow art has appropriated‘ folk’ art and popular culture – has a societal outreach. My latest book, Bodily Engagements with Film, Images and Tech: Somavision (Routledge, 2022) is a journey into film, social media, photo documentation and other contemporary media practices from the point of view of the soma (body-mind).

Lately I have e.g. edited the  volumes Art, Excess, and Education (Palgrave 2019; with Kevin Tavin and Mira Kallio-Tavin) and Aesthetics in Dialogue (Peter Lang 2019; with Zoltan Somhegyi). Aesthetics Perspectives on Culture, Politics, Landscape: Appearance of the Political, coedited with Elisabetta Di Stefano and Carsten Friberg has just come out (Springer, 2022). And Cultural Approaches to Disgust and the Visceral (Routledge, co-edited with Susanne Ylönen and Heidi Kosonen) will be published in September 2022. I am also working on The Changing Meaning of Kitsch with Paco Barragan (Palgrave, est. 2023). 2023 will also be the year when mine and Zoltan Somhegyi’s Aesthetic Theory Across The Disciplines (Rowman and Littlefield) will come out.

Topic-wise I have worked on e.g. contemporary art, body philosophy, appropriation, urban aesthetics, architectural heritage, disgust, film studies (especially bodily reactions to film), aesthetic experience, pop, kitsch, rasa theory and critical perspectives on the art system art. Lately I seem to have been drifting also into more general questions in philosophy (robotics, Marxism).

As a PhD/Docent in aesthetics, ex Chair of the Finnish Society for Aesthetics (2014-2018) and ex member of the board of the International Association of Aesthetics (2014-2018), I have naturally published articles on ‘pure’ philosophy of art e.g. in journals like Contemporary Aesthetics (another one here, one here too), Nordic Journal of AestheticsJournal of Somaesthetics and Terra Aesthetica, but most of my work is still semi-practical, essayistic or something which you could refer to as applied aesthetics. In Finnish I have published essay books (on ice hockey and film) and in art journals (Art Pulse, Flash Art, Atlantica Internacional, Kunstkritikk) I have published philosophical interviews and theoretical essays.

I am the (founder and) editor-in-chief of Popular Inquiry: The Journal of the Aesthetics of Kitsch, Camp and Mass Culture together with Jozef Kovalcik. With Richard Shusterman and Falk Heinrich I was 3 years the editor of The Journal of Somaesthetics. I am also on the international advisory board of Terra Aestheticae (2017-), Aesthetica Universalis (2018-), ESPES, The Journal of Global Popular Culture, the Finnish journal for art education Research in Arts and Education (2018-), Journal of Ecohumanism (2021) – and an ex board member in The Nordic Journal of Aesthetics (2002-2005) and the Finnish journal for artistic research Ruukku (2017-2019).

Currently I am working on architectural heritage (with Ksenia Kaverina), especially the question “why preserve?”, all and all, and to what extent.  A book on scenes is in the making – i.e. art scenes, what are they really? – with Jozef Kovalcik. With Petteri Kummala I am working on a text on Heidegger’s concept equipment, and one could rethink it. And I am working on a semi-scholarly non-fiction book about writer Armas J. Pulla (with Rami Nummi).


Cultural Approaches to Disgust and the Visceral, ed. with Susanne Ylönen & Heidi Kosonen. New York: Routledge, 2022.

“Longing for a Place Which Does Not Exist: The Importance of Kitsch in the Estonian Singing Revolution,” with Eret Talviste, The Journal of Baltic Studies 2022/1.

The Changing Meaning of Kitsch, ed. with Paco Barragan. New York: Palgrave, est. fall 2022.

“Why Preserve? Questioning Central European Ethnicity, Appropriation, and Preserving Buildings; Or, Curating (In) Decay”, with Ksenia Kaverina, Nordic Journal of Aesthetics 2022/1.


Bodily Engagements with Film, Images, and Technology: Somavision. New York: Routledge, 2022.

Aesthetic Perspectives on Culture, Politics, and Landscape, ed. with Elisabetta Di Stefano and Carsten Friberg. Berlin: Springer, 2021. Includes my article “Political Concepts as Aesthetic Concepts,” and texts by the other editors, Katya Mandoki, Margus Vihalem, Mateusz Salwa and Majid Heidari.

Updating Artes Vulgares,” for the special issue on Richard Shusterman’s Ars Erotica, ed. Eli Kramer, Eidos: A Journal for Philosophy of Culture Vol 5, 2021/4: 129-132.

“Living Beauty, Rethinking Rap: Revisiting Shusterman’s Philosophy of Hip Hop,” in Jerold Abrams, ed, Shusterman’s Somaesthetics: From Hip Hop Philosophy to Politics and Performance Art (Leiden: Brill, 2022), 74-85.

Well-Construed Examples: A Shy Note on Arnold Berleant’s Environmental Aesthetics,” Popular Inquiry 2022: 1, Special Issue: Liber Amicorum for Arnold Berleant, eds. Madalina Diaconu and Max Ryynänen, 157-162.

“Kitsch,” in Valery Vinogradovs (ed.), Aesthetic Literacy: A book for everyone, 152-153. Melbourne: Mont Publishing.


“Väline taideteoksena, taideteos välineenä: Viihteen ja taiteen välitiloja Martin Heideggerin tuotannon valossa,” [Equipment as Work of Art, Work of Art as Equipment: In-Betweens of Entertainment and Art in Margin Heidegger’s Philosophy], niin & näin 2021: 4, 25-31.

“Can The (Non-)Subaltern (Understand) Rap? Rap as Vernacular Critical Theory,” Journal of Asia-Pacific Pop Culture, 2021/6, 213-229. Special issue: Contemporary Popular Culture and Social Criticism, guest eds, Valentina Antoniol & Samir Gandesha & Stefano Marino.

Is Most Marxist Art (And ‘Activism’) Actually Social Democratic? And if so, what should art (and design) universities do about it?,” Research in Arts and Education 2021: 2, 81-94.

Somaesthetics and Phenomenology – A Handful of Notes.” In the special issue of The Journal of Somaesthetics: Somaesthetics and Phenomenology (edited by me), Vol 7, 2021: 1, 4-14.

Mario Perniola, the Dank Humanities, and the Role of the Philosopher in Contemporary Culture.” Ágalma: Rivista di studi culturali e di estetica fondata da Mario Perniola, 2021/May, 123-131.

“Review: Educating Bodies, Educating Streets (Richard Shusterman, ed, Bodies in the Street: The Somaesthetics of City Life)”, The Journal of Aesthetic Education, Vol 5, No 2, Summer 2021: 115-121.

Review: James O. Young, Radically Rethinking Copyright in the Arts“, for The British Journal of Aesthetics.

Making Sense of ‘Tropical’ Kitsch.” With Anna-Sofia Sysser. Contemporary Aesthetics, Vol 19, 2021.

Learning From DRE: Teaching Aesthetics and Art Theory to Artists (like an executive producer.”  The Journal of Aesthetics and Comparative Literature, Vol 44, 2021: 1, 27-33.



On The Philosophy of Central European Art: The History of an Institution and its Global Competitors. Lexington Books (Rowman & Littlefield), 2020.

Editor, together with Riikka Perälä, of the Journal of Somaesthetics 2020/2, Unhealthy and Dangerous Lifestyles – and the Care of the Self, including the Introduction/Editorial (p. 4-9).

“Eat Your Heart Out: Peripheric Interpretation – Or How Films Penetrate Our Body”. In Esteticky Zbornik: Estetika centra a periferie, edited by Michaela Pašteková and Martin Kanuch, 108-124. Bratislava: Slovenská asociácia pre estetiku, 2020.

“Rethinking Art Education: The Art School Theory Teacher as an Executive Producer”. In Slavka Kopackova, ed, Estetická výchova a prax vyučovania estetiky v kontextoch európskeho estetického myslenia 19. a 20. storočia – dialóg s tradíciou a súčasné koncepcie. Presov: Presov University Press, 2020. 262-272.

Aesthetics in Dialogue: Applying Philosophy of Art in a Global World. Ed. with Zoltan Somhegyi. 2nd editor. Berlin: Peter Lang, 2020. The book also includes my article “Rasa Industry” (95-106), which discusses today’s TV series through ancient Indian theatre theories. Other authors include e.g. Katya Mandoki, Kathleen Higgins, Yuriko Saito and Tyrus Miller.

Elävää kauneutta: Kulttuurin kierrätyksestä ja vanhojen teosten uudelleenlämmittämisestä (sekä muista Richard Shustermanin varhaisen rap-estetiikan kulmakivistä,” in Sini Mononen, Janne Palkisto, Inka Rantakallio (eds), Musiikki ja merkityksenanto (Helsinki: Suoni, 2020), 237-254.

“Death Style, The Ultimate Expression of a Lifestyle: A Sketch for a Popular Futurology and Art Education for Funerals”, in Art Communication and Pop Culture 2019: 1-2, 6-17.

Notes on the Yellow Press (and its Impact on Art). A Sketchy Return to the Mass Culture Debate.” Aesthetica Universalis, 2020: 1, 151-174.

& Jozef Kovalcik, “Gazing at the Invisible: How Can Aesthetic Theory Help Make Sense of the State of Emergency Initiated by Covid-19?” In Popular Inquiry 2020: 2, 3-5.

“Kitsch Happens: On the Kitsch Experience of Nature.” In ESPES 2019: 2, 10-16.



Art, Excess, and Education: Historical and Discursive Contexts. (3rd) Ed. with Kevin Tavin & Mira Kallio-Tavin. (2019.) New York: Palgrave. “Introduction” (Tavin, Kallio-Tavin, Ryynänen), pp. 1-18, and by me only “Sending Chills Up My Spine: Somatic Film and the Care of the Self“, pp. 183-197.

“From Haunted Ruin to the Most Touristified of All Cities.” In Jeanette Bicknell, Jennifer Judkins & Carolyn Korsmeyer (eds) (2019), Philosophical Perspectives on Ruins, Monuments and Memorials, pp. 157-165. London: Routledge.

Downgrading with Style: Middle Class Anxiety and the Aesthetic Performance of Role Distance“. Poetics 2019: 1 (Feb), 43-53. Together with Jarkko Pyysiäinen (who is here author 1).

Guest Editor with Jozef Kovalcik for The Journal of Somaesthetics: Body First – Somaesthetics and Popular Culture (2019: 1). The issue includes my texts: “Introduction” (with Jozef Kovalcik), pp. 4-5, and the article “Under the Skin: Notes on the Aesthetics of Distance and Visual Culture”, pp. 85-93

“Rasafication: The Aesthetic Manipulation of our Everyday”. The Journal of Comparative Literature and Aesthetics 2019/1 (Spring), Vol 42 , pp. 165-169.

“A Handful of Takes on the Body.”  Review. The Journal of Somaesthetics. Vol 4, 2019: 2, pp. 96-99, Special Issue: Somaesthetics and Technology. (Richard Shusterman (ed), Aesthetic Experience and Somaesthetics).



The Art Scenes.” Contemporary Aesthetics, Vol 16, 2018. (Co-written with Jozef Kovalcik.)

“Contemporary Kitsch: The Death of Pseudo Art and the Birth of Everyday Cheesiness (A Postcolonial Inquiry),” Terra Aestheticae, Vol I (Theoria), 2018: 1, 70-86.

Learning from Decay: Aesthetics of Architectural Disintegration, with Zoltan Somhegyi (co-written), Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, 2018.

“Low Theory and Crazy White Men: An Interview with Jack Halberstam.” Popular Inquiry, Vol 2, Spring 2018, 2-9.



“Rock me Amadeus: Aesthetics and the Highbrow Appropriation of Lowbrow.” In Zoltan Somhegyi (ed), Yearbook of the International Association for Aesthetics. Sharjah: IAA, 2017. 186-196.

“Aesthetics of Distance.” Aleksi Malmberg & Annukka Vähäsöyrinki (eds). Home Re-assembled. On Art, Destruction & Belonging. Rotterdam: Jap Sam Books, 2017.

Chopin’s Heart: The Somatic Stimulation of Our Experience of Thingness in Everyday Popular Culture.” In Carsten Friberg & Raine Vasquez (eds), Heterologies of the Everyday. Copenhagen (Nordic Summer University Press, 2017, 190-205.)



“Margins of Aesthetics.” With Jozef Kovalcik. In Contemporary Aesthetics 2016 (Vol 14).which – “Umberto Eco kitschin ja massakulttuurin estetiikasta”, 102-127

– “Arvoitus nimeltään Umberto Eco. Ugo Vollin haastattelu.”, 231-259



“Throwing the Body into the Fight: The Body as an Instrument in Political Art.” The Journal of Somaesthetics 2015: 1. Vol 1: Somaesthetics and Visual Art. 108-121.

New Laokoon. On Dramaturgization or Dramaturgy as the Key to Understand the Role of the Artist Today.” In New Dramaturgy – New Dramaturge II. Ed. Vladislava Fekete. The Theatre Institute, Bratislava, 2015. 56-62.

“Teaching as a Work of Art.” With Taina Rajanti and Pia Euro. In Teija Löytönen (ed). Synnyt/Births (Finnish Journal for Art Education) 2015: 2. 41-61.


Aesthetics of Popular Culture. Ed. with Jozef Kovalcik. Bratislava: Slovart Publishing. 2014.
* “A History of Aesthetics of Popular Culture” with Jozef Kovalcik. 14-49.
* “The High, the Low, and the Weak. An Interview with Gianni Vattimo”. 234-240.
* “Pragmatism and Popular Culture. An Interview with Richard Shusterman” with Jozef Kovalcik. 228-233.

From Pragmatism to Fusion Philosophy.” Review. Nordic Journal of Aesthetics: 2014: 2. 149-156.

Taidejalkapallo.” In Sokrateen syöksypusku. Eds Mikael Melan & Jussi Saarinen. Jyväskylä: Docendo, 2014. 128-139. [Art Soccer.]


Elokuva, rakastettuni! [Film, mon amour!] Turku: Savukeidas, 2013.


“Institutional Stress. When Bureaucracy Replaces Art.” Art Pulse. Spring 2012.

“Traveling alone? Ideas for a (better) future aesthetics of touring.” In Johanna Hammarberg & Martina Marti (eds): Touring in Scandinavia and the Baltics: Bridging Regional and International Perspectives. Helsinki: Baltic Circle / Tekijä. 8-11.

”Pakko nauraa. Camp korkeakulttuurina ja lasikattona”. [Forced Entertainment. Camp as high culture and glass ceiling.] Nuori Voima 2012: 4. 38-41.

Roskamaali. Jääkiekon estetiikkaa ja kulttuurifilosofiaa.  [Garbage Goal. Aesthetics and Cultural Philosophy of Ice Hockey.] Turku: Savukeidas.


“Art and Education – or the dark side of pedagogy. A dialogue.” With Christiana Galanopoulou. Synnyt/Origins. Finnish Studies on Art. 2011 September. 1-16.


“Estetiska debatter inom ishockeyvärlden.” Ed. Valdemar Lindekrantz. Sudden Death. Bilder av ishockey. 16-21. Göteborg: Scopium, 2009.

Learning from Venice. What a unique city can teach about the aesthetics. PhD dissertation. Helsinki: University of Helsinki, e-thesis series.

“Euroopan (museo)ryöstö, vanhan taiteen paikkasidonnaisuus ja digitaalinen vallankumous – Museofilosofiaa uudelle ajalle.” Kuriositeettikabi.net 2009: 1.


“The Role of the Festival Audience”. In Johanna Hammarberg (ed) Theatre Festival Dictionary. Helsinki: Baltic Circle.

”Estetiska debatter inom ishockeyvärlden.” Ny TidKontur 2008: 2. 4-5.

Pinkkiä posliinia. Kitschin nykyhetki, oppaana Jeff Koons..” Toim. Seppo Knuuttila & Ulla Piela. Kansanestetiikka. Kalevalaseuran vuosikirja 87. 43-52. Helsinki: Kalevalaseura, 2008.


“Silloin kolahti!” Parnasso 2007: 3. 26-31.

Oskillaation massakulttuuri. Gianni Vattimo et al nykyaikaa etsimässä.” Synteesi2007: 1. 59-80.

“Lopputyön teoreettisen osan ohjaamisen erityisongelmia taideyliopistoissa.” Synnyt2007: 2. 54-61.


Liikkuminen ja liikenne Venetsian estetiikassa” Toim. Arto Haapala & Ossi Naukkarinen. Mobiiliestetiikka. Kirjoituksia liikkeen ja liikkumisen kulttuurista. Kansainvälisen soveltavan estetiikan raportteja no 3. 157-174. Lahti: Kansainvälinen soveltavan estetiikan instituutti, 2006.

Nobrow.” Toim. Yrjänä Levanto & Ossi Naukkarinen & Susann Vihma. Taiteistuminen. 155-163. Helsinki: TAIK, 2006.

“Kätilö kasvattajana ja kasvatettavana. Teorian opettamisesta taiteilijoille” Synnyt. Taidekasvatuksen tiedonala 2006: 4. 34-40.

”Ajatuksia sodan ja terrorismin estetiikasta”. Kanava 2005: 6. 392-393.


Learning from VeniceContemporary Aesthetics, Special Volume 1 (2005): Aesthetics and Mobility.

Nobrow. Nordic Journal of Aesthetics. 2005 (32). 86-98.

Umberto Eco: James Joyce, Teräsmies ja vesinokkaeläin. Helsinki: Yliopistopaino, 2005. 258 s. Ed. with Tarja Knuuttila. Contributors: Eero Tarasti, Hannu Riikonen, Jan Blomstedt, Harri Veivo, Klaus Brax, Erna Oesch, Tarja Knuuttila, Max Ryynänen.

– ”Ainakin 4 Ecoa” (with Tarja Knuuttila), 7-18
– “Umberto Eco kitschin ja massakulttuurin estetiikasta”, 102-127
– “Arvoitus nimeltään Umberto Eco. Ugo Vollin haastattelu.”, 231-259


The Double Life of Jeff Koons’ Made in Heaven Glass ArtworksNordic Journal of Aesthetics. 2004 (29-30). 99-111.

“Tutkijan roolista ja julkisesta keskustelusta.” Tiedepolitiikka 2004: 4, 53-57.


“La experiencia estética del 11 e septiembre / The aesthetic experience of the september 11th”.  Atlántica Internacional, Verano 2003, pp. 133-135.

”John Deweyn estetiikka.” Synteesi 2003: 4, 10-22.

”Venetsialaisia eskatologioita”. Kulttuurintutkimus 2003: 3, 45-52.

”Filosofihaastatteluiden filosofiaa pragmatistisen nykyestetiikan 10-vuotispäivän aattona. Richard Shustermanin haastattelu.”

Synteesi 2003: 4, 23-27. http://www.artsandletters.fau.edu/humanitieschair/finnish-interview.pdf


”Terrorism and Aesthetic Experience (or take a cigar, Buddy!)” On Khaled Ramadan’s work. Ed. Marita Muukkonen. ArTErrorIsm. Poster inside the book.
Helsinki: NIFCA, 2002. http://www.nifca.org/2006/publications/2002/ramadan/2003_03_31.html

Ecoistin elämää. Mini-esseitä Umberto Econ 70-vuotissyntymäpäivien kunniaksi.Synteesi 2002: 1. 80-107. Toim. Tarja Knuuttilan kanssa. Kirjoittajat: Jaakko Hintikka, Oiva Kuisma, Jan Blomstedt, Harri Veivo, Erna Oesch, Klaus Brax, Tarja Knuuttila ja Max Ryynänen.

– ”Massakulttuuri, alemmat taiteet ja kulttuurihierarkiat.” 85-87.

”Jeff Koonsin Made in Heaven –lasitaideteosten ontologinen kaksoiselämä.” Synteesi 2002: 4, 58-66.

”Konst, kitsch och kvasi-kitsch.”  Ny Tid 2002: 49. 6-7.


“Umberto Eco, televisio ja kitsch.” Filmihullu 2001: 6, 19-20.

”Henry Parland ja elokuvataide.” Filmihullu 2001: 3, 18-23.

”Kitschens nya syndabockar” Ny Tid 2001: 11, 8-10. http://www.nytid.fi/arkiv/artikelnt-684-1667.html


”Kitschgeneraattorit – toinen sukupolvi”.  Taide 2000: 6. 18-21.

”Massakulttuuri in Memoriam.”  Kuva 2000: 2. 28-31.


”Taiteet puntarissa: Richard Shusterman, taide ja populaaritaide” Taide 1998: 3. 44-45.

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