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In 1834, Lord Melbourne spoke the words that epitomized the British government's attitude towards its own involvement in the arts: "God help the minister that meddles with Art." One hundred years later, however, with the onset of World War II, that attitude changed dramatically when "cultural policy" became a key element of the domestic front. The Arts as a Weapon of War traces the evolution of this policy from the creation of the Committee for the Encouragement of Music and the Arts, in 1939, to the drafting of the Arts Council's constitution in 1945. From the improvement of the National Gallery to Myra Hess's legendary concerts during the blitz, Jorn Weingartner provides a fascinating account of the powerful policy shift that laid the foundations for the modern relationship between the government and the arts.
The contemporary public domain, the "free" space where culture is produced and exchanged, is under pressure. The exchange and distribution of cultural products ("content" in the form of music, image or text) is easier in digital society, but increasingly hemmed in by corresponding moves towards greater regulation and control, new copyright laws and intellectual property policy. Instead of enjoying a "free culture," we are watching the emergence of what Lawrence Lessig calls "a permission culture." Simultaneously, as an aspect of broader privatization and regulation processes, private entities are appropriating more and more of public culture, and deciding what is made available or publicly accessible. This issue of the Dutch architectural journal, Open, investigates the root causes of these developments, how they interrelate and what the implications are for the "free" production and practice of culture, as well as for the internal dynamics and balance of power in the public domain.
This inspiring book leads the way to a new kind of advocacy, one that stops justifying the arts as useful to learning other subjects, and argrues instead for the powerful lessons that the arts, like no other subjects, teach our kids. Jessica Hoffmann Davis, a leading voice in the field of arts education, offers a set of principles and tools that will be invaluable to advocates already working hard to make the case and secure a strong place for arts education. She also reaches out to those who care deeply about education but have yet to consider what the arts uniquely provide.
From Bach fugues to Indonesian gamelan, from nursery rhymes to rock, music has cast its light into every corner of human culture. But why music excites such deep passions, and how we make sense of musical sound at all, are questions that have until recently remained unanswered. Now in The Music Instinct, award-winning writer Philip Ball provides the first comprehensive, accessible survey of what is known--and still unknown--about how music works its magic, and why, as much as eating and sleeping, it seems indispensable to humanity. Deftly weaving together the latest findings in brain science with history, mathematics, and philosophy, The Music Instinct not only deepens our appreciation of the music we love, but shows that we would not be ourselves without it. The Sunday Times hailed it as "a wonderful account of why music matters," with Ball's "passion for music evident on every page."
"Art is necessary in order that man should be able to recognize and change the world. But art is also necessary by virtue of the magic inherent in it."—Ernst Fischer Reissued with an introduction by John Berger, The Necessity of Art is a beautifully written meditation on art's importance in viewing the world in which we live. In this wide-ranging and erudite exploration of literary and fine art, Fischer looks at the relationship between the creative imagination and social reality, arguing that truthful art must both reflect existence in all its flaws and imperfections, and help show how change and improvement might be brought about. With his emphasis on the individual's need to engage with society, his rejection of rampant consumerism and hypertechnology, and his indomitable optimism, this radical, affirmative and humane vision of the artistic endeavor remains as timely today as when it was first published sixty years ago.
Art has its own power in the world, and is as much a force in the power play of global politics today as it once was in the arena of cold war politics. Art, argues the distinguished theoretician Boris Groys, is hardly a powerless commodity subject to the art market's fiats of inclusion and exclusion. In Art Power, Groys examines modern and contemporary art according to its ideological function. Art, Groys writes, is produced and brought before the public in two ways -- as a commodity and as a tool of political propaganda. In the contemporary art scene, very little attention is paid to the latter function. Arguing for the inclusion of politically motivated art in contemporary art discourse, Groys considers art produced under totalitarianism, Socialism, and post-Communism. He also considers today's mainstream Western art -- which he finds behaving more and more according the norms of ideological propaganda: produced and exhibited for the masses at international exhibitions, biennials, and festivals. Contemporary art, Groys argues, demonstrates its power by appropriating the iconoclastic gestures directed against itself -- by positioning itself simultaneously as an image and as a critique of the image. In Art Power, Groys examines this fundamental appropriation that produces the paradoxical object of the modern artwork.
A study of controversy in the arts, and the extent to which such controversies are socially rather than just aesthetically conditioned. The collection pays special attention to the vested interests and the social dynamics involved, including class, religion, culture, and - above all - power.
Art/Museums takes the study of international relations to the art museum. It seeks to persuade those who study international relations to take art/museums seriously and museum studies to take up the insights of international relations. And it does so at a time when both international relations and art are said to be at an end-that is, out of control and beyond sight of their usual constituencies. The book focuses on the British Museum, the National Gallery of London, the Museum of Iraq, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Getty museums, the Guggenheim museums, and "museum" spaces instantly created by the attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001. The art includes works over which museums might struggle, acquire through questionable means, hoard and possibly lose, such as the Parthenon sculptures, Raphael's Madonna of the Pinks, the ancient art of Babylon, modern art, and the art/museum itself in an era of rapid museum expansion. Bringing art, museums, and international relations together draws on the art technique of collage, which combines disparate objects, themes, and time periods in one work to juxtapose unexpected elements, leaving the viewer to relate objects that are not where they are expected to be.
This collection of essays explores the political economy of art from the perspective of the artist or from analysis of art's production and consumption, emphasising the art side of the relationship between art and state. This volume explores art as public good, a central issue in political economy.
This book examines the impact of states and their policies on visual art. States shape the role of art and artists in society, influence the development of audiences, support artistic work, and even affect the very nature of artistic production. The book contrasts developments in the United States with art policies in Britain and in the social democratic states of Norway and Sweden. In addition, it analyzes revealing transitions - the changes brought about in East Germany after unification and the experiences of artists who left the Soviet Union for the west. The result is a significant contribution to the sociology and the political economy of art.
How does political policy-making shape the creative activities of artists? Do the political interests of artists influence actual political practices in any way? Legislating Creativity examines the relationship between art and politics through an analysis of controversial art projects tied to the National Endowment for the Arts during the Culture Wars (late 1980s-1990s). Though there have always been tensions in government funding for the arts, these controversies intensified the public debates surrounding art/politics and remain as a focal point in conversations that continue today. The book focuses on three case studies: Mapplethorpe's controversial photography, an exhibit on the impact of AIDS entitled Witnesses, and the Guerrilla Girls. Dustin Kidd has provided a thoroughly enriching look at the intersections of art and politics--the ways that political practices transform creative expression and the ways that artistic drives shape political policies.
Employing political philosophy to argue the need for social and public art projects to be a part of the everyday lives of Americans, Boros creates a new synthesis of philosophical ideas to support the political value of public art.
No longer represented only by Hollywood and the commercial fashion industry, Los Angeles in recent years has received international media attention as one of the world's new art centers. From the appearance of local artists in major European exhibitions to widely reported multimillion-dollar museum endowments, Los Angeles has entered the world cultural stage. Art and the City: Civic Imagination and Cultural Authority in Los Angeles places this celebrated arrival in the richer context of art controversies and political contests over modern art and art spaces in the twentieth century. The Ferus Gallery's pop-infused "L.A. Look" and "finish-fetish," now synonymous with Los Angeles's postwar modernist aesthetics, emerged from a dispersed art community that struggled in the 1950s to find a toehold in a local scene reeling from the censure of the McCarthy era. The Watts Towers have long faced neglect despite their international fame, while Venice Beach, Barnsdall Park, Griffith Park, and Olvera Street proved highly contentious sites of urban cultural expression. Challenging historical accounts that situate the city's origins as an art center in the 1960s, Art and the City argues that debates over modernism among artists and civic leaders alike made art a charged political site as early as the 1910s. The legacy of those early battles reverberated throughout the century. Because of a rich tradition of arts education and the presence of Hollywood, Los Angeles historically hosted a talented population of contemporary artists. However, because of the snug relationship between urban aesthetics and capital investment that underscored the booster goals of the civic arts movement, modern artists were pushed out of public exhibition spaces until after World War II. Art and the City uncovers the historic struggles for cultural expression and creative space that are hidden behind the city's booster mythology.
A provocative and compelling book that explores the complex relationship between democracy and avant-garde art, offering a surprising new perspective on the critical role that the arts play in democratic governance at home and abroad.<br /> Covers a broad range of topics, from disputes over public art, copyright, and obscenity, to the operations of the House Un-American Activities Committee during the Cold War Highlights detailed and at times shocking debates over the role of the rebellious artist within society
The best-selling author of The Shock of the New, The Fatal Shore, and Barcelona here delivers a withering polemic aimed at the heart of recent American politics and culture. Culture of Complaint is a call for the re-knitting of a fragmented and over-tribalized America--a deeply passionate book, filled with barbed wit and devastating takes on public life, both left and right of center. To the right, Hughes fires broadsides at the populist demagogy of Pat Buchanan,Pat Robertson, Jesse Helms and especially Ronald Reagan ("with somnambulistic efficiency, Reagan educated America down to his level. He left his country a little stupider in 1988 than it had been in 1980, and a lot more tolerant of lies"). To the left, he skewers political correctness ("politicaletiquette, not politics itself"), Afrocentrism, and academic obsessions with theory ("The world changes more deeply, widely, thrillingly than at any moment since 1917, perhaps since 1848, and the American academic left keeps fretting about how phallocentricity is inscribed in Dickens' portrayal ofLittle Nell"). PC censoriousness and "family-values" rhetoric, he argues, are only two sides of the same character, extrusions of America's puritan heritage into the present--and, at root, signs of America's difficulty in seeing past the end of the Us-versus-Them mentality implanted by four decadesof the Cold War. In the long retreat from public responsibility beaten by America in the 80s, Hughes sees "a hollowness at the cultural core"--a nation "obsessed with therapies and filled with distrust of formal politics; skeptical of authority and prey to superstition; its language corroded by fake pity andeuphemism." It resembles "late Rome...in the corruption and verbosity of its senators, in its reliance on sacred geese (those feathered ancestors of our own pollsters and spin-doctors) and in its submission to senile, deified emperors controlled by astrologers and extravagant wives." Culture of Complaint is fired by a deep concern for the way Hughes sees his adopted country heading. But it is not a relentless diatribe. If Hughes lambastes some aspects of American politics, he applauds Vaclav Havel's vision of politics "not as the art of the useful, but politics aspractical morality, as service to the truth." And if he denounces PC, he offers a brilliant and heartfelt defence of non-ideological multiculturalism as an antidote to Americans' difficulty in imagining the rest of the world--and other Americans. Here, then, is an extraordinary cri de coeur, an outspoken call for the reconstruction of America's ideas about its recent self. It is a book that everyone interested in American culture will want to read.
'a game-changer, a must-read for scholars, students and artists alike'- Tom Finkelpearl At a time when art world critics and curators heavily debate the social, and when community organizers and civic activists are reconsidering the role of aesthetics in social reform, this book makes explicit some of the contradictions and competing stakes of contemporary experimental art-making. Social Worksis an interdisciplinary approach to the forms, goals and histories of innovative social practice in both contemporary performance and visual art. Shannon Jackson uses a range of case studies and contemporary methodologies to mediate between the fields of visual and performance studies. The result is a brilliant analysis that not only incorporates current political and aesthetic discourses but also provides a practical understanding of social practice.
Can low-riders rightfully be considered art? Why are Chicano murals considered art while graffiti is considered vandalism? What do Native American artisans think about the popular display of their ceremonial objects? How do the "middlebrow" notions of Getty workers influence "highbrow" values at the J. Paul Getty Trust? Looking High and Low attempts to answer these questions--and the broader question "What is art?"--by bringing together a collection of challenging essays on the meaning of art in cultural context and on the ways that our understandings of art have been influenced by social process and aesthetic values. Arguing that art is constituted across cultural boundaries rather than merely inside them, the contributors explore the relations between art, cultural identity, and the social languages of evaluation--among artists, art critics, art institutions, and their audiences--in the Southwest and in Mexico. The authors use anthropological methods in art communities to uncover compelling evidence of how marginalized populations make meaning for themselves, how images of ethnicity function in commercial culture, how Native populations must negotiate sentimental marketing and institutional appropriation of their art work, and how elite populations use culture and ritual in ways that both reveal and obscure their power and status. The authors make dramatic revelations concerning the construction and contestation of ideas of art as they circulate between groups where notions of what art "should" be are often at odds with each other.This volume challenges conventional modes of analyzing art. Its ethnographic explorations illuminate the importance of art as a cultural force while creating a greater awareness of the roles that scholars, museum curators, and critics play in the evaluation of art.Contents Introduction: Art Hierarchies, Cultural Boundaries, and Reflexive Analysis, Brenda Jo Bright Bellas Artes and Artes Populares: The Implications of Difference in the Mexico City Art World, Liza Bakewell Space, Power, and Youth Culture: Mexican American Graffiti and Chicano Murals in East Los Angeles, 1972-1978, Marcos Sanchez-Tranquilino Remappings: Los Angeles Low Riders, Brenda Jo Bright Marketing Maria: The Tribal Artist in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, Barbara Babcock Aesthetics and Politics: Zuni War God Repatriation and Kachina Representation, Barbara Tedlock Middlebrow into Highbrow at the J. Paul Getty Trust, Los Angeles, George E. Marcus
In our digital media saturated lives, where we spend increasing amounts of time in "virtual worlds" such as Second Life or online on blogs and video sites, it can be easy to forget about public spaces. Unlike content in virtual worlds, cultural programs in public spaces are events that are lived and experienced bodily and sensuously. Museum exhibits, public music performances, sports, art festivals - these events and spaces are truly immediate, which is to say that they are lived bodily by those that participate in and produce them. While media might be involved, these phenomena are wholly different from broadcast mass media objects. This book, The Politics of Cultural Programming in Public Spaces, interrogates these events and spaces in order to discover - and recover - the ways in which they affect subjectivity. We offer this not in lieu of interrogations of our heavily mediated world, but as a reminder that public spaces and public events still matter to millions of people worldwide.
Visual culture - art, advertising, architecture, cinema, television, cartography, video, the internet, and images of science - has shaped American national identity more than that of any other country. Covering the period from the late nineteenth century to the present day, the book explores how visual culture has at once transformed and consolidated the image of the United States. American Visual Culture presents both an analysis of the diversity of American visual media and a critical introduction to the study and interpretation of visual culture. Thematic chapters - on American urban and rural landscapes, icons, popular culture, art and photography, as well as on crime, anxiety and sex - describe the cultural, intellectual and historical context. Throughout, these themes are discussed in conjunction with clear and concise explanations of key visual theories and methodologies.
In this impassioned and persuasive book, Bill Ivey, the former chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, assesses the current state of the arts in America and finds cause for alarm. Even as he celebrates our ever-emerging culture and the way it enriches our lives here at home while spreading the dream of democracy around the world, he points to a looming crisis. The expanding footprint of copyright, an unconstrained arts industry marketplace, and a government unwilling to engage culture as a serious arena for public policy have come together to undermine art, artistry, and cultural heritage--the expressive life of America. In eight succinct chapters, Ivey blends personal and professional memoir, policy analysis, and deeply held convictions to explore and define a coordinated vision for art, culture, and expression in American life.
American television embodies a paradox: it is a privately owned and operated public communications network that most citizens are unable to participate in except as passive specators. Television creates an image of community while preventing the formation of actual social ties because behind its simulated exchange of opinions lies a highly centralized corporate structure that is profoundly antidemocratic. In Feedback, David Joselit describes the privatized public sphere of television and recounts the tactics developed by artists and media activists in the 1960s and 1970s to break open its closed circuit. The figures whose work Joselit examines -- among them Nam June Paik, Dan Graham, Joan Jonas, Abbie Hoffman, Andy Warhol, and Melvin Van Peebles -- staged political interventions within television's closed circuit. Joselit identifies three kinds of image-events: feedback, which can be both disabling noise and rational response -- as when Abbie Hoffman hijacked television time for the Yippies with flamboyant stunts directed to the media; the image-virus, which proliferates parasitically, invading, transforming, and even blocking systems -- as in Nam June Paik's synthesized videotapes and installations; and the avatar, a quasi-fictional form of identity available to anyone, which can function as a political actor -- as in Melvin Van Peebles's invention of Sweet Sweetback, an African-American hero who appealed to a broad audience and influenced styles of Black Power activism. These strategies, writes Joselit, remain valuable today in a world where the overlapping information circuits of television and the Internet offer different opportunities for democratic participation. In Feedback, Joselit analyzes such midcentury image-events using the procedures and categories of art history. The trope of figure/ground reversal, for instance, is used to assess acts of representation in a variety of media -- including the medium of politics. In a televisual world, Joselit argues, where democracy is conducted through images, art history has the capacity to become a political science.