Thursday, December 09, 2010

What is art for?

I only ask because I have always shared the opinion of that great American, James McNeil Whistler, he of the nocturnes and a mother who made it clear in his magnificent book, the Gentle Art of Making Enemies,
Art should be independent of all claptrap—should stand alone, and appeal to the artistic sense of eye and ear, without confounding this with emotions entirely foreign to it, as devotion, pity, love, patriotism, and the like. All these have no kind of concern with it.
Quite so. As soon as you want art or culture generally to mean something, to have a proscribed role you start to walk down very worrying paths like socialist realism, or the sort of art so beloved of Mr Hitler and his chums. Not only that, after you have Culture (always with a capital C) working for you, then of course those things that do not fall in line with your own way of thinking, your own approved message become some form of anti-culture, or indeed something more akin to degenerate art.

Thus we have our German chum stating,
For the artist does not create for the artist, but just like every one else he creates for the people.

And we will see to it that from now on the people will once again be called upon to be the judges of their own art....

I do not want anybody to have false illusions: National-Socialism has made it its primary task to rid the German Reich, and thus, the German people and its life of all those influences which are fatal and ruinous to its existence. And although this purge cannot be accomplished in one day, I do not want to leave the shadow of a doubt as to the fact that sooner or later the hour of liquidation will strike for those phenomena which have participated in this corruption.

But with the opening of this exhibition the end of German art foolishness and the end of the destruction of its culture will have begun.

From now on we will wage an unrelenting war of purification against the last elements of putrefaction in our culture.
Elsewhere we have Socialist realism which can be simply defined thus,
A Marxist aesthetic doctrine that seeks to promote the development of socialism through didactic use of literature, art, and music.
Alright so where is all this leading. It is leading here. For our masters have decided what culture is for. It is,
no longer only to create art or literature. "Cultural Diplomacy" is increasingly being used as a vehicle to promote liberal democratic values and to foster "democracy and participation",
Marietje Schaake a Dutch Liberal MEP has come up with this new/old idea for Culture.
1. Underlines the transversal character of culture and believes that culture needs to be considered in the widest sense, as both fostering and embodying European values, that evolved historically;
2. Stresses that democratic and fundamental freedoms such as freedom of expression, press freedom, access to information and communication, freedom of worship, freedom from want and freedom from fear, and freedom to connect, online and offline, are preconditions for cultural expression, cultural exchanges and cultural diversity;
3. Reiterates that cultural cooperation plays a role in bilateral agreements on development and trade, and through instruments such as the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), the Eastern Partnership, the Union for the Mediterranean and the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR), which all have resources allocated to cultural programmes;
The problem with all this is that those who fail to concur, those who, in as Whislter puts it "stand alone" run the risk of being ostracised. Culture has no purpose whilst it is happening, it is only in hindsight that we me be able to perceive purposes within it. The European Union's attempts through al sorts of prizes and funding streams to hijack talents and imagination of the continent's arists is wrong.

I hand over to the thoughts of Mr Biafra on this. Compulsory liberalism.

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