opportunities abound

Posted by Eric Dymond | Sat Nov 6th 2004 12:19 a.m.

In the last 4 yrs the press, media and even the art enclaves have been forgiving of a president at war.
There has been very little concerted effort to critique the current government.
Most of the interfaces offered in this domain have been self-promoting instances that ignored the current political problems and pushed their own personal agendas.
If there was a real concern for the current administrations politics, it has been sorely lacking on this listserv.
Don't complain at the last minute. You have had plenty of opportunity to change the media/art interpretation of current events, yet you ignored them.
Time now for a full out assault on bad government.
Use your energy and imagination to defeat the right, or stop complaining.
What a great opportunity for the left.
Seize it or get lost.
attack and and attack again. Don't relent. You were too relaxed last time. Get active, get loud, get out, get into the streets, the schoos and the boardrooms.
If you don't, then you will get what is dealt to ypu.

learn how to deal the the cards.
learn how to shuffle.
  • Jason Van Anden | Sat Nov 6th 2004 9:33 a.m.
    Eric,

    Interesting concept ... any suggestions? Besides maybe Picasso's "Guernica", I cannot think of examples of fine art that accomplish much of anything when it comes to inspiring political change. Graphic art yes, but fine art?

    Jason Van Anden
    www.smileproject.com
  • Lee Wells | Sat Nov 6th 2004 10 a.m.
    Please define the difference that you are speaking of.
    Are constructivist murals graphic art or are they paintings?

    Are the paintings of Goya just pretty and historical?

    What about the paintings of Delacroix.

    Lets see,
    Diego Rivera

    Then there is groups like Refuse and Resist.

    Al Kasaba

    Anti-Flag

    Artists Support
    for Mumia

    ArtSpeaks Concerts

    John Adams

    Tariq Ali

    Robert Altman

    Margaret Atwood

    Alec Baldwin

    Subhankar Banerjee

    Kathryn Blume

    Beastie Boys

    Sandra Bernhard

    Stephanie Black

    Jessica Blank

    Bertolt Brecht

    Oscar Brown, Jr.

    Kathleen Chalfant

    David Chase

    Culture Clash

    Bruce Cockburn

    Robbie Conal

    Kia Corthron

    The Coup

    Renee Cox

    Chuck D

    Sheryl Crow

    Edwidge Danticat

    Ozzie Davis

    Zach De la Rocha

    Ani DiFranco

    Dixie Chicks

    Dread Scott

    Steve Earle

    Nora Eisenberg

    Eve Ensler

    Martin Espada

    Fionulla Flanagan

    Michael Franti

    Glen E. Friedman

    reg E. gaines

    Lauren Gill

  • Rob Myers | Sat Nov 6th 2004 10:17 a.m.
    On 6 Nov 2004, at 16:33, Jason Van Anden wrote:

    > Interesting concept ... any suggestions? Besides maybe Picasso's
    > "Guernica", I cannot think of examples of fine art that accomplish
    > much of anything when it comes to inspiring political change.
    > Graphic art yes, but fine art?

    IMHO:

    Art is inspiration for change, a provider of new ways of seeing and
    visions to follow. Or it is at least a map of what's wrong. It's unfair
    to require that art on its own effect change; I wouldn't try to stop a
    riot with a De Kooning. Indeed I don't know what immediate change
    "Guernica" effected. "The Raft Of The Medusa" is probably a better
    example of a work that swung public opinion.

    Political art that doesn't just illustrate Oscar Wilde's dictum can be
    found throughout history. Sticking to ~modernity, we have work by
    David, Manet, Millet , we have Futurism and Constructivism, Dada and
    post-Great War German expressionism, Warhol's Death & Disaster series,
    much conceptualism, happenings, land art and process art, the feminist
    art of the 1970s and 80s and I don't know what else.

    It is only really the last two decades that have seen any kind of
    eclipse of effective political art at all. Even Jeff Koons had a
    coherent and biting social critique at the heart of his work.

    - Rob.
  • Jason Van Anden | Sun Nov 7th 2004 6:54 a.m.
    Lee,

    Many of my personal favorites.

    To me, this list demonstrates that frustration from the political climate an artist lives in can serve as an awesome muse. Unfortunately, more often than not, the product of politically motivated fine art serves as a historical artifact of the time the artist lived in, rather than fuel for change.

    I do not mean to dismiss the efforts of artists who express their feelings by making art about the times they live in. I was very touched by your drawings of every single soldier killed in combat in Iraq, as I am when I see Joy's paintings of people struggling and fighting in the world. Someday, if this country gets back on track, these works will resonate with an audience who will reflect about how far we have come since. At this moment in time though, I believe they preach to the choir. As noble an endeavor as it may be to make fine art to inspire change, more often than not I do not think it is the best suited activity to accomplish that goal.

    I am not suggesting people stop making art that expresses angst about the world they live in. I just think that artists shouldn't fool themselves into believing that just because we are good at making imagery, that this is the best way we can invest our time to cause change.
    Unless you are able to make art that clearly communicates a message that will compel those you are trying to convince to consider a different way, and present it somewhere they will see it (ie: Michael Moore, Deigo Rivera), we are working in a vacuum. Better to volunteer for an organization doing whatever takes (licking stamps, answering the phone, canvassing neighborhoods) and then go home and vent with your muse to help win the peace after we win the ground war.

    I was suprised that you left John Lennon out of your list. A very popular artist who mostly wrote love songs, and then leveraged his celebrity into truly effective activism.

    Give Peace a Chance!

    Jason Van Anden
    www.smileproject.com
  • joy garnett | Sun Nov 7th 2004 9:04 a.m.
    Consider this: "Art" is not about directly activating political
    change. Sorry, but that's a head-in-the-clouds notion. Enacting political
    change requires far simpler instruments. Art is not simple; it
    is not a good way to communicate a "simple message" to a vast number of
    people in record time. No matter how rad or avante-whatever or rhizomatic
    and networky artists may think they are, they--we--are elitists. Yes YOU. Me.
    And that's okay. Relax over that *e* word, because the alternative is
    Britney. Your choice.

    Art is slow, often obtuse, has been known to--when it's truly complex and
    resonant--muddy the waters in ways that cannot perhaps be immediately
    understood. But as Ezra Pound pointed out in the ABC of Reading, being
    capable of making artwork that is accessible on more than one level is
    something we should aspire to... Note: this forms the POLAR OPPOSITE
    strategy to the political activist modus operandi. (ie: ABC of Reading is
    a really good book to argue with).

    That's not to say that there isn't good or great political art; but
    political art is not about preaching some side of something. I always
    hoped it was about exploding the limiting thought frameworks we've become
    inured to, or something crazy and impossible like that. "Bad" political
    art is bad because it becomes propaganda all too readily. Even angry and
    in-your-face art (David Wojnarowicz; Leon Golub) doesn't have to be a
    one-liner. Art is slow (a cool medium, in McLuhan terms), is not a crowd
    pusher, may not even be a crowd-pleaser (often it isn't) and is OPEN TO
    MULTIPLE INTERPRETATIONS. Once again: not a great activist strategy. But
    it is essential that it be so; complexity and open-endedness is what's
    lacking in our mainstream culture. The America of Disney and Dubya is
    not big on complexity; (this complexity is why we lost the election this
    time).

    So what does that mean? We should give up on open-ended complexity? Uh,
    no, sorry. And I forgive you for missing the point and thinking my
    paintings are like some sentimental expressionist Family of Man thing. I
    forgive you because Ezra Pound says it's really important that our stuff is
    accessible and multivalent, and he's right.

    This does not mean I think artists aren't capable of making good art that
    reflects their convictions; only that I think most people think in black
    and white and that art is one of the few places where all the shades of
    grey live. Art both as a practice and as a consumer experience is something
    subtler and stranger and more open-ended than agitprop or mere expression
    of angst. Any toddler can effectively express angst. So let's not be
    toddlers.

    best,
    J

    On Sun, 7 Nov 2004, Jason Van Anden wrote:

    > Lee,
    >
    > Many of my personal favorites.
    >
    > To me, this list demonstrates that frustration from the political climate an artist lives in can serve as an awesome muse. Unfortunately, more often than not, the product of politically motivated fine art serves as a historical artifact of the time the artist lived in, rather than fuel for change.
    >
    > I do not mean to dismiss the efforts of artists who express their feelings by making art about the times they live in. I was very touched by your drawings of every single soldier killed in combat in Iraq, as I am when I see Joy's paintings of people struggling and fighting in the world. Someday, if this country gets back on track, these works will resonate with an audience who will reflect about how far we have come since. At this moment in time though, I believe they preach to the choir. As noble an endeavor as it may be to make fine art to inspire change, more often than not I do not think it is the best suited activity to accomplish that goal.
    >
    > I am not suggesting people stop making art that expresses angst about the world they live in. I just think that artists shouldn't fool themselves into believing that just because we are good at making imagery, that this is the best way we can invest our time to cause change.
    > Unless you are able to make art that clearly communicates a message that will compel those you are trying to convince to consider a different way, and present it somewhere they will see it (ie: Michael Moore, Deigo Rivera), we are working in a vacuum. Better to volunteer for an organization doing whatever takes (licking stamps, answering the phone, canvassing neighborhoods) and then go home and vent with your muse to help win the peace after we win the ground war.
    >
    > I was suprised that you left John Lennon out of your list. A very popular artist who mostly wrote love songs, and then leveraged his celebrity into truly effective activism.
    >
    > Give Peace a Chance!
    >
    > Jason Van Anden
    > www.smileproject.com
    > +
    > -> post: list@rhizome.org
    > -> questions: info@rhizome.org
    > -> subscribe/unsubscribe: http://rhizome.org/preferences/subscribe.rhiz
    > -> give: http://rhizome.org/support
    > -> visit: on Fridays the Rhizome.org web site is open to non-members
    > +
    > Subscribers to Rhizome are subject to the terms set out in the
    > Membership Agreement available online at http://rhizome.org/info/29.php
    >
    >
  • Lee Wells | Sun Nov 7th 2004 9:28 a.m.
    Joy

    Very beautifully stated.

    Cheers,
    Lee

    On 11/7/04 11:04 AM, "Joy Garnett" <joyeria@walrus.com> wrote:

    > Consider this: "Art" is not about directly activating political
    > change. Sorry, but that's a head-in-the-clouds notion. Enacting political
    > change requires far simpler instruments. Art is not simple; it
    > is not a good way to communicate a "simple message" to a vast number of
    > people in record time. No matter how rad or avante-whatever or rhizomatic
    > and networky artists may think they are, they--we--are elitists. Yes YOU. Me.
    > And that's okay. Relax over that *e* word, because the alternative is
    > Britney. Your choice.
    >
    > Art is slow, often obtuse, has been known to--when it's truly complex and
    > resonant--muddy the waters in ways that cannot perhaps be immediately
    > understood. But as Ezra Pound pointed out in the ABC of Reading, being
    > capable of making artwork that is accessible on more than one level is
    > something we should aspire to... Note: this forms the POLAR OPPOSITE
    > strategy to the political activist modus operandi. (ie: ABC of Reading is
    > a really good book to argue with).
    >
    > That's not to say that there isn't good or great political art; but
    > political art is not about preaching some side of something. I always
    > hoped it was about exploding the limiting thought frameworks we've become
    > inured to, or something crazy and impossible like that. "Bad" political
    > art is bad because it becomes propaganda all too readily. Even angry and
    > in-your-face art (David Wojnarowicz; Leon Golub) doesn't have to be a
    > one-liner. Art is slow (a cool medium, in McLuhan terms), is not a crowd
    > pusher, may not even be a crowd-pleaser (often it isn't) and is OPEN TO
    > MULTIPLE INTERPRETATIONS. Once again: not a great activist strategy. But
    > it is essential that it be so; complexity and open-endedness is what's
    > lacking in our mainstream culture. The America of Disney and Dubya is
    > not big on complexity; (this complexity is why we lost the election this
    > time).
    >
    > So what does that mean? We should give up on open-ended complexity? Uh,
    > no, sorry. And I forgive you for missing the point and thinking my
    > paintings are like some sentimental expressionist Family of Man thing. I
    > forgive you because Ezra Pound says it's really important that our stuff is
    > accessible and multivalent, and he's right.
    >
    > This does not mean I think artists aren't capable of making good art that
    > reflects their convictions; only that I think most people think in black
    > and white and that art is one of the few places where all the shades of
    > grey live. Art both as a practice and as a consumer experience is something
    > subtler and stranger and more open-ended than agitprop or mere expression
    > of angst. Any toddler can effectively express angst. So let's not be
    > toddlers.
    >
    > best,
    > J
    >
    >
    > On Sun, 7 Nov 2004, Jason Van Anden wrote:
    >
    >> Lee,
    >>
    >> Many of my personal favorites.
    >>
    >> To me, this list demonstrates that frustration from the political climate an
    >> artist lives in can serve as an awesome muse. Unfortunately, more often than
    >> not, the product of politically motivated fine art serves as a historical
    >> artifact of the time the artist lived in, rather than fuel for change.
    >>
    >> I do not mean to dismiss the efforts of artists who express their feelings by
    >> making art about the times they live in. I was very touched by your drawings
    >> of every single soldier killed in combat in Iraq, as I am when I see Joy's
    >> paintings of people struggling and fighting in the world. Someday, if this
    >> country gets back on track, these works will resonate with an audience who
    >> will reflect about how far we have come since. At this moment in time
    >> though, I believe they preach to the choir. As noble an endeavor as it may
    >> be to make fine art to inspire change, more often than not I do not think it
    >> is the best suited activity to accomplish that goal.
    >>
    >> I am not suggesting people stop making art that expresses angst about the
    >> world they live in. I just think that artists shouldn't fool themselves into
    >> believing that just because we are good at making imagery, that this is the
    >> best way we can invest our time to cause change.
    >> Unless you are able to make art that clearly communicates a message that will
    >> compel those you are trying to convince to consider a different way, and
    >> present it somewhere they will see it (ie: Michael Moore, Deigo Rivera), we
    >> are working in a vacuum. Better to volunteer for an organization doing
    >> whatever takes (licking stamps, answering the phone, canvassing
    >> neighborhoods) and then go home and vent with your muse to help win the peace
    >> after we win the ground war.
    >>
    >> I was suprised that you left John Lennon out of your list. A very popular
    >> artist who mostly wrote love songs, and then leveraged his celebrity into
    >> truly effective activism.
    >>
    >> Give Peace a Chance!
    >>
    >> Jason Van Anden
    >> www.smileproject.com
    >> +
    >> -> post: list@rhizome.org
    >> -> questions: info@rhizome.org
    >> -> subscribe/unsubscribe: http://rhizome.org/preferences/subscribe.rhiz
    >> -> give: http://rhizome.org/support
    >> -> visit: on Fridays the Rhizome.org web site is open to non-members
    >> +
    >> Subscribers to Rhizome are subject to the terms set out in the
    >> Membership Agreement available online at http://rhizome.org/info/29.php
    >>
    >>
    > +
    > -> post: list@rhizome.org
    > -> questions: info@rhizome.org
    > -> subscribe/unsubscribe: http://rhizome.org/preferences/subscribe.rhiz
    > -> give: http://rhizome.org/support
    > -> visit: on Fridays the Rhizome.org web site is open to non-members
    > +
    > Subscribers to Rhizome are subject to the terms set out in the
    > Membership Agreement available online at http://rhizome.org/info/29.php
    >
  • joy garnett | Sun Nov 7th 2004 9:39 a.m.
    hey Lee --

    there goes my once-a-year rant on art. back to the salt mines now.

    best,
    J

    On Sun, 7 Nov 2004, Lee Wells wrote:

    > Joy
    >
    > Very beautifully stated.
    >
    > Cheers,
    > Lee
    >
    >
    > On 11/7/04 11:04 AM, "Joy Garnett" <joyeria@walrus.com> wrote:
    >
    >> Consider this: "Art" is not about directly activating political
    >> change. Sorry, but that's a head-in-the-clouds notion. Enacting political
    >> change requires far simpler instruments. Art is not simple; it
    >> is not a good way to communicate a "simple message" to a vast number of
    >> people in record time. No matter how rad or avante-whatever or rhizomatic
    >> and networky artists may think they are, they--we--are elitists. Yes YOU. Me.
    >> And that's okay. Relax over that *e* word, because the alternative is
    >> Britney. Your choice.
    >>
    >> Art is slow, often obtuse, has been known to--when it's truly complex and
    >> resonant--muddy the waters in ways that cannot perhaps be immediately
    >> understood. But as Ezra Pound pointed out in the ABC of Reading, being
    >> capable of making artwork that is accessible on more than one level is
    >> something we should aspire to... Note: this forms the POLAR OPPOSITE
    >> strategy to the political activist modus operandi. (ie: ABC of Reading is
    >> a really good book to argue with).
    >>
    >> That's not to say that there isn't good or great political art; but
    >> political art is not about preaching some side of something. I always
    >> hoped it was about exploding the limiting thought frameworks we've become
    >> inured to, or something crazy and impossible like that. "Bad" political
    >> art is bad because it becomes propaganda all too readily. Even angry and
    >> in-your-face art (David Wojnarowicz; Leon Golub) doesn't have to be a
    >> one-liner. Art is slow (a cool medium, in McLuhan terms), is not a crowd
    >> pusher, may not even be a crowd-pleaser (often it isn't) and is OPEN TO
    >> MULTIPLE INTERPRETATIONS. Once again: not a great activist strategy. But
    >> it is essential that it be so; complexity and open-endedness is what's
    >> lacking in our mainstream culture. The America of Disney and Dubya is
    >> not big on complexity; (this complexity is why we lost the election this
    >> time).
    >>
    >> So what does that mean? We should give up on open-ended complexity? Uh,
    >> no, sorry. And I forgive you for missing the point and thinking my
    >> paintings are like some sentimental expressionist Family of Man thing. I
    >> forgive you because Ezra Pound says it's really important that our stuff is
    >> accessible and multivalent, and he's right.
    >>
    >> This does not mean I think artists aren't capable of making good art that
    >> reflects their convictions; only that I think most people think in black
    >> and white and that art is one of the few places where all the shades of
    >> grey live. Art both as a practice and as a consumer experience is something
    >> subtler and stranger and more open-ended than agitprop or mere expression
    >> of angst. Any toddler can effectively express angst. So let's not be
    >> toddlers.
    >>
    >> best,
    >> J
    >>
    >>
    >> On Sun, 7 Nov 2004, Jason Van Anden wrote:
    >>
    >>> Lee,
    >>>
    >>> Many of my personal favorites.
    >>>
    >>> To me, this list demonstrates that frustration from the political climate an
    >>> artist lives in can serve as an awesome muse. Unfortunately, more often than
    >>> not, the product of politically motivated fine art serves as a historical
    >>> artifact of the time the artist lived in, rather than fuel for change.
    >>>
    >>> I do not mean to dismiss the efforts of artists who express their feelings by
    >>> making art about the times they live in. I was very touched by your drawings
    >>> of every single soldier killed in combat in Iraq, as I am when I see Joy's
    >>> paintings of people struggling and fighting in the world. Someday, if this
    >>> country gets back on track, these works will resonate with an audience who
    >>> will reflect about how far we have come since. At this moment in time
    >>> though, I believe they preach to the choir. As noble an endeavor as it may
    >>> be to make fine art to inspire change, more often than not I do not think it
    >>> is the best suited activity to accomplish that goal.
    >>>
    >>> I am not suggesting people stop making art that expresses angst about the
    >>> world they live in. I just think that artists shouldn't fool themselves into
    >>> believing that just because we are good at making imagery, that this is the
    >>> best way we can invest our time to cause change.
    >>> Unless you are able to make art that clearly communicates a message that will
    >>> compel those you are trying to convince to consider a different way, and
    >>> present it somewhere they will see it (ie: Michael Moore, Deigo Rivera), we
    >>> are working in a vacuum. Better to volunteer for an organization doing
    >>> whatever takes (licking stamps, answering the phone, canvassing
    >>> neighborhoods) and then go home and vent with your muse to help win the peace
    >>> after we win the ground war.
    >>>
    >>> I was suprised that you left John Lennon out of your list. A very popular
    >>> artist who mostly wrote love songs, and then leveraged his celebrity into
    >>> truly effective activism.
    >>>
    >>> Give Peace a Chance!
    >>>
    >>> Jason Van Anden
    >>> www.smileproject.com
    >>> +
    >>> -> post: list@rhizome.org
    >>> -> questions: info@rhizome.org
    >>> -> subscribe/unsubscribe: http://rhizome.org/preferences/subscribe.rhiz
    >>> -> give: http://rhizome.org/support
    >>> -> visit: on Fridays the Rhizome.org web site is open to non-members
    >>> +
    >>> Subscribers to Rhizome are subject to the terms set out in the
    >>> Membership Agreement available online at http://rhizome.org/info/29.php
    >>>
    >>>
    >> +
    >> -> post: list@rhizome.org
    >> -> questions: info@rhizome.org
    >> -> subscribe/unsubscribe: http://rhizome.org/preferences/subscribe.rhiz
    >> -> give: http://rhizome.org/support
    >> -> visit: on Fridays the Rhizome.org web site is open to non-members
    >> +
    >> Subscribers to Rhizome are subject to the terms set out in the
    >> Membership Agreement available online at http://rhizome.org/info/29.php
    >>
    >
    >
  • Jason Van Anden | Sun Nov 7th 2004 10:45 a.m.
    Joy,

    Your post is worded as if we are polar opposites, or that I am dense. Maybe I am taking it too personally (The "Uh sorry" comments make me recoil a bit). I don't disagree with most of your response, in fact, I think we are saying essentially the same thing, albeit in an argumentative tone.

    joy> And I forgive you for missing the point and thinking my paintings are like some sentimental expressionist Family of Man thing...

    From what I know of you, we seem to have a similar worldview politically. We are pretty smart and sensitive people. We have art degrees. Even so, I apparently I missed the point of your paintings. Can you explain what should have happened that didn't? You apparently feel that this is a my fault or I would not deserve your forgiveness. How is this my fault?

    If this is too personal, then let's use Leon Golub instead. Love the paintings, liked the man, but what do his paintings do besides document his anger about the injustices he so intensly portrays?

    My first post here was an attempt to question Eric's rallying the art troops to stop licking their wounds, and start attacking. Bottom line - is art really the best weapon for the job?

    Jason Van Anden
    www.smileproject.com
  • joy garnett | Sun Nov 7th 2004 12:13 p.m.
    Dear Jason,

    sorry you took my post as an agressive response to yours--it was not
    intended as such. I sent it to the list in general in response to this
    thread as a whole and it wasn't meant personally; my "sorry's"
    are pointed to projected general audience objections as well as to
    your misconstruing (and others') of what I'm trying to do. But I forgive
    you (just kidding!)

    > joy> And I forgive you for missing the point and thinking my paintings are
    > like some sentimental expressionist Family of Man thing...
    >
    >> I apparently I missed the point of your
    >> paintings. Can you explain what should have happened that didn't?

    The short answer is that they are paintings about the mediation of images.
    That's why they are reworked from media images--found photographs of real
    events that are represented in the mass media (and elsewhere).

    The long answer can be had in streaming vid with all the gory details
    here, if you can bear it:
    http://www.columbia.edu/cu/arts/dmc/docs/lectureseries.html

    > If this is too personal, then let's use Leon Golub instead.
    > Love the paintings, liked the man, but what do his paintings do besides
    > document his anger about the injustices he so intensly portrays?

    That is an important question, let's re-phrase it: is that how painting
    functions? as a way to document emotion? Is that what he was doing?
    Leon was more sophisticated than that, and in a way, until his old
    age, his method and intentions pointed to something else entirely; that
    doesn't mean the paintings weren't informed by his emotions as well as
    the injustices. But to reduce them to embodying only that would be
    inaccurate.

    check out this essay:
    http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1248/is_4_90/ai_84669341/pg_2
    and this interview:
    http://www.jca-online.com/golub.html

    I want to add something: just because a medium is physical, like painting,
    doesn't mean it's not conceptually rigorous.

    > My first post here was an attempt to question Eric's rallying the art
    > troops to stop licking their wounds, and start attacking. Bottom line -
    > is art really the best weapon for the job?

    I think it depends on what one sees to be "the job". I think there are
    certain jobs that need to be done that may in fact have no immediately
    discernable political effect. By saying that we're not doing our job,
    maybe Eric reveals his assumptions about what that job should be. Maybe
    some of us don't share those assumptions, and maybe some of us do.

    I guess all I'm trying to say is art is an important job.

    But I have to go now--do not be offended if I don't respond to whatever
    happens next because I can't.

    best,
    Joy
  • Jason Van Anden | Sun Nov 7th 2004 4:59 p.m.
    Hi Joy,

    Thanks for the thoughtful reply -- especially for better tuning me into what your work is about. I plan to continue this discussion after reviewing some of your links.

    Jason Van Anden
    www.smileproject.com
  • Lee Wells | Sun Nov 7th 2004 8:59 p.m.
    Hi Jason:

    Sorry to just be getting back to you but I have been thinking about what you
    said. You are right to a certain degree. The Art World for the most part is
    very insular and for the most part just talks to itself. What little that
    does leak out into the real world is very filtered. Most regular folks look
    at abstract and conceptual art as a real waste of time and say I could do
    that. Issue at hand: What type of artwork can resonate in the heart of the
    people? Is it sometimes necessary to dumb down an idea to make it more user
    friendly?

    I am a believer that artwork can inspire immediate change.
    To a certain degree I experienced it while I was making those drawing at the
    Lab Gallery. Over 10,000 people a day walk past the intersection at 47th and
    Lexington where the gallery is located. The cross section of people that
    were drawn in was amazing and for the most part everyone was supportive.

    I've also seen it happen in neighborhoods in Chicago. Community
    collaborative public murals can make a difference. The Chicago Public Art
    Group is probably the best example of that.

    Think Globally Act Locally

    How does one really participate in their community. Not just the art
    community of say Chelsea or Williamsburg, but do you know your local
    councilman or congressman.
    If you really want to talk politics in your art, Praxis is the best form of
    theory.

    Now the other side of the coin I like to say a political artist can enter
    the belly of the beast. The high art world possesses individuals and groups
    that can sway political opinion. For the most part not the dealers, they are
    just glorified retailers of luxury items. The art world is in a strange way
    a path through the Achilles heal of the world of the ruling elite.
    Maybe I am giving them too much credit.

    With the Basel/Miami Art fair coming up in a few weeks I have been think
    about what needs to be said while such a gathering is occurring. The art
    fair phenomena and the commerce of the art market is very real. The emerging
    and contemporary galleries did very well last year. But its still the
    commercialization of contemporary art. Commodity Culture, are you a Citizen
    or just a lowly Consumer.
    Havn't come up with the solution yet. If anyone has any good and practical
    ideas please let me know.

    Infiltrate and Take Over or Die Trying.

    On 11/7/04 8:54 AM, "Jason Van Anden" <jason@smileproject.com> wrote:

    > Lee,
    >
    > Many of my personal favorites.
    >
    > To me, this list demonstrates that frustration from the political climate an
    > artist lives in can serve as an awesome muse. Unfortunately, more often than
    > not, the product of politically motivated fine art serves as a historical
    > artifact of the time the artist lived in, rather than fuel for change.
    >
    > I do not mean to dismiss the efforts of artists who express their feelings by
    > making art about the times they live in. I was very touched by your drawings
    > of every single soldier killed in combat in Iraq, as I am when I see Joy's
    > paintings of people struggling and fighting in the world. Someday, if this
    > country gets back on track, these works will resonate with an audience who
    > will reflect about how far we have come since. At this moment in time though,
    > I believe they preach to the choir. As noble an endeavor as it may be to make
    > fine art to inspire change, more often than not I do not think it is the best
    > suited activity to accomplish that goal.
    >
    > I am not suggesting people stop making art that expresses angst about the
    > world they live in. I just think that artists shouldn't fool themselves into
    > believing that just because we are good at making imagery, that this is the
    > best way we can invest our time to cause change.
    > Unless you are able to make art that clearly communicates a message that will
    > compel those you are trying to convince to consider a different way, and
    > present it somewhere they will see it (ie: Michael Moore, Deigo Rivera), we
    > are working in a vacuum. Better to volunteer for an organization doing
    > whatever takes (licking stamps, answering the phone, canvassing neighborhoods)
    > and then go home and vent with your muse to help win the peace after we win
    > the ground war.
    >
    > I was suprised that you left John Lennon out of your list. A very popular
    > artist who mostly wrote love songs, and then leveraged his celebrity into
    > truly effective activism.
    >
    > Give Peace a Chance!
    >
    > Jason Van Anden
    > www.smileproject.com
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