Sunday, May 22, 2016

There is a familiar rhetorical trap that occurs around the subject of political art. Artists who's work is too imaginative, reckless, wild, and beautifully useless are accused of being complicit within the structure of the status quo. Their own imagination ends up at war with the demands of their social conscience. On the flipside, artists whose work is straightforward and political are generally accused of being too didactic and lacking critical complexity. Their critic's arguments tend to quickly show themselves as protectors of the art world and capitalist status quo. In the end, it appears to be a lose/lose situation and as such, it has turned off many an artist to the demands of being political.

What is to be done? Anything looked at in and of itself will eventually resolve itself in failure. One object/practice/person/idea can not encompass all the elements which comprise a socially conscious revolutionary movement. Quite clearly, the modernist conception of art as a separate aspect from daily life fails miserably and contemporary art has yet to take this lesson to heart. In isolation all things stand alone and are mute. It is through the rich diverse fabric of collective action that private expression gains meaning.