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Political Art for a much needed time

As some of you may know there have been some very newsworthy events happening in the past few weeks, and I’m not saying that there hasn’t been newsworthy events in the past year, but what about positive events? It feels as though all we have heard for the longest time is negative news stories, and sure they sell, but does it help moral and does it foster change? Currently the Occupy Wall Street event is going on and spreading across the nation (Reddit, Twitter), people are standing up for change and what they believe in, and the very idea that the news media is ignoring this proves that the event is powerful. The camera has the ability to make things important, to focus our attention at what is deemed important and what is not, but who are those people curating the world for us? Do we really find it a good idea to allow those with vested interests to tell us what is really happening?

This site has always been about art, and always will be. It’s what I am passionate about and what I think about every second I can spare. So I spent some time looking around at art with a political and social message. Art that has the ability to not only look amazing, but art that has the ability in itself to spark change. To light the fire inside of us to see things move forward, and to take a look at the world around us and realize that it could be better. It should be better. In the last year I have been to countless art shows, and very few had works that fit this vibe. I can understand the idea of creating art that helps to teleport us out of the negative things that are going on right now – art can act as an escape just as much as movies or music can – but there comes a time when the viewers needs a slap in the face, and not a mellow hand lulling us to sleep.

Is it that the viewers do not want to see this kind of art? I have a hard time believing that lovers of art, and even those that simply crave change would not desire images that help to foster change, and at the same time mark a point in history when great change will happen. Jacques-Louis David’s Death of Marat (shown) is the most iconic image from the time of the French Revolution, and has also been called the first modernist painting. The painting has been reinterpreted by a countless amount of artists. The power of the image stays strong to this day, which is also why it makes it a good candidate to be taken as inspiration by a contemporary artist. So when I see a new series of work, a new show, or happen to introduced to a new artist, I have been looking for those works that hold that power that previous works have held. The last time I went to a show and walked away still a true feeling that the art changed me, was the Jonathan Darby solo show that took place at White Walls (reviewed). The work was well executed, powerful, and most importantly educated me on a issue that demanded more attention. This was one of those that I walked away hoping more and more people would see, they needed to see it. I sit here now perusing though articles of protests, corporate greed gone rampant, and political corruption presented bare and I wonder where is the art created in reaction to this? Are we simply left with a small handful of artist such as Banksy or Shepard Fairey? I know there are more out there, and I have been keeping my eye on many of them, what I want to know is what you think. How do the fans, the patrons, the lovers of art feel about what is going on. Is it really a missing void, or are you quite happy with the art that helps you escape, or laugh, or weep? Or do you crave the art that makes you want to stand up in the the manner of Peter Finch and scream “I’m mad as hell and I’m not gonna take it anymore!”.

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