The State of Political Art After a Year of Protest Movements

Back to the white cube

What all of these shows do, however, is return protest and activism to the white cube and institutions funded, as Occupy Museums points out, by the very people the art work theoretically rails against. "Stop using my art to wash your money," one participant said at Momenta. But this happens all the time.

Artists can resist, just as the Cairo-based media collective Mosireen did two weeks ago when it addressed a letter to Creative Time, whose Summit showcasing socially engaged art happened this past weekend. After learning that an "in-depth partner" of the summit was partially funded by the Israeli government, the group withdrew. A similar, extraordinary thing happened this summer when all four artists quit the board of Los Angeles MOCA in protest of the firing of curator Paul Schimmel—but also of the museum's general shift toward a more market-driven program influenced by wealthy trustees.

Like other fields, art has a serious money and institution problem that reached a breaking point under neoliberalism. What past art movements taught us is that changing the medium or the definition of an artist doesn't help. And, as one artist pointed out to me recently, there are aesthetics and art being made all the time within the space of social movements—so why put it inside the institution as an exhibition?

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7 comments
Powhida
Powhida

@artfagcity looking forward to Martha’s panel on Thursday at Housing Works.

valentyger
valentyger

@artfagcity great article, makes you wonder what the next protest art will be??

draakool
draakool

Political Art is just corporate philanthropic ideology in new clothes, populist rhetoric, bourgeois entertainment and market. Its social function is to freeze social layers through the aesthetization of politics. Political art is part of the corporate agenda and not only has nothing to do with change, but it's just made up to stop change. Political art is opium for the people and leisure time for the 1%.

edshott
edshott

Political art  in the last year or so is mostly cartoons orPhotoshop collages---look on anybody's news feed and the  political pictures on it is primarily from the right wing-----The Left has nothing solid to sayThe pics from the left are vapid and transparent and have no solid arguments to stand on--There is no way thaqt the left canshow anything positive about the results of Obamas term in the Whitehouse--And the drug addled OWS only spouts gibberish or avoids answering question as to what their purpose is.  The right wing has plenty of solid issues to complain about and offers real solutions to the financial disaster that has been destroying the country during the last four years. No matter who "wins" the election (whoever the Rothschilds install) we are in trouble Israel controlls the US govt., owns everybody in government , the media the worlds counterfeit money and the gallerys of Chelsea. where right wing art is banned.

 
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