Having and Making Art are Acts of Political & Cultural Power – Why Art Matters (Part 1)
I am constantly asked why art and artists matter. Over the years, I have struggled to answer that question because there are so many possible answers. Over the next few weeks, I will post reasons why art is important. I hope they reach people who are looking for such answers.
Having and making art are acts of power. I’m not talking about the power of “self expression” or “meaning”. I’m talking about real political and cultural power. Consider the following questions and images:
Why do oppressive governments limit or destroy artists, existing artworks and the creation of new art? Why do oppressive governments force artists to create only works conforming to the government’s agenda? Example: Zhao Zhao in China
Why are wartime propaganda images famously and undeniably powerful in rallying people around a cause? Why is wartime propaganda still used as a unifying/motivating tactic today?