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The arts and politics


A strong relationship between the arts and politics, particularly between various kinds of art and power, occurs across historical epochs and cultures. As they respond to existing at or occurring in the same period of time. events and politics, the arts take on political as well as social dimensions, becoming themselves a focus of controversy and even a force of political as well as social change.

Nabokov said that throughout 1800, the government by Russian Tsars Nicholas I and II, "remained aware that anything outstanding and original in the way of creative thought was a jarring note and a stride toward Revolution."

A widespread observation is that a great talent has a free spirit. For instance Pushkin, who some scholars regard as Russia's first great writer, attracted the mad irritation of the Russian officialdom and particularly of the Tsar, since he "instead of being a good servant of the state in the rank and file of the administration and extolling conventional virtues in his vocational writings (if write he must), composed extremely arrogant and extremely independent and extremely wicked verse in which a dangerous freedom of thought was evident in the novelty of his versification, in the audacity of his sensual fancy, and in his propensity for making fun of major and minor tyrants."

According to Groys, "Art has its own power in the world, and is as much a force in the power play of global politics today as it once was in the arena of cold war politics."

Pertaining to such politically-intractable phenomena as the Modern conflicts in the Middle East, however, some artists and social critics believe that "art is useless as a tool for political change." There are, nevertheless, examples where artists employ art in the service of political change.

Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world.

The Italian poet Ungaretti, when interviewed on transgression by director Pasolini for the 1964 Love Meetings documentary, said that the foundation of poetry is to transgress all laws: "I am a poet and as such I begin transgressing all the laws by doing poetry".



Blois, Louis. Book review of Irony, Satire, Parody and the Grotesque in the Music of Shostakovich, by Esti Sheinberg. DSCH Journal 14 (Jan. 2001). Web. 1 Feb. 2009.
Bush, James. "Courthouse Dance: JAMPAC's Fight to Overturn the Teen Dance Ordinance Moves Forward". Seattle Weekly. Village Voice Media, 30 Jan. 2002. Web. 3 Mar. 2009.
Chan, Sharon Pian. "Initially Hailed, City Dance Law Doesn't Mean Much These Days". The Seattle Times 7 Apr. 2006. Web. 3 Mar. 2009.
ČTK. "Czech Sculptor Cerny Apologises to Govt for EU Mystification". České noviny. ČTK, 13 Jan. 2009. Web. 2 Feb. 2009.
DeRogatis, Jim. "Background Reading on the Promoter's Ordinance: The Proposed Law, and the Chicago Music Commission's Response to It". Chicago Sun-Times, Blog. Sun-Times Media Group, 7 May 2008. Web. 3 Mar. 2009. ("Following below are the text of the new promoter's ordinance that the City Council seems prepared to rush to approve next week -- with little input from the Chicago music community – as well as the first public response to it from the Chicago Music Commission, the burgeoning activist group that seems poised to lead the fight in making the ordinance more fair for the community of artists and fans that it hopes to represent in the dark corners of City Hall.")
Esche, Charles, and Will Bradley, eds. Art and Social Change: A Critical Reader. London: Tate Publishing: In association with Afterall; New York: Distributed in the United States and Canada by Harry N. Abrams, 2007. (10). (13). "Publisher Description" in WorldCat. Web. 5 Feb. 2009.
Gavrilova, Dessy. "Entropa: Art of Politics, Heart of a Nation". openDemocracy.net. Open Democracy: Free Thinking for the World, 19 Jan. 2009. Web. 2 Feb. 2009. ("First published 16 Jan. 2009.")
Graham, Mark Miller. Book rev. of Art in History, by Larry Silver. Art Journal (Summer 1996). FindArticles.com. Web. 3 Feb. 2009.
Groys, Boris. Art Power. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2008. (10). (13). Book description. MIT Press Catalogue. Web. 4 Feb. 2009. [Winner of the 2009 Frank Jewett Mather Award given by the College Art Association (CAA).]
Harris, John. "Tory Posters Are Now Ripping Off the Iconography of Socialist Revolution". Guardian.co.uk. Guardian Media Group, 1 Oct. 2008. Web. 3 Feb. 2009.
Hoffman, Frank ("modified for the web by Robert Birkline"). "Protest Music". Survey of American Popular Music (Frank Hoffman). Course Website for MUS264, taught by Frank Hoffman, Spring 2003. Sam Houston State University, 2003. World Wide Web. 3 Mar. 2009.
Howland, George, Jr. "Slow Dance". Seattle Weekly. Village Voice Media, 14 Aug. 2002. Web. 3 Mar. 2009.
Hundal, Sunny. "This Will Stop the Music". Guardian.co.uk. Guardian Media Group, 23 Jan. 2009. Web. 2 Feb. 2009.
Licensing Service (London Borough of Hillingdon, Uxbridge, UK). "The Licensing Act of 2003: London Borough of Hillingdon Statement of Licensing Policy". London Borough of Hillingdon, Jan. 2008. PDF. Web. 3 Mar. 2009. (27 pages).
Lyall, Sarah. "Art Hoax Unites Europe in Displeasure". New York Times. New York Times Company, 15 Jan. 2009. Web. 2 Feb. 2009.
"News: Jon McClure Protests Form 696: Musicians [sic] Sets Up Petition". Clash. Clash Music, 2 Dec. 2008. Web. 3 Mar. 2009. (Includes hyperlinked petition by McClure.)
Orlowski, Andrew. "Police Vet Live Music, DJs for 'terror risk': Locking Down Garage...and RnB, Basement". The Register: Biting the Hand That Feeds IT. Situation Publishing Ltd (UK), 11 Nov. 2008. Web. 3 Mar. 2009.
"Paul Robeson Centennial Celebration: Robeson Peace Arch Concert Anniversary: 1952 Concert". Rpt. in Chicago-Area Computer Activism. Computer Professionals for Social ResponsibilityChicago Chapter. Rpt. from People's Voice. Communist Party of Canada, 1–31 Dec. 2001. Web. 3 Mar. 2009.
Poli, Francesco. "Sulla scia dei surrealisti" (1991). Rpt. in I situazionisti e la loro storia. Ed. Guy Debord and Gianfranco Sanguinetti. Trans. F. Scarpelli and A. Andreacchio. Esplorazioni. 1999. (63ff.) Updated and rev. ed. Rome: Manifestolibri, 2006. (10). (13). 47–49. Catalogue entry. Manifestolibri, n.d. Web. 1 Feb. 2009. (Italian)
Sheinberg, Esti. Irony, Satire, Parody and the Grotesque in the Music of Shostakovich. Aldershot, Eng., and Burlington, Vermont: Ashgate Publishing, 2000. (10). (13).
Silver, Larry. Art in History. New York: Abbeville Press, 1993. (10). (13). "About this book" at Google Books. Web. 4 Feb. 2009.
Slackman, Michael. "An Arab Artist Says All the World Really Isn't a Stage". New York Times. New York Times Company, 19 Aug. 2006. Web. 3 Feb. 2009.
Van Gelder, Lawrence. "Footlights: Indoor Activity". New York Times. New York Times Company, 26 Mar. 2002. Web. 3 Mar. 2009.
Blois, Louis. Book review of Irony, Satire, Parody and the Grotesque in the Music of Shostakovich, by Esti Sheinberg. DSCH Journal 14 (Jan. 2001). Web. 1 Feb. 2009.
Bush, James. "Courthouse Dance: JAMPAC's Fight to Overturn the Teen Dance Ordinance Moves Forward". Seattle Weekly. Village Voice Media, 30 Jan. 2002. Web. 3 Mar. 2009.
Chan, Sharon Pian. "Initially Hailed, City Dance Law Doesn't Mean Much These Days". The Seattle Times 7 Apr. 2006. Web. 3 Mar. 2009.
ČTK. "Czech Sculptor Cerny Apologises to Govt for EU Mystification". České noviny. ČTK, 13 Jan. 2009. Web. 2 Feb. 2009.
DeRogatis, Jim. "Background Reading on the Promoter's Ordinance: The Proposed Law, and the Chicago Music Commission's Response to It". Chicago Sun-Times, Blog. Sun-Times Media Group, 7 May 2008. Web. 3 Mar. 2009. ("Following below are the text of the new promoter's ordinance that the City Council seems prepared to rush to approve next week -- with little input from the Chicago music community – as well as the first public response to it from the Chicago Music Commission, the burgeoning activist group that seems poised to lead the fight in making the ordinance more fair for the community of artists and fans that it hopes to represent in the dark corners of City Hall.")
Esche, Charles, and Will Bradley, eds. Art and Social Change: A Critical Reader. London: Tate Publishing: In association with Afterall; New York: Distributed in the United States and Canada by Harry N. Abrams, 2007. (10). (13). "Publisher Description" in WorldCat. Web. 5 Feb. 2009.
Gavrilova, Dessy. "Entropa: Art of Politics, Heart of a Nation". openDemocracy.net. Open Democracy: Free Thinking for the World, 19 Jan. 2009. Web. 2 Feb. 2009. ("First published 16 Jan. 2009.")
Graham, Mark Miller. Book rev. of Art in History, by Larry Silver. Art Journal (Summer 1996). FindArticles.com. Web. 3 Feb. 2009.
Groys, Boris. Art Power. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2008. (10). (13). Book description. MIT Press Catalogue. Web. 4 Feb. 2009. [Winner of the 2009 Frank Jewett Mather Award given by the College Art Association (CAA).]
Harris, John. "Tory Posters Are Now Ripping Off the Iconography of Socialist Revolution". Guardian.co.uk. Guardian Media Group, 1 Oct. 2008. Web. 3 Feb. 2009.
Hoffman, Frank ("modified for the web by Robert Birkline"). "Protest Music". Survey of American Popular Music (Frank Hoffman). Course Website for MUS264, taught by Frank Hoffman, Spring 2003. Sam Houston State University, 2003. World Wide Web. 3 Mar. 2009.
Howland, George, Jr. "Slow Dance". Seattle Weekly. Village Voice Media, 14 Aug. 2002. Web. 3 Mar. 2009.
Hundal, Sunny. "This Will Stop the Music". Guardian.co.uk. Guardian Media Group, 23 Jan. 2009. Web. 2 Feb. 2009.
Licensing Service (London Borough of Hillingdon, Uxbridge, UK). "The Licensing Act of 2003: London Borough of Hillingdon Statement of Licensing Policy". London Borough of Hillingdon, Jan. 2008. PDF. Web. 3 Mar. 2009. (27 pages).
Lyall, Sarah. "Art Hoax Unites Europe in Displeasure". New York Times. New York Times Company, 15 Jan. 2009. Web. 2 Feb. 2009.
"News: Jon McClure Protests Form 696: Musicians [sic] Sets Up Petition". Clash. Clash Music, 2 Dec. 2008. Web. 3 Mar. 2009. (Includes hyperlinked petition by McClure.)
Orlowski, Andrew. "Police Vet Live Music, DJs for 'terror risk': Locking Down Garage...and RnB, Basement". The Register: Biting the Hand That Feeds IT. Situation Publishing Ltd (UK), 11 Nov. 2008. Web. 3 Mar. 2009.
"Paul Robeson Centennial Celebration: Robeson Peace Arch Concert Anniversary: 1952 Concert". Rpt. in Chicago-Area Computer Activism. Computer Professionals for Social ResponsibilityChicago Chapter. Rpt. from People's Voice. Communist Party of Canada, 1–31 Dec. 2001. Web. 3 Mar. 2009.
Poli, Francesco. "Sulla scia dei surrealisti" (1991). Rpt. in I situazionisti e la loro storia. Ed. Guy Debord and Gianfranco Sanguinetti. Trans. F. Scarpelli and A. Andreacchio. Esplorazioni. 1999. (63ff.) Updated and rev. ed. Rome: Manifestolibri, 2006. (10). (13). 47–49. Catalogue entry. Manifestolibri, n.d. Web. 1 Feb. 2009. (Italian)
Sheinberg, Esti. Irony, Satire, Parody and the Grotesque in the Music of Shostakovich. Aldershot, Eng., and Burlington, Vermont: Ashgate Publishing, 2000. (10). (13).
Silver, Larry. Art in History. New York: Abbeville Press, 1993. (10). (13). "About this book" at Google Books. Web. 4 Feb. 2009.
Slackman, Michael. "An Arab Artist Says All the World Really Isn't a Stage". New York Times. New York Times Company, 19 Aug. 2006. Web. 3 Feb. 2009.
Van Gelder, Lawrence. "Footlights: Indoor Activity". New York Times. New York Times Company, 26 Mar. 2002. Web. 3 Mar. 2009.
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