20 March 2011

Yet Another Follow-Up on "Today, we are all Joan Miró" - On Art & Politics

"If people are willing, in extreme situations, to shed their own blood for freedom,
they have a greater chance of actually gaining that freedom than if they are not
willing to do so . . . But I would immediately add another important thing: such
decisions cannot be made for others. If you wish to sacrifice your life for our
common freedom, you may. If I wish to sacrifice my life, I may. But neither of
us have any right to compel anyone else to do it, or not to ask him and simply
sacrifice his life." ~ Václav Havel (1986)

In The Guardian today you can find this longish, sympathetic primer for the Miró exhibition opening soon at The Tate Modern. This gives me an opportunity to follow up on two earlier posts - here and here - that I wrote a short while back in reply to a column by Jonathan Jones, also in The Guardian. Jones admonishes Miró (and by extension everyone who voices political criticisms without setting off for the front) for lacking the courage of his political convictions. I thought his complaints were - politely - wholly unfair. I still do. I will resist the temptation to explain once again why that is so. But the article today gives me the opportunity to invoke this remark from Havel as yet another follow-up. Moralism of the sort Jones purveys is facile and politically dangerous.

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