a few responses to Dyske's words
I do realize that there were
> with political intentions long before that, but these historical
> tidbits of
> political art are not particularly relevant in my discussion.
how can political art, "tid bits" as you say, not be relevent. your assuming, which is fine, (though i don't think consciously) that this thing, invented about 200 years ago, called "Fine Art", in which there is supposed be some seperation between what a form is (it's pure aesthetic value) and what it does (it's cultural function).
> This was my attempt to turn political artists' own arguments on
WHO are THEY?
> They are the ones who purify motives, not me. They speculate, for
> instance, that the Iraq war is actually motivated by oil.
who are "THEY" and who cares about motives. i wouldn't be so bold as to judge any State's foreign policy by the supposed motives of a black substance found deep within the earth... we call it "oil", and i don't think it has motives. let's deal with structural facts. it may be "speculation" to make guesses as to what the Team Bush collective head holds, in terms of intentions, motives, secret desires, ultimate hopes for "mankind", whatever, i mean the guy wants to colonize mars as an "insurance policy" (actually a NASA quote but i couldn't resist). BUT we don't need to "speculate" to see structural facts in the global economic/political system. we don't need to speculate who payed for bush's election and who was chosen to rebuild iraq. http://opensecrets.org. again if you could say WHO the THEY are that we are (Not) talking about then we could actually bring up examples and have some sort of talk about specifics. i don't think you care much about specifics.
I would argue that such
> reduction is impossible. And, if such a reductive argument can be used
> to oppose the war, then one could also speculate that artists are
> motivated by self-promotion, and invalidate their work. If self-promotion is
> inextricably mixed in their motives, then what is wrong with oil being mixed in the
> motives of the Bush Administration?
Are you serious - are too busy philosophizing to see that maybe getting a gig at a gallery, or even (bush forbid) getting a big show or book or whatever as an artist for making consciously engaged political art IS the SAME thing as destroying a country, hundreds of thousands of people, occuppying the country, giving out the contracts to rebuild the country to the corporations that is paid(and pays) for the president's election and so on? so what if artist's are seeking self-promotion, for work that they believe in. we all have to support ourselves, we do live as Capitalists, who isn't (even unwillingly) part of this system. i mean we are all involved in wage slavery, on some level, who are we kidding. i can handle the self-promotion of an artist (even the most arrogant self promotion), i can't handle my taxes promoting a war. you really think these things are the same?
> I can't come up with good examples, because I want to avoid naming
> artists. Digital artists are not particularly successful, and they
> need any negative criticism. If I can think of some major artists I
> use as examples, I'll let you know.
this is such a cop-out, sorry. you've written, and defended an article, an argument for which you can mention NO examples for fear of destroying these poor struggling digital artist's careers? is anyone is supposed to take this seriously, not to mention the overimplied arrogance at your assumption that to name names would have any effect on the success of digital artists.
> To elaborate further: If their desire to exist as terrorists is their
> primary concern, then they are in fact being helped by the fact that
> opponents exist. That is, they should thank their enemies for letting
> be what they want to be.
> By the same token, if your desire to be an artist is your primary
> and if your art is about corrupt corporations, then you would have to
> the corrupt corporations for existing, for otherwise your career as an
> artist would not exist.
i hope your not serious. under this twisted logic an abolishionist in the days of slavery should have thanked the slave master for importing slaves so that the abolishionist would have something to complain about. or maybe freed slaves should have thanked the slavemasters for enslaving them in the first place for without slavery they would never have been "freed slaves". this is stupid argument. thanks Mr. Bush for giving us all something to complain about - what would we do with our art careers if we didn't have fascists to make art about... i'd better vote for bush so that i can preserve my art career. just because things are in relationship with one another (protester / protested) does not make them the same thing. i'm not that bright and i know that.