Art and Politics examines how the combination can be detrimental to the integrity of the artist and to the quality of art produced by a culture as a whole. Art and politics in my view are like mixing oil and water. Great ingredients for salad dressing but lethal for art. forboligejere
Granted that many old master paintings would depict political or religious themes. Their sponsors were either church or state. That was not the painter’s primary objective though, as evidenced by the quality of their works.
If their objective was only to produce propaganda on behalf of their benefactors, we would not have the exquisite paintings hanging in the world’s museums today that convey a transcendence over subject matter, suggesting the sublime universal answers to human existence.
To produce propaganda the artist must subordinate his personality and artistic theories to that purpose. The old masters were painting for the purpose of their own understanding of the world and of art.
Art and Politics – Totalitarian Propaganda
My first college level art class was taught by a young professor who distributed to the class, although not as required reading and distributed innocuously, the writings of Chairman Mao on Art. Was it a subtle form of indoctrination? Probably and I am glad to have dumped them in a waste basket where they belonged.
The point being is that art is a powerful medium which those with political aspirations or already in power, want to manipulate toward their own ends.
Totalitarian regimes will attack art and artist upon their seizing of power and dictate an aesthetic afterwards that would serve as a propaganda tool to further their political ends.
The results are barren cultures such as Nazi Germany or the former Soviet Union from which not one significant work of art was ever created.
Art and Politics – Art for Art’s Sake
Art for art’s sake is an idea I subscribe to. If the purpose of a work of art is subordinate to an agenda it becomes an illustration. A means to an end such as a Madison Avenue advertising campaign promoting soap or the next dictator. forboligejere