Class Wargames (with Richard Barbrook) at the NeMe Arts Centre, Cyprus, 2018.
Grey Matter: Socially Engaged Art as Professional-Managerial Class
As Yates McKee has argued, SEA reached its Situationist moment of sublation when the participants at the Creative Time Summit who joined the Occupy Wall Street protesters in Zuccotti Park ratified the avant garde call to sublate art into life. The meta-stasis of art and politics, as John Roberts refers to it, was advanced by the extension of artist-supported post-OWS working groups and collectives. Like the "Bernie Bro" left and the Corbynistas, OWS was criticized for its "class reductionist" focus on political economy. It afterwards enhanced its attention to intersectional demands, diversity and equity. Making use of Barbara and John Ehrenreich's concept of the professional-managerial class, this presentation will examine how it is that the two contending sectors of the PMC, its creative and activist wings, have made common cause around the renewed emphasis on identity politics. It will further consider the prospects for an Engaged Art International.
Marc James Léger is a Marxist cultural theorist. He is editor of Culture and Contestation in the New Century (2011) as well as the two volumes of The Idea of the Avant Garde – And What It Means Today (2014, 2019). His books include Brave New Avant Garde (2012), The Neoliberal Undead (2013), Drive in Cinema (2015), Don’t Network: The Avant Garde after Networks (2018) and Vanguardia: Socially Engaged Art and Theory. Forthcoming are Bernie Bros Gone Woke, Too Black to Fail: The Obama Portraits and the Politics of Post-Representation and Identity Trumps Socialism: The Politics of Emancipatory Universality.
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