The Corner


It’s Time to Take Back the World of Art from the Left

A woman poses in front of a mural of George Floyd in Los Angeles, Calif., May 30, 2020. (Kyle Grillot/Reuters)

Leftists believe that they must turn every aspect of life to their purpose of control. That includes art, which they insist helps to create a revolutionary mentality in society. Artists must subordinate their individual desires and impulses to the cause.

In today’s Martin Center article, Michael J. Pearce, founder of The Representational Art Conference, argues that students in art schools should object to this control.

Pearce writes, “The cultish creed has permeated throughout universities, with moderate professors bowing to the mob and leaving the tiny minority of their conservative colleagues paranoid and fearful of speaking out against the ideology that has dominated them. Their voices are silenced by the threat of anonymous denunciations and by the examples that have been made of bullied colleagues who endured threats of violence, unemployment, lost homes, and the harm caused to their families.

“Thus, the burden of making change happen within art schools may rest upon the shoulders of art students who abhor demands to politicize their work.”

How bad are things in the art world? Very bad, Pearce reports. Demands for “woke” art are everywhere. Museum officials decide what they can show and acquire based on what will display their fervor for the remaking of America. Furthermore, “Magazines like ArtNews and Hyperallergic are packed with stories of social justice-oriented art activism, sometimes to the extent that it is hard to see how the hook of their stories has anything to do with actual art-making. (Unsurprisingly, Hyperallergic is funded by activist foundations including The Ford Foundation, The Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation, and the Nathan Cummings Foundation).”

This isn’t new, of course. Pearce recounts the war over art in France more than a century ago, when Emile Zola clashed with the leftist radicals who demanded that artists produce not what they wanted, but art that would help advance socialism.

Pearce concludes with a rousing exhortation: “The uneasy alliance between bohemian artists and the bourgeoisie who collect their art will doubtlessly bear the fruit of creative excellence in this new time. Student artists! Resist the pressure upon you to conform! Stand firm on your individuality! Be yourself!”

George Leef is the the director of editorial content at the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal.


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