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Still waiting for the site to really come on line? Yup. In the meantime, as an exercise in finger thrumming, here's a quote from art historian/philosopher/practitioner Boris Groys from a new interview in Art Info by David Grosz:

Still waiting for the site to really come on line? Yup. In the meantime, as an exercise in finger thrumming, here's a quote from art historian/philosopher/practitioner Boris Groys from a new interview in Art Info by David Grosz:

Boris Groys: What really interests me is the situation of art and politics.

I refer in my talk to a famous passage is Walter Benjamin’s essay “Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction” in which he distinguishes between the aestheticization of politics and the politicization of art. The aestheticization of politics is what we would call branding, or design, which presents politics as a seductive spectacle. It’s the same idea as Guy Debord’s “society as spectacle.” Politics becomes a way to seduce people, which can actually lead to fascism and war.

On the other hand, the politicization of art is a way to get free of that and to act purely politically — beyond aesthetics, beyond art, beyond seduction, beyond spectacle. The question is: Is this possible?

For Boris, that's a definite yes. In his book Art Power he writes that art has "an autonomous power of resistance". Boris Groys is a fascinating man; he cut his teeth in the Soviet Union of the 70s and 80s, when art really was resistance.

All of which sounds good. But Susan Platt from Art and Politics Now, a blogger for whom the word "engaged" was coined, remains sceptical, working up the argument the art historian Groys is trapped by that history:

First, he [Groys] is defining "resistance" as "resistance to external pressures". Well, of course he is shaped by his own background in the Soviet Union as the champion of the dissident art movements. In that context, resistance was to external pressures to be doctrinaire and follow a party line. His concept of the "autonomus power of resistance" is an oxymoron, resistance cannot be autonomous. What I think he meant was the power of art to defend its autonomy, which of course is a meaningless modernist dead end.

But in the US in 2008 resistance in art is resistance to capitalism in all its manifestations in the art world, and outside of it.

The artist today who can use "the power of art" to speak to the problems in the world, like those artists of the 1930s, is the resistance artist. Why should resistance be focused on defending the autonomy of art? What a waste of time!

Hold on... Just checked. The site really does seem to be up now.

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