Art is not the object you look at. Art is what you feel when you look at the object. That is all you really need to know to appreciate art.
When asked about art the average conservative’s reply to me is, “who cares!” If changing the politics in this country is your goal, then you should care about art.
Art is at the centerpiece of our culture and the culture is upstream from politics. Art was the foundation used by this President to roll his act out upon the American people. Star struck by a charismatic piece of performance art, the public became enamored with the idea that this was a work of art they’d like to own.
So they bought it – twice, the second time paying a much higher price.
And that faded “Hope” poster created by establishment street artist Shepard Fairey now slouches in the basement of college-grads-living-at-home across this country. When art collides with politics and erupts into a feeling elections are won. What did the right bring to the art world? Nice posters and stickers of red, white and blue.
Artists on the right must engage in the culture war through their work, and they need to start collecting it. I’m not suggesting statues of Ronald Reagan or Warhol-esque paintings depicting the horrors of abortion.
I’m talking of art that moves us in subtle ways, art that invites the public to look closer at the culture they live in so as to include the inhabitants of the womb alongside saving the whales when pop culture talks about saving mammals.
To be an artist today that espouses the values of liberty, individualism and American exceptionalism is to be a punk. The art world hates you. The culture hates you. The media hates you. Hollywood hates you. They should … the establishment always hates the anti-establishment.
The politics and values of the mainstream art world have become a staggering show of unoriginal liberal groupthink through simplistic works of art that depict Republican as racist, oil as bad and Obama as a God, all while soaking The Lord Jesus Christ in urine for their cause.
The dismissive nature of the art world towards a whole demographic of people who’d love to see works of art that reflect their culture is no place to be found in the “art world’ today. An art world that does not embrace artists of differing views when it comes to politics and values does itself a disservice by living forever in ‘Cultureburg,’ a place where everybody loves each others work, everyone is a genius and they all voted for the same guy.
The Clinton machine carnival barker James Carville once famously said, “It’s the economy, stupid” in his efforts to get Clinton elected. Popular culture rules the day of the young and the low information voter. To move those groups to vote for a shift in the direction of the country they have to be moved by a feeling, “It’s the art, stupid.”
So the next time you see one of those tattered Obama 2012 stickers hanging on for dear life on the rear of some liberal’s car, look closer, that feeling you’re having is art, and that makes you a punk.
The author’s Presidential Portrait #44