Archive for the ‘Notes’ Category

I was reading the  article ‘What the World Needs Now’ in which 22 artists answer questions on political art.

In the question:  Can you give an example of a piece of art you think is politically effective?  

one of the interviewed artists, Wolfgang Tillmans responds:

 ”Any piece of art whose sale generates a lot of money for a cause or campaign.”

So, is a Jeff Koon’s piece  that is sold in an auction for millions an effective political art work?

What about a  Beyonce or Lady Gaga show that raises money for a philanthropist purpose? Would that be politically effective?

There are numerous examples where  commercial art and popular artworks are used in order to raise money for a good cause or for a campaign. However there are more reasons for these actions than their will to help.

Artists in the commercial art world are not only selling their art works but they usually create a character that they can sell too. Through these shows they aim to appear more philanthropists and socially engaged. The primary purpose of these shows or art works  is not to be politically effective but to promote the artists and indirectly increase their profit.

By that I don’t mean to underestimate the value of campaigns or philanthropist shows but I think it is necessary to be aware of what is truly politically effective and what appears to be.

 

 

In the context of Steve Lambert’s installation ‘ Does capitalism work for me? True/False ‘ many people were interviewed in Times square, NY and were asked to talk about their choices; whether capitalism works for them or not and why?

Among  the answers a girl says : ”..the value system that the capitalistic model provides does not include the work that I do(theatre /art production). It doesn’t value it because it’s not a super profitable product or a product that can be bought and sold like a shirt can.’  [ https://vimeo.com/76527314 ]

The statement above seems absolutely reasonable. But it’s not totally true…

Art ,from its nature, is not  a super profitable product. However capitalism forces it to become one and to a great extent it has achieved it. Capitalism has the power to transform artworks into high valued commodities and insert them into the same market system as everything else. It doesn’t value art until it becomes the super profitable product that capitalism requires and until it agrees to obey its rules.

So, does capitalism work for art?  It certainly does. Especially for art that is designed to be produced within capitalism, under the market rules. For the art that capitalism itself created.

Anything outside of this capitalist realm cannot easily survive . Art that still owns its original value and refuses its monetary value becomes marginal. Not only capitalism does not work for it but it becomes its worse enemy too.

 

 

 

 

About Culture Jamming.

Posted: April 3, 2014 in News, Notes
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‘Culture jamming is an intriguing form of political communication that has emerged in response to the commercial isolation of public life. Practitioners of culture jamming argue that culture, politics, and social values have been bent by saturated commercial environments, from corporate logos on sports facilities, to television content designed solely to deliver targeted audiences to producers and sponsors. Many public issues and social voices are pushed to the margins of society by market values and commercial communication, making it difficult to get the attention of those living in the “walled gardens” of consumerism. Culture jamming presents a variety of interesting communication strategies that play with the branded images and icons of consumer culture to make consumers aware of surrounding problems and diverse cultural experiences that warrant their attention.

Many culture Jams are simply aimed at exposing questionable political assumptions behind commercial culture so that people can momentarily consider the branded environment in which they live. Culture jams refigure logos, fashion statements, and product images to challenge the idea of “what’s cool,” along with assumptions about the personal freedoms of consumption. Some of these communiqués create a sense of transparency about a product or company by revealing environmental damages or the social experiences of workers that are left out of the advertising fantasies. The logic of culture jamming is to convert easily identifiable images into larger questions about such matters as corporate responsibility, the “true” environmental and human costs of consumption, or the private corporate uses of the “public” airwaves.’

To learn more about Culture Jamming visit: http://depts.washington.edu/ccce/polcommcampaigns/CultureJamming.htm

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So,while walking in the street last week someone gave me this flyer.  At the beginning I thought it was a usual flyer advertising a restaurant, a shop or offering some kind of discount if you spend £50 or more! But it wasn’t.

It is advertising ART.

Affordable Art of the Highest Quality‘  available in a commercial exhibition with- ironically- free entry!

‘Original Art from £40-£1,000‘ . It couldn’t be more obvious that art has taken the form of a product with monetary value promising to be a good investment and occasionally offer a good aesthetic.

Then of course there is the argument that artists need somehow to earn their living through their art.But is it worth it to create art just to be bought as an investment from someone else?

”Art has always been useful, even when it insists it is not. Art has valorised wealth, art has set ideals for racial, class and gender superiority, and art has even created an escape from politics. What we are asking for is art to be self-consciously useful for social change.”

 

”We live under capitalism so there is nothing that you or I do that is not influenced by capitalism: from how we think about our art to the way we brush out teeth. There is no outside; no autonomous realm. But we can be conscious of this fact and from within this space and within these confines use our art to reflect back – in the long-standing artistic tradition of mimesis – upon capitalism. We can also do something even more important: use our creativity to imagine something, someplace different: utopia. These utopias are, as the Greek roots of the word suggests, no-place. They are fictions only imagined within and through our current situation, yet they can give us a direction and a path out of the present and into a new, and as of yet nonsensical, future. Art, at its best, has always done this”

 

 

The whole interview can be found here: https://artforwhat.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/interview-with-stephen-duncombe.pdf 

 

”The question is useful for whom? The art scene as a playground for the wealthy is an especially decadent aspect of America’s decline. I think art has more purpose than just entertainment. It has a social responsibility to be an uncorrupted voice, giving the truth a form everyone can understand.”

”The special thing about real art is that it is independent of the economic system. That makes art predestined to represent an objective view. That is the true value of art, not some fantasy market value. The value of art is the contribution it makes to understanding reality. To fulfill this function it cannot be compromised by ideologies or special interests. The only interest real art serves is the interest of life itself.”

”For me, real cultural production is the result of the artist’s interaction with social reality. Real art is the communication of emotional information that is meaningful to people in general and not just a commodity for a few wealthy collectors.

Real art cannot serve capitalist interests. It is a revolutionary medium that can help us realize a better future.

 

 Find the whole interview here: https://artforwhat.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/interview-with-brooke-mcgowen.pdf

Interview with Brooke McGowen

 

Posted: March 31, 2014 in News, Notes
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What does it mean for art to be ‘useful’ ?

While searching to define the term useful for my essay, I found a website that defines the exact opposite of what I was thinking.

http://www.weareuseful.com/about/ :

It is all about using art to promote fashion, commercial brands and products through advertising.

A real example that art can be useful for the fashion industry and the capitalist market.

But can it be used against it too?

The Society of Spectacle and Art as a Commodity.

Essay written based on the Society of the Spectacle and how art became a commodity (2013).