“il faut etre de son temps”“one must be of one’s own time” Charles Bauderlaire
• “it has been part of the genius of neoliberal theory to provide a benevolent mask full of wonderful sounding words like freedom, liberty, choice, and rights, to hide the grim realities of the restoration or reconstitution of naked class power, locally as well as transnationally, but most particularly in the main ﬁnancial centres of global capitalism’• David Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism 10
• Does art offer a way of intervening in the world?• Is art an effective form of protest and dissent?• Does art depict an alternative to how things are?• Is it a form that might initiate change ?• Are there still spaces for art to ‘protest’ against the state of things? 5 5
Does radical art get absorbed by the Text museum, the institutions of art? 6
What does it mean to be an artist? Giovanni Segantini (1858-1899) Self Portrait (1895) ‘obstinate dreamers for whom art has remained a faith and not a profession; enthusiastic folk…whose loyal heart beats high in the presence of all that is beautiful.” Richard Gerstl, (1883-1908),“Self Portrait against a Blue Background”, 1901. Oil on Henri Murger “Scenes of Bohemian life” canvas, 159 x 109 cm. Leopold Museum,
William-Adolphe Bouguereau, The Birth of Venus, 1879 11
Art with a ‘purpose’ “The social engagement of realism did not necessarily involve any overt statement of social aims or any outright protest against intolerable political conditions. But the mere intention ‘to translate the appearances, the customs of the time implied a significant involvement in the contemporary social situation and might thus constitute a threat to existing values and power structures as menacing as the throwing of a bomb” Linda Nochlin Realism
Gustave Courbet, A Burial in Ornans1849. oil on canvas; 313 x 664Musée d’Orsay, Paris“To be in a position to translate the customs, the ideas, theappearance of my epoch, according to my own estimation; tobe not only a painter, but a man as well; in short, to create aliving art -this was my goal.”Gustave Courbet
In our oh-so-civilised society it is necessary for me to lead the life of a savage; I must free myselfeven from governments... To do that, I have just set out on the great, independent, vagabond lifeof the bohemian.’Gustave Courbet
Honoré Daumier (French, 1808-1879). The Third-Class Carriage, ca. 1863-65. Oil on canvas. 25 3/4 x 35 1/2 in. (65.4 x 90.2 cm). H.O. Havermeyer Collection, Bequest of Mrs. H.O. Havermeyer, 1929.
Manet, Edouard, Execution of the Emperor Maximilian1867, Oil on canvas, 252 x 305 cmKunsthalle, Mannheim
Francisco de Goya. The Third of May, 1808: TheExecution of the Defenders of Madrid. 1814. Oilon canvas, 266 x 345 cm. Museo del Prado,Madrid, Spain. William Hogarth Gin Lane 1750-51 Etching and line engraving, 359 x 341 mm
“You pretend to be timelessand stand above party, youkeepers of the ivory tower. Youpretend to create for man-where is man? ...Come out ofyour houses even if it difficultfor you, do away with yourindividual isolation, letyourselves be possessed bythe ideas of the workingmasses and help them in theirstruggle against a rottensociety” George Grosz. Self-Portrait, Warning. 1927. Oil on canvas. 98 xGeorge Grosz ‘Instead of 79 cm. Galerie Nierendorf, Berlin, Germany.Biography’
George Grosz. The Pillars of Society. 1926. Oil oncanvas. 200 x 108 cm. Staatliche Museen zu Berlin -Preussischer Kulturbesitz, Nationalgalerie, Berlin,Germany .
George Grosz The City. 1916/17. Oil on canvas. 100 x 102 cm. Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection, Madrid, SpainGermany: a Winters Tale. 1917/19. Oil on canvas.
Max BeckmannThe Night 1918-19. Oil on canvas. 133 x 154 cmKunstammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Düsseldorf
Thomas Hart Benton, The Ballad of theJealous Lover of Lone Green Valley, 1934,Oil and tempera on canvas. Grant Wood Return from Bohemia 1935
“The indignity of speaking for others” Craig Owens
“When art gets involved with politics, art always loses”Pablo Picasso ‘Guernica’ 1937, Oil on Canvas33349x777cm, Museuo del Prado, Madrid “I am a Communist and my painting is Communist painting..But if I were a shoemaker, Royalist or Communist or anything else, I would not necessary hammer my shoes In a special way to show my politics.” Picasso
New Times, New Methods “New problems appear and demand new methods. Reality changes; in order to represent it, modes ofrepresentation must also change. Nothing comes from nothing; the new comes from the old, but that is why it is new”. Bertolt Brecht “Popularity and Realism” "And Yet it Moves" John Heartfield, 1943.
1969-1970; Jon Hendricks, Irving Petlin, Frazier Dougherty, photo by Ron L. Haeberle; Art Workers Coalition; Offset; 2413/16 x 38 inches
“A growing number of artists havebegun to feel the need to respond to thedeepening political crisis in America.Among those artists, however, there areserious differences concerning theirrelations to direct political actions.Many feel that the political implicationsof their work constitute the mostprofound political action they can make.Others, not denying this, continue tofeel the need for an immediate, directpolitical commitment. Still others feelthat their work is devoid of politicalmeaning and that their political lives areunrelated to art. What is your positionregarding the kinds of political actionthat should be taken by artists?”Artforum
Martha Rosler Bringing the War Home: House Beautiful, 1967-72 Photomontage printed as color photograph 20 x 24" or 24 x 20" (print size)http://www.MarthaRosler.net
“If you make protest paintings you are likely to stay below the sophistication of the apparatus you are attacking. It is emotionally gratifying to point the finger at some atrocity and say this here is the bastard responsible for it. But ineffect once the work arrives in a public place, itonly addresses itself to people who share these feelings and are already convinced. Appeals and condemnations don’t make you think” Hans Haacke in Art and Politics Quoted in Modernism in Dispute
The Assault on Culture with a Capital C - The Barbarians are at the Door
“Popular, transient, expendable, low cost, mass produced, young, witty, sexy, gimmicky,glamorous and big business.” Richard Hamilton
The Birth of Pop - British Pop’s Ambivalent Populism “The definition of culture is changing as a result of thepressure of the great audience, which is no longer new but experienced in the consumption of its arts. Therefore, it is no longer sufficient to define culture solely as something that a minority guards for the fewand the future (though such art is uniquely valuable and as precious as ever). Our definition of culture is being stretched beyond the fine art limits imposed on it byRenaissance theory and refers now, increasingly, to the whole complex of human activities. Within thisdefinition, rejection of the mass produced arts is not, as critics think, a defence of culture, but an attack on it.” Lawrence Alloway “The Arts and the Mass Media”
The Roots of Pop - Social, Political and economic changesEducation expansion 1950s - 1960’s By 1969 there were three times as many universities as there had been thirty years before – while state contribution to education rose form 7million in 1947 to 157 million in 1966 – the number of students in the sixties doubled form 7 to 14% of the population. “Britain had by accident bred a class of young people from ordinary homes who now had some idea of the privileges previously enjoyed only by boys from upper-class families.” Shawn Levy ‘Ready Steady Go:Swinging London and the Invention of Cool (london 2002), pg. 66
British Pop’s Ambivalent Populism You’ve never had it so good - 60’s Pop• The use of pre existing, ready made, mass media imagery within ‘ﬁne art’. The conﬂation of the ‘low’ with the‘high’.British pop is often hand painted pop.• Often expresses a paradoxical relationship with the pleasures, materials and forms of post war consumerism - simultaneously attracted and skeptical..looks forward and back…• This commitment to using popular imagery has broader connotations - •Peter Phillips it signals a desire for a transformed •The Entertainment Machine 1961 cultural landscape -one where the old hierarchies of taste and value are questioned.
British Pop’s Ambivalent Populism We Two Boys Together Clinging, 1961 David Hockney
British Pop’s Ambivalent PopulismDerek BoshierThe Identi-Kit Man 1962
British Pop’s Ambivalent PopulismPauline Boty “The Only Blonde in the World” 1963
British Pop’s Ambivalent PopulismJoe Tilson Peter PhillipsVox Box 1963 Custom Print No. 1 1965
British Pop’s Ambivalent PopulismPatrick Caulfield Patrick CaulfieldBlack and White Flower Piece 1963 After Lunch 1975
The Roots of Pop - Social, Political and Economic changes Responses - The Culture Industry• Culture industry is a term coined by Theodor Adorno (1903-1969) and Max Horkheimer (1895-1973).• The idea that the factory style production of popular culture produces standardised products that manipulate and seduce the consumer (or masses) with quick,easy gratiﬁcation that leaves the consumer passive and ultimately unhappy.• A central idea in Adorno and Horkheimer critique of mass culture is that it creates false needs - needs which are manufactured and of course satisﬁed by capitalism
The Roots of Pop - Social, Political and Economic changesResponses to “The effectiveness of the culture industry depends not on its parading of an ideology, on disguising the true nature of things, but on removing the thought that there is an alternative to the status quo. “ Theodore Adorno The Culture Industry
‘something is provided for all so that none may escape’ Adorno, T & Horkheimer,M, Dialectic of the Enlightenment (Verso, 1997) p. 123
The Roots of Pop - Social, Political and Economic changesResponses to - A Cultural Cold War? High versus Low“We can assert with someconfidence that our own period isone of decline: that the standards ofculture are lower than they were fiftyyears ago…I see no reason why thedecay of culture should not proceedmuch further, and why we may noteven anticipate a period of someduration, of which is possible to saythat it will have no culture. “T.S.Eliot, Notes towards a Definitionof Culture, quoted in Greenberg.‘The Plight of Culture’.
American Pop - ‘Modern’ Hard Edged Pop• While sharing British artists fascination with the ephemeral of the mass media, American pop was formally far more progressive / avant garde - not least in its use of commercial, mechanical techniques (silk- Edward Ruscha. (American, born 1937). Standard Station. 1966. screening, acrylic etc.) Screenprint, composition: 19 5/8 x 36 15/16" (49.6 x 93.8 cm);• Taking ‘sides’ with the popular against the idea of ‘elite’ culture still has the socially revolutionary inﬂection of British Pop, but in America , this spirit fo democratizing culture is more pronounced.
American Pop - ‘Modern’ Pop“I am for an art that ispolitical-erotical-mystical, thatdoes something other than siton its ass in a museum.I am for an art that embroilsitself with the everyday crapand still comes out on top. “Claes Oldenburg
“The thesis of the present essay isthat Warhol, though he grounded hisart in the ubiquity of the packagedcommodity, produced his mostpowerful work by dramatizing thebreakdown of commodity exchange.These were instances in which themass-produced image as the bearerof desires was exposed in itsinadequacy by the reality Andy Warhol, Marilyn Diptych (1962)of suffering and death.”Thomas Crow‘Saturday Disasters:Trace andReference in Early Warhol’ in‘Modern Art in the Common Culture Andy Warhol, Elvis I & II , 1963 Silkscreen ink and spray paint on linen (silver and blue canvas) 82 x 82 in. (208.3 x 208.3)
“If you can’t beat it, Warholsuggests, join it. More, ifyou enter it totally, youmight expose it you mightreveal its automatism, evenits autism, through yourown excessive example.Deployed first by Dada, thisstrategic nihilism wasperformed ambiguously byWarhol, and artists such asJeff Koons have played itout since.”Art Since 1900
“Art could only survive by disengaging itself from ideological confusion and violence” Clement GreenbergKenneth Noland (American, 1924-), Gift,1961-2, acrylic on canvas, 182.9 x 182.9 cm,Tate Gallery, London.
“Harold Rosenberg challenged me to explain what one of my paintings could possibly mean to the world. My answer was that if he and others could read it properly, it would mean the end of all state capitalism and totalitarianism” Newman “The Sublime is Now”Barnnet NewmanWhos Afraid of Red, Yellow, and Blue?, 196675 X 48 inchesOil on Canvas
Jackson Pollock, Mural on Indian Red Ground, 1950, oil and enamel onboard, 183 x 243.5 cm, Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art, Iran.
“Art could only survive by disengaging itself from ideological confusion and violence”Jackson Pollock. (American, 1912-1956). One:Number 31, 1950. 1950. Oil and enamel on Clement Greenbergunprimed canvas, 8 10" x 17 5 5/8" (269.5 x530.8 cm). MOMA
“My opinion is that new needs need new techniques. And the modern artists have found new ways and new means of making their statements. It seems to me That the modern painter cannot express this age, the airplane, the atom bomb, the radio, in the old forms of the renaissance or of any other past culture. Each age finds its own technique.” Jackson PollockJackson Pollock. (American, 1912-1956). Full Fathom Five.1947. Oil on canvas with nails, tacks, buttons, key, coins,cigarettes, matches, etc., 50 7/8 x 30 1/8" (129.2 x 76.5cm). Gift of Peggy Guggenheim.
Affirmative and Mute? ‘Visual Muzak’ Lucy L Lippard Jules Olitski born 1922Jules Olitski Instant Loveland 1968
“Why is it that whilst the world outside spirals in ever tighter circles of terror and repression, and the potential avenues of avoidance or resistance become squeezed by the growing dominance of capital and its civil and military bulldogs, artists retreat further into a hermetic world of abstraction, formalism, deferred meanings and latent spiritualism? Do artists really [..] have no choice but to accept that the gallery is now ﬁt solely for the exploration of formal issues? […]That the world is a different place since 9/11 is a truism, but it Claire Barclay could (and has) been argued that there is a need now, more than ever, for artists andJim Lambie writers to engage with the moral and ethical parameters of our globalising world. “ Nick Evans Tired of the Soup du Jour http://www.variant.randomstate.org/16texts/ Soup_du_Jour.html Cathy Wilkes
Goya(Great Deeds of War! Lives Lost!) Pl. 39Desastres de la Guerra, 1810-20 (Disasters of War)