10 June 2012

Reading Around - Art & Politics

"Without criticism, the only measure of value in art is money, and that measure has proven to be both fickle and stultifying. As a subject of inquiry, it’s a bore. I know why investment bankers and hedge fund managers prefer it, but why have artists put up with it for so long?" ~ David Levi Strauss

Sunflowers II (1992) ~ Lithograph © Joan Mitchell.

Bo Diddley (1999) ~ Etching © Richard Serra.

At The New Republic - a center-right mag apparently happy to have socialist dissidents, so long as they are not here in the U.S. - Michael Kazin offers this snapshot of the Polish New Left revolving around the group Krytyka Polityczna.

I've lifted the two images above from an advert for this newly opened exhibition of prints at the Haggerty Museum of Art in Milwaukee - Selections from the Mary and Michael J. Tatalovich Collection (June 6 – August 5, 2012).

At  al Jazeera you can find this appreciation of Richard Rorty by Spanish philosopher Santiago Zabala.

Last month Guernica ran this extended conversation between Rebecca Solnit - all around talented and wickedly astute public intellectual - and anarchist anthropologist (nice alliteration) David Graeber who has been influential on the Occupy scene.

Finally, and also last month, David Levi Strauss published this essay ("From Metaphysics to Invective: Art Criticism as if It Still Mattered") at The Brooklyn Rail. That is where I lifted the opening question. I think the program in Art Criticism & Writing that Levi Strauss runs at the School of Visual Arts in New York sounds really terrific. Criticism is a contested activity aimed at establishing values and criteria for assessing and experiencing and talking about art. And the program aims, as I understand it, to provide young writers with a body of basic knowledge on which to start articulating such values and criteria.

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