Bradshaw Foundation - Latest News

BRADSHAW FOUNDATION - LATEST NEWS

 

Is art for pleasure or politics?

29 Mar 2018
Share on Facebook

An article on CNN by Michael Govan, director and CEO of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) - Is art for pleasure or politics? - reports on the recently chaired Intelligence Squared discussion with four contemporary artists on this topic.

Is art for pleasure or politics? 'Guernica' by Pablo Picasso, 1937.

'Guernica' by Pablo Picasso, 1937. Image: Courtesy of Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid.

Henri Matisse famously declared that he dreamed of an art "devoid of troubling or depressing subject matter ... a soothing, calming influence on the mind, rather like a good armchair." His close friend Picasso, who more often indulged the darker sides of human emotion, wasn't especially political in his art either.

 
Article continues below
 

Nonetheless, in the mid-1930s, during an urgent rush of creativity, the latter painted a dramatic mural-sized protest over the bombing of Guernica in the direct black and white tones of a newspaper. The political directness of his 'Guernica' may have been inspired by the revolutionary attitude of his Mexican friend Diego Rivera, or the politically charged paintings of his historical compatriot Francisco Goya's famous series, 'Disasters of War.'

The painting is an obvious example of how aesthetics and protest are not mutually exclusive. Picasso showed that painter and painting could be both.

The art world has always debated where it falls on the spectrum between pleasure and politics. Do we really want art to challenge us with the conflicts and threats we find in the news every day?

'La Perruche et la Sirene' by Henri Matisse, 1952, at the exhibition 'De Oase van Matisse' at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam in 2015. Image: SANDER KONING/AFP/AFP/Getty Images.

If it does so, contemporary political art risks preaching to an audience comprised of a small, well-educated liberal elite that is already aligned with its message. Arguably, this art will then become complicit in feeding on the same market and power structures whose hands it bites.

Is it unfortunate that a few high-profile transgressive images can spoil a government's appetite for art that might be described as simply beautiful, inspiring or educational? Maybe. Or maybe not. Are Ai Weiwei's artistic provocations a threat - or more like a Socratic gadfly nibbling at the state to rouse it into becoming its better self?

Consider also, however, that the pursuit of pure beauty can be more political than we think. Artists are always citizens of somewhere. They are also human, and thus carry the same responsibility that most of our politics, religions and philosophies suggest: that we should improve, not diminish, our lives and the world we inhabit.

Editor's Note: This well-written article covers a fascinating debate, a debate that every artist will have considered to some degree. However, it doesn't apply just to historical and contemporary art, but also to the art of prehistory - pleasure or politics? Graphic storytelling to admire, to warn, to respect....

To read the full article:
https://edition.cnn.com/style/article/intelligence-squared-is-art-for-pleasure-or-politics/index.html

COMMENTS

 
Bradshaw FoundationAboutiShopBook ReviewSite MapMailing ListDonateFacebookTwitterContact
If you have enjoyed visiting this section of the website please consider adding a link
Bradshaw Foundation © MMXI
Homepage About the Foundation Contact Us Facebook News Articles Twitter List of Research Papers Professor Stephen Oppenheimer Travel Index About the Expeditions Forthcoming Expeditions Bespoke Expeditions Enquire Practical Information History of Exploration Welcome to the iShop Film Downloads DVD's Sculpture Prints Clothing Messenger Bag eBooks INORA Downloads About iLecture Films Shipping & Handling iLectures In Conversation Video Stories Travel Films Read the reviews Join the free Mailing List Bradshaw Foundation Facebook Friends of the Foundation Archive Index World's Oldest Rock Art Africa Documentary Films South Africa RARI Giraffe Carvings Niger Namibia Western Central Africa Africa Paintings Gallery Tanzania The Tuareg People Tuareg Salt Caravans Gilf Kebir Birnin Kudu Rock Art Center Archive Index San Rock Art Paintings San Bushman San Rock Art Film Origins Centre Johannesburg Archive Index Arizona Baja California Baja California Film Coso Range Talking Stone Film Nevada Oregon Territory Moab, Utah Clovis First Australia Archive Index Introduction Bradshaw Paintings Kimberley Region The Unambal Hugh Brown Leif Thiele Gallery Dan Clark Grahame Walsh Ian Wilson Bradshaws / Gwion Gwion Archive Index Introduction Origins of the British Avebury Stonehenge Sounds of Stonehenge The British Museum British Isles Megaliths Gower Peninsula Rock Art Mendip Hills Prehistory Northumberland Rock Art Red Lady of Paviland Stone Age Mammoth Abattoir Archive Index Introduction Peterborough Petroglyphs Western Canadian Rock Art Writing-On-Stone Wuikinuxv Territory Dinosaur Provincial Park Archive Index Huashan Rock Art Yinchuan Museum Rock Art Festival Field Trip Gallery Itinerant Creeds Inner Mongolia & Ningxia Vanishing Civilization Life in Rock Art (PDF) Tibet Tibet Photographs Dazu Rock Carvings Tiger Motif Archive Index Chauvet Cave Lascaux Cave Niaux Cave Cosquer Cave Rouffignac Cave Portable Art Defining Rock Art Tuc d'Audoubert Bison Dr. Jean Clottes Index UNESCO World Heritage Introduction Cave Paintings Gallery Visiting the Chauvet Cave Return to Chauvet Cave Investigating the Cave Venus & Sorcerer Werner Herzog Film Chauvet Publications India Archive Index Rock Art Central India Pachmarhi Hills India Rock Art Gallery Preservation & Education Dr. V. S. Wakankar Articles on India Rock Art Contemporary Art Middle East Archive Index Middle East Inroduction Rock Art of Iran Rock Art of Saudi Arabia United Arab Emirates Rock Art Ancient Geometry Middle East Colonisation Scandinavian Rock Art Archive Scandinavian Introduction Alta Rock Art Norway Rock Art in Finland Tanum Rock Art Sweden Thor Heyerdahl Archive Index Introduction America's Oldest Art? Pedra Furada Bolivian Rock Art Campeche Island - Brazil Checta Petroglyphs - Peru Cueva de las Manos Santa Catarina Island - Brazil Rock Art in Britain Campeche Rock Art Petroglyphs El Salvador - Corinto Cave Hand Rock Art Paintings Tibetan Rock Art United Arab Emirates Uzbekistan Yinchuan Rock Art Museum Introduction Ice Age Art Gallery Claire Artemyz Jill Cook Interview Cycladic Introduction Cycladic Gallery Introduction Geometric Signs Chart Research Methodology Geometric Signs in France Sign Types/Countries/Regions Bibliography Ancient Symbols in Rock Art Newsletter Archive Download Issues Introduction Genetic Map Professor Stephen Oppenheimer Further Reading Origins of the British BBC Documentary Origins Index Origins Overview 13 Big Questions Stanley Ambrose Homo Floresiensis Herto Skulls Homo Dmanisi Liujiang Skull Introduction Sentinels in Stone Easter Island Rock Art Birdman Cult / Motif Sea & Marine Creatures Design & Motifs Dr Georgia Lee Easter Island Map Contemporary Art Glossary Conclusion Thor Heyerdahl Introduction When & Who Built It? How Was It Built? The Area Sounds of Stonehenge Meaning of a Pyramid Pyramid Studies Pyramid Superstructure Pyramid Substructure Pyramid Preparations Pyramid Building Saqqara Nabil Swelim Temples of Malta and Gozo Research in the Caucasus The Keselo Foundation Homo Dmanisi Ancient Toolmakers Index Introduction Descent into the Cave The Decorated Caves Shamanistic Experience Spring Initiation Rites Summary Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Professor John P. Miller Motif: Eternal Index Banksy Han Meilin Bruce Radke Christian Tuki Gordon Ellis-Brown Site Map Search the Website Glossary of Terms & Definition Podcast on iTunes Other Websites Contact the Foundation