The events sparked by the ArtForum open letter reveal an art world whose gangrenous goings-on threaten the social order.
Something has changed in the balance of politics and culture: the culture wars become culture itself.
In the 1960s, the German Marxist activist Rudi Dutschke proposed that the road to the revolution would involve a ‘long march through the institutions’ first. A few decades on, Dutschke got what he wanted but the revolution isn’t coming. In its place, a reactionary backlash.
Rishi Sunak wants everyone to study Maths. Perhaps he’s a philistine. Perhaps he secretly craves cultural validation. Or maybe he just read Goethe more carefully than I did.
Where one is from and who one works for has heavy consequences. The arts are expert at flat-out denying this, but isn’t it time to trial radical transparency and honesty?
Knee-jerk accusations of fascist thought and the refusal to embrace aesthetic ambiguity have meant that that ‘the left can’t meme’. It’s all Walter Benjamin’s fault – but artist like Joshua Citarealla and Monira Al Qadiri offer alternatives.
How can men and women live together well in a world where capitalism has replaced the values – family, religion, service, and honour – that used to give our lives meaning?
Are art and its institutions ready to desert from the culture wars and engage with the subconscious?There are many places that need to be occupied, but the museum is not on the list.