File spoon-archives/phillitcrit.archive/phillitcrit_1998/phillitcrit.9803, message 50

Date: Sat, 14 Mar 1998 08:24:33 -0600
Subject: Re: PLC: [H-BLOOM] Western Canon University

>> Right -- check Manganiello, _Joyce's Politics_, for highly detailed
>>  from Joyce's correspondence etc. that in his 20s he was big-time into
>>  Italian  socialism.
>And most of the correspondence of the Impressionist painter Monet, who painted
>such pretty landscapes, was with the anarchists.  And Picasso supported the
>CP, though they didn't care for his art.
>It seems to me that political parties often want to have a certain kind of
>art, and they want to be able to control "their" artists to get the kind of
>art that they want.  But artists often don't like to be controlled or
>directed.  So I know lots of good black artists who aren't considered "black
>enough," good  women artists who aren't considered to be "feminist enough,"
>etc etc etc. The tyranny of the group, more or less.

That the artist is political does not imply that she is in the employ of
any stated ideology. That one can classify an artist on what might be
thought of  as "the political spectrum" indicates the poverty of the
classification system, not the "loyalty" of the artist to any _specific_
ideology.  "Black art," for instance will become a viable concept as a
descriptor when we use it in the same way we now use the term "Japanese"

That said, when an artist lends her services to the promotion of an
ideology, the product will only be art when it transcends that
propogandistic purpose (it may, however, simultaneously _serve_ that
propogandistic purpose).

Whitman loved Lincoln, and thought him a great and inspired leader of an
idea which was being born. That does not make him a Republican. Nor does it
make Thoreau, for instance, a Democrat.


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