ART: Polemics.

From: IN%"[email protected]" "Art Criticism Discussion Forum" 7-AUG-199
To: Howard Lawrence <[email protected]>
Subj: polemics v. art

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Date: Fri, 7 Aug 1992 09:13:38 -0700
From: [email protected]
Subject: polemics v. art
Sender: Art Criticism Discussion Forum <[email protected]>
To: Howard Lawrence <[email protected]>
Reply-to: Art Criticism Discussion Forum <[email protected]>
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In-Reply-To: Msg from richard povall dated Fri, 7 Aug 1992

>The "danger" of political art is that, to use a rather outmoded framework,
>the medium can become overwhelmed by the message. In other words, the
>content outweighs the form - a true post-modernism, if you will.
>I also find myself rather tired of this whole debate of what constitutes art.
>Why is polemic NOT art??? Surely these debates were settled more than half
>a century ago?? obviously not...
>The fact that the coat hanger is not recognized as a cultural icon of the
>destruction of women's bodies by an educated individual is reason enough
>to cover those coat hangers in red tape to underline the callous, or ignorant
>(or both) disregard for women by the men in power - the ruling class/gender.
>Just as many women died through illegal abortions in the UK as did in

>richard povall

One point we haven't considered is how affixing the label, ART, to a political
polemic can co-opt it for the ruling class/gender. (I dare say, a group of
naked politicians and a group of naked art critics/art dept heads would be
hard to distinguish!) Doug Minkler, a political silk screener here in the Bay
Area, refuses commercial & museum use of his work for just this reason. The
TREAL danger lies in the assumed form weakening the content.

As far as the need for the statement made with the hangers goes, I couldn't
agree with you more, Richard. People should not be allowed to avoid such
issues by driving in their cars with the oldies station playing. But once an
icon has been used on bumper stickers and political buttons and t-shirts and
etc, do you agree that then putting it on the street raises its stature to
art? And why is this new level of value needed for us to respect the message?

(Here's me doing an impersonation of Mr Cammer, who, parenthetically, I admire
greatly for his contributions to the group)

it is not art, and it needn't be.
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