I am certainly not arguing for a position of innocence.9 It is at best illusory, at worst just another selling point. Most of all it is very boring. But I do think that political artists could become more relevant if they were to confront these issues instead of safely parade as Stalinist realists, CNN situationists, or Jamie-Oliver-meets-probation-officer social engineers. It’s time to kick the hammer-and-sickle souvenir art into the dustbin. If politics is thought of as the Other, happening somewhere else, always belonging to disenfranchised communities in whose name no one can speak, we end up missing what makes art intrinsically political nowadays: its function as a place for labor, conflict, and…fun—a site of condensation of the contradictions of capital and of extremely entertaining and sometimes devastating misunderstandings between the global and the local.
- Please note: The Amateurist Network and this blog are not presently active
- Steyerl, pithy as ever, on ‘Politics of Art: Contemporary Art and the Transition to Post-Democracy’ in e-flux Journal 21
- Brilliant letter by Hollis Frampton sent in response to the MoMA’s invitation to exhibit his work without pay
- On the internet, we are all contractors – Triple Canopy Journal on Triple Canopy
- Grizedale Arts Use Value and the Little Society by John Byrne in Afterall 30
- Isn’t there a danger in performing this way that people find it amateuristic? Yes. At best it’s called punk, at worst it’s just a mess. Or, abysmal.
- Captives of the Cloud, Part II by Metahaven in e-flux Journal 38
- The Scan and the Export by Sean Dockray in Fillip 12
- Institutions by Artists: coverage from recent conference in Vancouver
- Nils Norman suggests self-organisation is a way of making critically informed decisions