Art vs. Politics

I vividly remember a conversation with my Chinese roommate in which he asserted that politics are the opposite of art; no one can support both. I think this is definitely not the case, especially in the U.S.; I’m a soon-to-be arts administrator who volunteered registering students to vote for the last presidential election. A couple weeks later in my Art in Society class, we had a heated discussion on all aspects of the relationship of art to government. This topic especially interests me as I prepare to work at an art gallery in China.

I’ve pulled out a couple links that I think are worth sharing about government relationship to art:

“Much Ado About W: Art Wars of Santa Barbara” – a hilarious condensed version of a documentary on a controversy over public art

“Director Accused at Russian Museum” – a New York Times article on a director who the government sues for housing shocking exhibits

“HBO Film About 2000 Recount Draws Protests from Democrats” – another New York Times article, with a pretty self-explanatory title

“‘The Magic Flute’ as Underground Opera” – an opera production updated for and performed at a new subway station in Berlin

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2 Comments on “Art vs. Politics”

  1. Tom Harle Says:

    It’s the job of art and artists to question the politics of the day; to provoke debate and question current discourse.

    But ‘art’ in a more commercial sense can also promote inward investment, encourage tourism, reinvigorate communities and enhance people’s daily lives. I’m mainly thinking of public art here, sculpture and such.

    They couldn’t be more intrinsically linked, in my opinion.

    I’m off to an exhibition on China Design tomorrow, as it happens, really looking forward to it. You’ll have a blast out there.

    Lovely blog, by the way šŸ™‚

  2. sfcollagecollective Says:

    I am in agreement with you, one can support art and politics, one of our founding members of the San Francisco Collage Collective, Matt Gonzalez is a talented collage artist and also running as VP on the Ralph Nader presidential 08 campaign. As a little background data to prove your idea, Matt was the President for the Board of Supervisors in the city of San Francisco, and a major Green Party politician in America, while supporting the arts in San Francisco.
    David Sloane

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