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Apr
09
2004
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Re: Re: Paradox of Political Art

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POSTED BY: mark cooley | Fri Apr 9th, 2004 4:17 p.m.

general thoughts - this thread has produced some interesting discussion, but i keep reading that there is this thing called "political art" versus what - "regular art"? this nonpolitical art would express universality, transcendence, timelessness and other colonialist stuff. this term "political art" is more useful, i think, if we think of it as a product of the culture industry itself. Dyske, mentioned Hans Haacke back in the article. Haacke, is often called a political artist, or other such term, yet, precisely what Haacke has indicated through is works is that institutions act in accordance with a set of values, these values more often than not, in capitalist societies, are highly undemocratic self interested machines of profit that protect and nuture an elite class... art institutions are no different, but at the same time (like other institutions) they are not monolithic. there are people working and trying to uphold unpopular values from within to make changes in the institution. i think some of what Dyske was upset about (though poorly argued) is that artists don't always know that they are part of an industry while they are within it. i think that why he showed an interest in Haacke, because Haacke directly deals with the politics of the institution of which he is a part. i do think that Dyske had a couple of points, but it came off to me way too much like arguments i hear students make that come to class after having seen Bill O'reilly on Fox. "What are THEY protesting the war for, don't THEY know that THEY wouldn't even be able to protest if the THEY didn't live in this free country." that is such a fascist argument. having said that, i do think that there could be much more institutional criticism within the arts. especially within New Media practice. i dont think Dyske would disagree with me there.

ryan griffis wrote:

> hi Lee,
>
> > Lets take it back to Goya, and I am not talking about the brand of
> > beans.
>
> good beans though ;)
>
> > You can take it back through history as far as you want.
> > It wasn't until the 60's, when people like us had too much time on
> > their hands.
>
> but haven't artists always been in the class that has "too much time
> on
> their hands?" maybe there's more of us now, as global economics can
> displace our subsistence labor somewhere else.
>
> > It wasn't until the 60's that political art became a fad
>
> i'm assuming your leaving out socialist realism ( of the various
> CCCP,
> US, and Nazi varieties) on purpose. but even prior to that... what
> about American genre and history painting, regionalism, political
> portraiture? (sorry for leaving out other sources, but i'm more
> versed
> in US history) but i guess the word "fad" wasn't used so maybe you're
> right. but don;t you think it's important to contextualize the form
> of
> political art you're referring to and the 60s? people greatly
> effected
> by the various movements of the 60s are now in institutional
> positions.
> they may not be able to (or want to) structurally change the
> institutions, but they can make pictures of it. just look at the
> popularity of artists like Sam Durant.
>
> >
> > We should all be happy for this war. It really get the blood
> flowing
> > (ah ya)
> > Artists get worked up, Writers get worked up, Society gets worked
> up.
> > Unfortunately our brothers and fathers and friends and friends of
> > friends have to die for our inspiration.
> > I wonder how boring art will look after 50 years of world peace and
> > happiness.
> > I look forward to the fact that I may still be alive to see that
> day.
>
> again, this just seems to assume political art as reactionary and one
> dimensional. is it just because it has subject matter that is tied to
> a
> specific issue? why aren't the larger sets of values contained in any
> activity considered?
> political art is not just critique of specific issues. quite a bit of
> the more interesting work is as utopian and gestural as anything. to
> give a digital example, try the futurefarmers or Natalie Bookchin or
> Ricardo Miranda Zuniga.
> but i'm with you on wishing to be alive in peaceful utopia, if not
> counting on it.
> ryan
>