On Political Art

The idea was floated on another blog that abstract art can't be political. I don't agree with that and here is an excellent piece written on the subject by Michael Brady.

Concerning the Political in Art

"From the realism of Homer and the paintings of the Ashcan School, from American Scene and Regionalist paintings and the social realism of the 1930's, to Abstract Expressionism, Pop, and other movements of the post-War era, artists have announced that each new style embodied the greater truth of representational fidelity (e.g., Sloane), transcendental good (e.g., Rothko), or authenticity and sincerity (e.g., Dubuffet)."

...A salient feature of propaganda--what makes it so effective--is its calculated use of popular styles and imagery. Propaganda is more political than "political" art because it readily uses a popular idiom and does not sneer at the masses. Many artists, from Kandinsky to Mondrian to Brecht proposed that there could be found new art forms which could cut through the pretensions of well-bred society and the dictates of the ruling classes and speak directly to the people in the lower classes. The problem with this, though, as Clement Greenberg has pointed out, is that the masses in industrial society do not want high culture, but its simulacrum kitsch." [read more]

And a few quick quotes.

Art is a finger up the bourgeoisie ass. -Pablo Picasso

If everyone would paint, political re-education would be unnecessary. -Pablo Picasso

All art is propaganda. -George Orwell

Above, Green line in woods, oil on canvas, 70.9 x 47.2 inches, 1986 by David Reeb,