If you look at the gamut of a generation’s art, you will see clear representative themes. In recent generations, amongst the critically successful western art, I see apathy and comfort and a general celebration of our success as a system. That being, that we have acquired so much individual freedom that there is nothing to be done. You could argue that this is a known and recognised celebration among artists of ‘goal achieved’. But for some reason or another, I doubt it. I don’t reckon that we believe that there is nothing to be done. So I wonder then where this sense of comfort stems from. As such (perceived) individuals now, perhaps we feel no obligation to engage and interact with people, issues and questions we don’t like; ‘Don’t like our world? Don’t participate.’ seems to be the attitude. So I feel kind of guilty and terribly out of fashion for wanting to. Am I breaking a rule by not wanting to wholly remove myself from my world?

I visit galleries, trawl the internet, watch on youtube and a lot of the art I see, that I am supposed to appreciate, looks like crap to me, which is where I run the of risk of sounding like Mitt Romney and co. (But, I don’t think I’m playing dumb, though one can never know.) It has been made unfashionable for art to have intention or to make a point. Art that wishes to influence thought patterns, grapple with opinions, shift outlooks, among certain minds, verges on the unethical, classed as propaganda, which nazism, communism and McCarthyism, quite rightly, made awfully unpopular. But this is not an accurate assessment. One can look at Ai Wei Wei. Despite the strongly political tones to his work, it can’t be said that it is propaganda. His art is made autonomously, as an individual, and not to serve someone else’s purpose.

I think art that allows itself to have purpose (no, not serve a purpose), pose questions or even provide answers, not necessarily as statements of fact or certainty, but maybe just as a stab in the dark, has more proverbial balls than its counterparts. It is brave to engage in a discussion with an audience that will most likely tell you you that you are wrong. Art should take an interest and participate in the world it exists, even if from afar. Otherwise, it is pretentious and assumes its own importance. It appears to me that much art, so inflated with irony, is out to mock its audience, to make fools of them: an unhelpful and unsustainable way to communicate. Artists should encourage equality through the pursuit and promotion of understanding, hopefully resulting in art that holds at least some vestiges of humanness.

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