File spoon-archives/avant-garde.archive/avant-garde_1998/avant-garde.9807, message 5


Date: Wed, 1 Jul 1998 16:00:23 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: the H&H manifesto


George wrote:

> An artistic statement is something that has meaning in the artistic 
> world. This world has real social and historical existence. It defines a 
> whole mode of living and working. Not just anybody can say or do anything 
> and call it art. An act will be recognized as artistic only if it obeys 
> conditions that are recognized by the actually existing (and 
> historically changing) community of artists, critics, curators and so on.

> The same is true of politics. There is a world of politics that consists 
> of a set of existing agents (e.g., parties) who define what that world is 
> and what legitimate (or as I was saying "serious") political action is. 
> For example, the dichotomy between left and right is a current artifact 
> of this social world and any action will necessarily be aligned by it, or 
> perhaps seen as an attempt to overthrow it (so far such attempts to 
> develop a "third position" have been unsuccessful).

> The world of politics and the world of art are separate from one another. 
> The attempt to make an artistic statement within the political world will 
> simply not be heard or will be seen as absurd or will be reinterpreted 
> and used for poltical ends.

I don't think this helps me much in understanding how you use the words "artistic"
and "political" with respect to the H-AT-H manifesto.  Maybe we should take some
examples.  Is the Unabomber Manifesto a political manifesto?  Why or why not?
How about the SCUM Manifesto?  Is the Aids Quilt a political project?  If I issue
a manifesto to all American artists urging them to stop making art until there
is no death penalty in the US, is this political or artistic?  What about
a manifesto declaring that _I_ will stop making art until there is no death
penalty?  

BTW, the last sentence I quote above from your post, "The attempt to make an 
artistic statement within the political world will simply not be heard..."
suggests that it _is_ possible to make a statement that you would _classify_
as "artistic" within "the political world", but it would simply be ineffectual
(although I am not sure what it means to make an ineffectual artistic statement).
Wouldn't you say, BTW, that Christo's Reichstag wrapping project, with the years
of negotiations leading to the final wrapping, was making an artistic statment
within the political world?


-m


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