[Marxism] Hard Times (Lurker Does the Impossible)

Gulf Mann gulfmann at gmail.com
Mon Aug 9 10:13:15 MDT 2010


The late Norman Mailer made the same point some years ago that Alewitz now
makes--that grafitti is "people's art" freely rendered and given,
direct from artist to audience, and often created under dangerous, usually
illegal, circumstances. I'd add that this criminalized, people's art is also
often an exercise in defilement by defacing private property--a dissing of
 corporate buildings, etc. True, much of it is gang-related, territorial
marking or initials designed to increase the street cred of the artist, but
we could riff about whether gangs are mini capitalist orgs or
pre-revolutionary formations or a mixture of both.

On Mon, Aug 9, 2010 at 10:44 AM, Mike Alewitz <Alewitz at comcast.net> wrote:

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> Louis has written much about art and culture that I agree with, but he may
> have slipped into a bit of hyperbole in the linked article below, when he
> states:
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> "Fred delivered a slashing polemical attack on modernism that made a point
> that I found hard to disagree with, namely that representational art and
> representational art alone was capable of commenting on the human condition
> of the sort we associate with the classic realist novels of Balzac, Victor
> Hugo, Dickens, Mark Twain, John Steinbeck et al. When you stop and think
> about it, it is virtually impossible to disagree with this. There are lots
> of things you can say about a Jackson Pollock painting, but everyone would
> have to agree with the proposition that it can say nothing about
> unemployment, hunger, homelessness, etc..."
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> I virtually disagree. Since I am not in a position to make a more
> substantive, lengthy contribution to this discussion, I'll keep it to a
> brief point:
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> Every night, thousands of young people venture into the darkness, where
> they face victimization or arrest, in order to create abstract paintings.
> Grafitti and street art gives expression to the condition and aspirations of
> working people - whether primarily figurative, abstract or non-objective.
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> Grafitti is often abstract murals that contain explosions of color -
> created anonymously as a gift to working-class communities.  Social-realist
> painting is most frequently sold for profit to upper middle-class buyers or
> exhibited in venues inaccessible to most working people. There are a
> gazillion approaches to making art that stand between these approaches and
> extend beyond both. In my opinion, there is no right or wrong art - just
> different work that is a stronger or weaker voice of the artist(s).
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