Australian Left Review

Authors

Terry Smith

Abstract

Terry Smith discusses Humphrey McQueen’s book The Black Swan of Trespass. "Why should modern art be of interest to communists? Because it is a major element of bourgeois ideology. Because cultural practices under capitalism are sorted into a hierarchy in which the professional arts are the most celebrated, acting as the course of the unattainable cultural tokens of the rich (both as individuals and as a class). These professional arts also act as laboratories of new images, forms and ideas for the "lesser" productions of advertising and amateur art. Because, despite these factors, some "popular cultural practices and artists ("modernist" as well as "realist") can directly serve the political aims of communism and, it is often claimed, provide models of freedom ("unalienated labor", for example)."

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