Notes of an Artistic Mad Man: Art & Politics

Photo credit: @reinhard_keck

…Art and Politics…since it is the political season we find solace that our government is dysfunctional and will continue to be so until the end of time. And as for the arts, there’s been nothing as excruciatingly embarrassing as John Ashcroft shrouding the “The Spirit of Justice” sculpture because it was topless. I guess he wasn’t a tit man…

…But there are some things that has tethered art and politics together recently besides the constant complaining that the arts in the United States are critically under funded. Who cares? So the Defense department is allocated 800 billion dollars while the arts is allocated about one and half billion dollars. Artists aren’t making aircraft carriers or a vast array of munitions or paying U.S. service men. I would like to point out though that when a great civilization finally dies it is not the battlefields or number of war dead and destruction that is remembered; it is the art and culture of the society that remains to tell the story of that society. The truth is artists should never mix with politicians because they may be mesmerized by all the empty promises and fall into the pit with them. A little dramatic maybe or maybe not…

…And speaking of government controlled art, the North Korean Mansudae Art Studio founded in 1959, employs 4000 workers of which 1000 are artists; it is one of the largest art production studios in the world. They produce all the propaganda art that is needed to control the general populace but they also create real art and some of this is being shown in London this season. It is the first time the art has been shown publically and four North Korean artists have travelled with it. It is the first time they have ever been out of North Korea. One of the artists describing the studio said – ‘It’s a nine to five job but some people get into their work and they’ll stay all night.’. Artistic reverie. freedom that can’t be taken away…

…Iran, has made some news this month, too. Mahmoud Obaidi an Iranian painter sold “Farewell Kiss” at a Sotheby’s auction for a record 65,000 dollars. The most money paid for a modern Iranian piece of art. The painting features a portrait of President Bush encircled by shoes, commemorating the incident on the President’s last trip to Iraq where in his farewell news conference a shoe-throwing assailant targeted him. The President dodged the shoe with a quick duck and weave…

…Finally, back to former President Bush, kudos to Dubya, who started painting when he left the presidency and seems consumed by it? He has given paintings away to various celebrities, including Jay Leno, breaking the great credo of every artist: ‘never give art away’. Free art is never appreciated and always neglected. But it does get me to thinking: what would the world be like now if he would have started painting before he became president…

-C.C. Long (Notes of an Artistic Mad Man)

C.C. Long: A professional artist and writer for over 20 years. Has been published both in England and the United States. Desire, The Driftwood Review, Flux, Chin, Exit Art, WhiteHot Magazine, Art Nouveau Magazine, The Village Voice, The Thompkins Park Literary Review and the Boston Literary Magazine are just a few of the magazines and literary reviews that has published his works. 

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