art/marx

Ron Press anclondon at gn.apc.org
Thu Jun 1 22:00:29 MDT 1995


Hi

Just a comment on art and politics.

I generally agree that Political Art is generally counter
productive. However one must learn from history.

The Nazi's used art extensively quite successfully.

One of the best campaigns against racism in the UK was the Rock
against Racism concerts.

Oliver Tambo the President of the ANC was a musician. He composed
liberation songs and conducted the singing of them.

Art is tremendously powerful.

Good art is more powerful than poor art but the political content
need not make it poor art.

I remember that years ago it was said in left circles that
Sibelius and Wagner were reactionaries. I also remember that some
bourgeois writers were praised by communists for their artistic
representation of their own class.

We had a writer Alfred Hutchinson who wrote a story called "The
Blanket". It was a brilliant story in its own right and a highly
political statement at the same time.

I would advise extreme caution when passing judgments on or
investigating questions of art, love, hate, and similar intensely
complex subjects in relation to politics or for that matter
philosophy.

On the other hand I would not dismiss the writings of the ex
Soviet Union out of hand. They took matters to extremes but
"Socialist Realism" must not be dismissed out of hand. Similarly
to gain the impression that art is "Free" is nonsense. The ties of
money and art are well documented.

There were a set of books by if I remember properly, Arnold
Hauser, on the social history of Art. It is still in print. I saw
it recently in a book shop in London. It is the best book relating
art to the society it exists in. John Berger has written a number
of books on the visual arts, generally very good.

Of course Picasso was a communist and proud of it.

I do not know of a fascist who was a good artist and proud of
being a fascist.

Ron Press.  Certainly I am no artist and this I am not proud of.



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