Politics and Aesthetics – Research

With the collection of three graphic art pieces being produced – the zine, poster and animation, I am kinda, sorta, being political. Making a political statement, not sure exactly how, just am, so some research was in order.

Politics and Aesthetics – an Historical and Conceptual Overview

Art and politics have been linked throughout civilisations through a range of diverse relationships, two primary relationships being support and opposition.

Art in Support of Politics: Art can support political entities and organisations, advancing causes. Political regimes and movements require commitments with art providing symbols around which solidarity can form.

Less specific then entities and organisations, politics can be seen in terms of society at large. Art presupposes many beliefs and values of a society it emerges from. Art may not only reflect but, in the process of being assimilated by readers / viewers / listeners, reinforce the beliefs and values of a culture.

Less formal then entities and organisations, the ideological functions of art can sustain practices of social domination, such as racism, homophobia, patriarchy.

Art in Opposition to Politics: Also referred to as protest art, subversive art, social criticism. Being explicit, implicit, broad, narrow. With art being more independent of religious and political patronage, social criticism and protest represent an avenue of art.

Politics in Support of Art: Art making can be a form of political activity. Artists can be employed by political units through commissions or salaries. Artists can have government support to pursue their own ends through patronage (e.g. grants, tax benefits, payments). Political entities may also benefit or impede the arts through licensing and regulatory activities.

Politics in Opposition to Art: Formal political entities have the capacity to censor art, motivated by opposition to the political content of artworks, or a fear of the behavioural consequences of types of artworks (e.g. violent movie content may be opposed on the grounds violent behaviour will result).

Reference: Politics and Aesthetics in Oxford Art Online http://www.oxfordartonline.com, Noël Carroll, September 2013.

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Shirley Burley

Artwork Craft Creative Writing Graphic Design Photography

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