In its post-post modern context, artists, art gestures and spaces have struggled between ongoing structural inequities (a totalizing problem), what has been called “zombie formalism” (an echo of the essentializing modernist art gesture without that gesture’s historic avant-garde role) and a weak political art (art that, echoing Foucault’s ideas of decentered power, eschews “totalizing change”). All this has tended to narrow the art object, the art space and gestureRead More
Of course there is little to value in Howard’s actual politics, a semi-libertarian hodge-podge of conspiracy theory and John Birch society fever dreams, lamenting a nation under threat by “communism and progressivism.”
But the work is beautiful, a seamless fusion of pathos and politics, of spiritual and social concerns. That Howard was a (mostly) right-wing nut does not change this.
His methods and contributions should be stolen by our side—in favor of “communism and progressivism,” in favor of a radical cosmopolitanism, in favor of workers, in favor of the oppressed, in favor of “combination” and direct democracy.Read More
Trans Venus, Black Panthers, November 7, Magpie, After You Leave, Ascension, Twenty Years in Prison, Damascus, On This Day in History...Read More
We do not believe that art must be dumbed down for the proletarian viewer. But it should address matters of concern to the proletarian majority (the majority of the human race). This does not mean that art should deal solely with economic injustice or simplistic portrayals of social contradictions. It means that we must reject post-modern and neoliberal disbelief and cynicism. Most of all, an aspect of anti-capitalist studio art should be to help restore the revolutionary imagination; the ability of the left and the working-class to imagine alternatives.
This is why we are forming November: an association of anti-capitalist studio artists in the United States. We will foster the exchange of anti-capitalist artistic strategies and promote the sale of our work (at rates that compensateour members but are affordable to working-class patrons). If you are interested in being considered for membership please send 12-20 images of your work (no larger than 1mb each), along with an image identification sheet and a one to three page artist statement to firstname.lastname@example.orgRead More
The Marxist Internet Archive has uploaded the first series of the International Socialism journal. It is a treasure trove of material from the days when the forerunners to the International Socialists and Socialist Workers Party (UK) combined a fidelity to working-class revolution with open-minds and a vibrant intellectual honesty. Here is a reposted review by Alasdair Macintrye, from International Socialism (1st series), No. 5, Summer 1961. The following piece is interesting, in part, for its fusion of the idea of the romantic and socialist protest: "One was the romantic protest against capitalist ugliness whose culmination is in Lawrence and Leavis. The other was the socialist protest. William Morris held them together in his own day: it is a prime victory of bourgeois ideology to have kept them apart ever since."Read More
In 2018, six months after the ________________ uprising was crushed by the National Guard, a group of low-wage workers, many of whom worked in coffee chains, formed the “13 Baristas Art Collective.” Its members were art school dropouts or had pretensions to be poets or writers.Read More
1. Narrative Conceptualism: The first concern should be the re-introduction of the proletarian subject. This does not mean an abstracted idea of the proletarian subject inherited from the past (although that need not be ignored) but the actuality of the present proletarian subject: the laborer, the teacher, the bus driver, the fast food worker, the barista, the nurse, the college drop-out, etc. Here we are discussing the individual members of the “army of labor,” the downwardly mobile petit-bourgeois (soon to be proletarians) and the “reserve army of labor.” Taking a cue from underground Moscow conceptualism and strands of post-Soviet Block Eastern European art (as well as elements of so-called “outsider” art in the U.S.) we can resituate the working-class subject within art; not to present merely a victim but to present that subject’s agency and subjectivity.
2. The Constraint of the Proletarian Subject: The contemporary proletarian subject makes history, to borrow from Marx, but not in conditions of their choosing. They are constrained (like the characters of a Brecht play) by material circumstances and the ideologies of the moment. They dream and aspire but are trapped (by wages, gender, disease, failure, heartbreak, war, etc.). The proletarian subject is in a constant state of negotiation and rebellion with that constraint. In this way the subject mirrors the condition of most contemporary artists (trapped by the art market, their days jobs, the demands of the academic avant-garde, art fairs, kitsch, popular culture, their own interactions with class, race, gender, etc.)Read More