People sure get nervous when I postulate an art-free future as a desirable outcome of feminist revolt. If this nervousness is because you work in the arts and are already anxious about job security, or because yours is a poetical nature and you are enamored of the Artist Mythos, fear not. You’ll be long dead before art takes a powder.
Regarding this mumbled off-hand remark I made on the last Art Week post:
Like everything else, all art proceeds from the auspices of patriarchy, and the vast majority of it replicates patriarchal mores. “Pure” art — that is, art that is unsullied by commerce, oppression, or patriarchal hegemony — may exist, but I doubt it. For that to happen, post-patriarchal conditions would have to obtain, at which point art itself would, paradoxically, be irrelevant and meaningless.
Everyone wants to know what I mean about art becoming meaningless in a post-patriarchal society. I regret that I didn’t bother stating it more crystal-clearly, because it’s a way cool but kind of weird idea. What I should have said is that in a post-revolutionary society, art as an expression of the ideal within patriarchal culture — which is what all art is since nothing lives outside of patriarchal culture — will vamoose of its own accord. And lo, everyone will be fine with that, because by then art won’t be needed (“bad” art and pornography, of course, will disappear along with it, because social conditions that permit both the artification of the mediocre and the fetishization of oppression will no longer exist).
Culture, oppression’s evil henchman, will vanish as well.
It’s an idea that I swiped (as I so often do) from Firestone on accounta it’s so goshdarned appealing. Firestone speculates that when humanity transitions from a state of revolution to the ultimate state of self-determination, culture disappears and art merges with reality. This “building of the ideal in the real world” will be, she says, accomplished through technology. The ideal won’t need to be imagined or expressed artificially by artifice through art anymore, because it will exist actually. In essence, science + aesthetics kills culture, masters nature (in a good way!), and saves humanity and the world! *
Read her book. It’s very uplifting hippie sci-fi shit. You’ll like it. Here’s the first chapter.
Fun fact: Firestone is Canadian!
Meanwhile, I don’t wanna put words in anyone’s mouth, but I suspect that a percentage of the seemingly anti-art blamers are not so much anti-art as they are anti-culture. More powah to’em. Down at Spinster HQ, when we’re sprawling around the break room with a pitcher of margs, not a chin-wag goes by but what some aunt doesn’t declaim “Culture’s gotta go. It’s guk growing in the hegemaniacal petrie dish, a set of behaviors upon the successful assimilation of which a given individual is ruthlessly judged by her prejudiced peers and parochial overlords. Fuck culture!” And everyone hoists her glass and says “amen to that, Lady Di!”
* See p. 162-174 of the 2003 paperback edition of The Dialectic of Sex