Do the political beliefs of artists matter?

Well, if they frequently incorporate Nazi imagery into their artwork and then begin to openly express doubts about the Holocaust, then hell yes it matters.

This is actually quite a sad story, because [write adopts cheesy Sigmund Freud accent] I think it highlights one of the occupational hazards of the “artistic temperament,” which is an overfocus on being a provocateur or pushing the boundaries. Under this mindset, ideas that are discredited or just plain wrong can come to be seen as outré and thus embraced. This leads to a self-induced sense of persecution and isolation as the artist is shunned for his/her beliefs, thus clinging more tightly to the same beliefs because ostracization = validity. [Writer drops cheesy Sigmund Freud accent.] I’ve seen it happen, people. You’re out there on the edge and you’ve got to keep going further and further until you’re a holocaust denier, an Objectivist, or, worst of all, a Juggalo.

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2 Responses to Do the political beliefs of artists matter?

  1. Why O Why did I read the comment thread on that article?

  2. What a bizarre story.

    I guess I don’t understand how art like that ever gets popularized in the first place. If absolutely all it does is push buttons, I don’t find it especially artistic; I think it has to push buttons and uplift (or make you think). The former is Rush Limbaugh, the latter is Duchamp.

    From a Google Image search, it looks like this fella has done pieces that are straight-up cultural satire without bringing ideology into it – like cute little decorated ceramic canisters labeled “Ebola” and “Botulism” and shaped like tear gas canisters – which is fine with me. But honestly, the minute you bring Hitler into it you tend to lose credibility with me, no matter your personal ideology.

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