I’d like to tell you some of my thinking on my Protest Art Series.
There is one aspect of the Protest Art Series that hopefully will promote sensible politics in the long run. That aspect derives from the fact that artnet and its AWC (Artist Works Catalogues) artists are providing pictures of valuable works to the public for free. So, for OEN (or any well-read website) to pick up on these free offerings is to promote the idea that good art shouldn’t be bought up by the wealthy and cloistered in their private showrooms; and it’s beneficial to humanity to have access to artworks on the internet.
However, protest art itself is not necessarily enjoyed by people who enjoy looking at art. For example, I’m a very political person but protest art is not something I go out of my way to look at. Not that protest art makes me uncomfortable (on the contrary, it’s gratifying to me), but it doesn’t relax me or “click” for me like abstract expressionism does (my favorite style of art). No, protest art disturbs me, stirs me up; and while doing so, it confirms very satisfactorily the politics I already have. But as for converting others to protest politics? Personally, I doubt protest art has anywhere near the conversion effect of well-chosen words. But if it doesn’t, this fact is exactly what underscores OEN’s virtue regarding encouraging artists to make their works available to the public.
Most of the artists at artnet’s AWC have put up ZERO PROTEST WORKS; because like most artists throughout history, they’ve practiced their art and transcended social contradictions, not criticized them. And I guess what I’m driving at is I’ll be running out of protest art pictures from artnet-AWC in the foreseeable future. And when that time comes, I hope the editors here at OEN will be agreeable to my putting up non-protest art occasionally (I will identify it as “Contemporary” or “Surrealist” or “Impressionist” or whatever). And I hope you readers will view it, and comment on it, however briefly. This will be in line with OEN’s long term interest, and all our long term interests, in having images of all kinds of good art, and not just images of valuable protest art, available to the non-wealthy. To visit artnet’s Artist Works Catalogues, click here.
- Lloyd Rowsey (11.12.008)