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Bertolt Brecht’s 1934 appraisal of the ‘Five Difficulties in Writing the Truth’ is still valid today. They are the need for ‘the courage to write the truth, although it is being suppressed; the intelligence to recognize it, although it is being covered up; the judgement to choose those in whose hands it becomes effective; the cunning to spread it among them.’

There are no ‘artists’, however, who are immune to being affected and influenced by the socio-political value-system of the society in which they live and of which all cultural agencies are a part, no matter if they are ignorant of these constraints or not (‘artist’ like ‘work of art’ are put in quotation marks because they are predicates with evaluative connotations deriving their currency from the relative ideological frame of a given cultural power group). So-called ‘avant-garde art’ is at best working close to the limitations set by its cultural/political environment, but it always operates within that allowance.

‘Artists’ as much as their supporters and their enemies, no matter of what ideological coloration, are unwitting partners in the art-syndrome and relate to each other dialectically. They participate jointly in the maintenance and/or development of the ideological make-up of their society. They work within that frame, set the frame, and are being framed.

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Hans Haacke, Art into Society, Society into Art (via artcatssummer)

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