Many of these practices not only resisted the art world more of them did so simply because they were not getting any art money anyways , but also had complex understandings of collectivity, pedagogy, and activism. And as is the oft-difficulty of presenting site-specific projects, the exhibition itself predominately featured documentation of works abroad. This is just a few of the projects listed.
I am not trying to highlight the show, but as it is gone to in some depth in the article, it is instructive to note that the exhibition itself, highlighted numerous projects involved in social struggle and frankly, had already left the artworld behind quite some time ago. That said, other projects did exist within the infrastructure of the arts. Some were really arty and poetic while others were very social justice oriented or simply straight up activism.
Certainly, OWS became an important milestone in the ongoing pursuit for social justice on our planet, but I would say, it is hard to consider it as a particular transitional period toward one where art leaves art behind only because such a statement makes no sense. And certainly, if anything, Living as Form highlighted not only tendencies within the arts to bridge activism, but perhaps more importantly in this context, that art had already been absorbed and deployed by activist movements long before. For in this light, I think of the United States government as a complex infrastructure not all unlike the artworld itself.
The arts have galleries, museums, universities, magazines, non-profits, alternative spaces, biennials, blogs, etc. And the government, well, you get the point. But in light of this, the questions are not about necessarily co-opting of art, so much as they are asking under what conditions do they operate, whom do they speak to, what do they do. What, how and for whom as Lenin would say.
When Sholette indicates, rightfully, that corporate culture has borrowed from the toolshed of the arts, and so too have activists, I think it is evident that the use of the practice of art has become a valuable tool in a world increasingly used to, and adept at, manipulating culture. While art has certainly become part of the language of speech, it nevertheless, seems to me useful to understand that the battle to overcome the domination of the planet by way of capitalism amongst other forms of power including white supremacy and patriarchy must challenge and make use of its infrastructures.
Words like co-optation have historically been used by the likes of the Situationists to make a mess of actual progress in favor of a rhetorics of purity. Occupy certainly wrestles with those demons itself. In fact, I would say, reading the world like that falls into some really dated, and faulty, tendencies.
It really depends on the specifics. And I would also say that drawing such hard lines in the sand over art outside of museums vs. It seems to me a massive mistake to leave the artworld behind.
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The artworld, in its vast complexity, hosts within it major infrastructures that need to be held accountable from universities to museums, from magazines to non-profits. They also can amplify and produce civic spaces that go beyond the limited arena of the arts frankly, when it comes to audience, many art institutions long ago moved way beyond the demographics of simply art enthusiasts.
It should also be noted that Liberate Tate successfully got the Tate Museum to remove British Petroleum as a corporate sponsor. So, I know that he is quite aware and sympathetic to this. So to, at last, answer the question, I would say that what is at stake is the production of a new world which also, implies the production of new infrastructures. It is critical that not only do we produce infrastructures that reflect the ethics and working methods we believe in, but also that we challenge, and make us of, existing infrastructures.
Yes, this also means a certain kind of lack of purity and that there are political trade-offs that are always necessitated by the wrestling with political economy and power. But such is the way of actual social change and simply navigating political economy and life. Any large-scale social system that comes into being that reflects a dynamic of social justice and a challenge to capitalism will inevitably inhabit certain contradictions that one must swallow for the greater good.
Rather than seeing this as a historic break, I see it as a transition to a world that appreciates the power of wonder that art can produce, in an effort to both put it to use toward social justice ends, as well as to simply appreciate the peculiar strangeness of pleasure, that also comes from that which we do not understand. Early in his book Yates McKee discusses how the journalist Paul Mason interviewed a number of artists in the orbit of Occupy.
I was one of those people. Mason asked if Occupy signaled a profound shift in art? To be honest I laughed, I thought the question merely a journalistic provocation. OWS did not even cause a flutter in the global art industry. In his book McKee takes the opposite position arguing that OWS did fundamentally change art to the point of embodying it in its very structure. So one must ask what is at stake when a social movement becomes coterminous with art? Art is all too often the sugar that masks the bitter taste of social inequality.
It is nice to be creative. It can even be dubious enticement that encourages people to work for free. I do not believe that art and politics — though they might form very close alliances can be collapsed into each other.
While OWS might be thought of as an extraordinary form of political theater, it was never meant to be a real city in miniature over the long term but showed concretely that another kind of organization of society is possible, I would hesitate to call it art. The Paris Commune, though it involved many artists and craftspeople opened up a new social imaginary, not a new art form. Courbet was very clear that as a Communard he was much too busy to do art. In his careful and detailed description of various marches and actions, banners and posters, he validates the hard work and creativity of so many unnamed people who are never normally recorded in the art historical record.
Perhaps this might encourage more young artists to stop trying market themselves as nth generation abstract painters and find more socially progressive ways of expressing themselves.
The artists of left avant-garde from the first half of the twentieth century wanted to change the world and they felt that the old languages of art and theater and cinema were not adequate, that new forms, new ways of seeing where needed, and that is something that artists could do. That would be their task. It was enormously optimistic and also utopian — they would engage people in a whole new way of experiencing and understanding the world.
As we know radical form severed from function became an aesthetic end in itself easily siphoned off into museums. But what if we refuse to let the story end there. The left artists I admire engaged in an impossible high-wire act. On the one hand they wanted to make art in a generous spirit that would speak to everyone but at the same time create language or montage images and sounds that would open up new ways of seeing and thus new ways of imagining and being in the world. This is not easy. To even begin to do this they had to have a critical distance and be prepared not only to bite the hand of the oppressor but also if necessary challenge the very movement that they have aligned themselves with.
It did something different that also had to do with a revolutionary visual imaginary.
Eisenstein had to have a lot of faith in himself and his audience. It is not enough simply to use sleight of hand to collapse art into life or into a political movement however progressive.
I think of the artist, singular or in groups, as a form of engaged public intellectual, particularly in a world of academic insularity and specialization. It is artists who are taking up the challenge to debate ideas in a public arena — in their own particular languages or forms in a way that is rigorous and open. There was a time when left artists fought with each other, in print and through their work.
This was much more than infighting.
Dialog really inspired these artists to think rigorously, reevaluate and be able to defend their ideas. Mckee is so polite, so American, he affirms everyone whatever his or her contribution. The term seeks to validate contemporary art by attaching it to a genealogy of art that was 1 connected to a pre-existing political party often, but not necessarily, the communist party and 2 precisely about the rejection of artistic tradition. The question for me is what happens after this triumphal moment of rupture and experimental community that marked this lived experiment.
For sure, some artists have bifurcated their practice between their personal work and their collective efforts in Gulf Labor or Strike Debt. Naturally, the market proceeds as if nothing has happened. But the visibility and forms of post-OWS art seems important to identify and characterize pace Thompson - especially with the rise of the nationalist right all over Europe and a new phase of disenchantment kicking in.
What strikes me as being more interesting is asking what it does to understand OWS as art. What does that do for those involved in it? I remember having a discussion like this a few years ago with Alan W Moore about some squatting based art project he was involved in, and I asked what was gained by describing or understanding it at art at all rather then say the overcoming of art through its integration into everyday life. And I suppose here you can recall some vaguely Kantian notion of purposeless purposiveness that seems useful to hang out, despite all the other problematic things it might be attached to.
And partially that is a question about art but also one broader then it. It seems rather to be a shift of life possibilities that were realized to have waned for those involved, the graduates with no future, lots of debt, and disillusionment with electoral politics that brought their skills, dreams, and energy along to whatever was going to happen. In that sense I would see that OWS represented the visible manifestation of a shift in class composition more broadly. Whether or not it represented a significant change in art is not an especially exciting question for me personally.
But I do find Yates account of the usage of what might call artistic approaches and tools interesting regardless of what you call it especially in the later part of the book in the section on ecology and Black Lives Matter. Armando Hart once said that to confuse art and politics is a mistake, but that to separate art and politics is also a mistake. Because he is both committed to what he recounts but also nuanced in his criticisms, his book is an excellent presentation of the new kinds of activist art that we have seen emerge since the development of social media and by and large after the emergence of the alterglobalization left in the late s.
On a theoretical level, McKee wishes to make a few modest claims. He is not concerned to determine the aesthetic criteria of art made in the context of social movements, as might for example Claire Bishop. For McKee, art has lost the superstructural autonomy ascribed to it by thinkers like Theodor Adorno and is now thoroughly embedded in capitalist exchange relations. Certainly John Roberts would have interesting things to say about that.
Instead, this overview shall enable the reader to differentiate between the major strands and understand both limitations and advantages of the different theoretical lenses to comprehend the choice of the theoretical approach made in this paper, which is laid out in more detail in the next subchapter. Behind the sign marked "info" sat computers, generators, wireless routers, and lots of electrical cords. That move, along with three rounds of so-called quantitative easing, or QE, where the Fed pumped money into the financial markets by buying bonds, constituted the biggest and mightiest monetary-policy experiment ever undertaken: an unorthodox attempt by the Fed, along with other leading central banks, to prevent the collapse of the global economy. Getting a job was hard. Score: 17 25 votes cast.