Separation of art and state


Post from Robert Asman

I know it is not correct to speak out about this, but I have to weigh in on the fact that I believe political art debases both art and politics (if art and politics can be debased any further in our culture).

One of the strongest principles still active in our Constitution is the separation of the state and religion.

I believe the best artists of a culture strive to present some element of transparency to a transcendence beyond common life experiences–not unlike what religions strive for (shown right, Andres Serrano’s “Piss Christ”). Politics is an earthy, human business which is important that we all partake in as citizens, like paying taxes. To be effective you have to frame and focus your viewpoints by voting or supporting candidates and their organizations.

To do it artistically is to preach to fellow art community members who probably have the same viewpoint. It seems to be an ego exercise, not unlike [the egotism of] a lot of individuals who choose to run for public office.

If political disgust, change, etc. is desired to be communicated, why not organize and do it and target those who should hear your message?

You don’t see politicians making art. To have artists making politics just seems naive and narcissistic and I can’t recall a piece of political art that has

effectively embraced my consciousness as a successful work of art (shown left, poster from Diego Rivera show “Art and Revolution”).

–Rob Asman is a Philadelphia area photographer


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