Wednesday 28 June 2017

Art is economic bread and butter - so why don't we put jam on it?

Art is not a luxury but a vital necessity in any functioning democracy. We need to realise that, writes Carol Hunt

The galleries of delight: Viewing a Tamara de Lempicka painting prior to a sale at Sotheby’s in London — where art is serious business. But has our Government forgotten about the importance of art for any society?
The galleries of delight: Viewing a Tamara de Lempicka painting prior to a sale at Sotheby’s in London — where art is serious business. But has our Government forgotten about the importance of art for any society?
Carol Hunt

Carol Hunt

Theodor Adorno famously wrote that all art is an uncommitted crime. Which sounds appropriately pretentious for a philosopher, but what he meant was simply that by its very nature art challenges the status quo.

There's a powerful argument to be had for saying all art is political. Some artists may disagree, but historically there's a lot of evidence showing the impact of art when used as a weapon against oppression, injustice and inequality, however opaquely or inadvertently. Even when there's no overt political intent, art will always mirror or challenge a society's norms and values.

As Nina Simone said: "How can you be an artist and not reflect the times?" Which is why there's often an uneasy relationship between the status quo and artists. Nothing can point up the Emperor's New Clothes as effectively as a novel, play, painting, song or cartoon can.

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