Litkicks Message Board Archive

Art and Politics...

Posted to Poetry and Politics




It's not so much that art has to be political for its own sake, but that politics appropriates art as it sees fit...There was an article in the NY Times about a year ago where they listed like 50 direct quotes used by politicians of Dylan tunes...and the range was astounding! Republicans, Greens, Libertarians, Democrats, Freedom Party, whatever...

Look at the function of art as propaganda in Nazi Germany...The Triumph of the Will, the Eternal Jew...and the thing is, those films...though nationalistic and xenophobic, are exemplars of late German expressionism in film...

In that sense, although they artist may not choose to be political s/he doesn't really have much of a choice...and in that case, it IS important for an artist to be political, to define some kind of stance...I'm not saying every artist has to be Rage Against the Machine or Bertolt Brecht, but the fact is that art is a communal, and the closest thing to a universal experiences...EVERYONE experiences some art in some way...and it cant helped but to be related to people's lives, and in that case, is necessarily political...If an artist says nothing of politics, and chooses to remain an anonymous cog in the world we all inhabit (which is, I dare say, undeniably political...the world that is), that in and of itself is a political statement...either of disillusion or apathy

And although art is subjective and interpretative and dynamic and fluid and shifting and by no means dependent upon the intentions of its creator, the only way to create a legitimately political and/or authentic piece of art that communicates on a level beyond its own signification, its social aims, statements, or implications should be a voice in that debate, however they are appropriated...that, in and of itself presents a model for something we are severely lacking....true, egalitarian democracy...