Political Art as Propaganda?

We saw Michael Moore's new movie this weekend and it was great, as usual (although sickening, of course, given the subject matter.) It got me thinking about art and the messages conveyed (or not) by it and how great art can reflect on the current state of affairs and, in some circumstances, alter the course of history. I'm hoping Michael's art can do that. We certainly need a change in course right now if we're to survive as a country. We discussed the role of art in my class today at Maitland Art Center and what we hope to achieve as artists. It's a difficult subject and one that would probably require therapy on my part. I continually struggle with feelings of inadequacy and confusion about what I'm trying to accomplish and admire, or in some instances wonder, about those artists who seem to have an inner road map for direction and never waiver in their artistic goals. Somewhat timely, I found a good article on the internet about art and politics from one of my other heroes, Bill Moyers. Perhaps it's true that a lot of political art can become pedantic and propagandistic, but the fact that some art can rise above that and project a universal message of hope in basic human decency is what makes a true work of art and is something worth striving for.

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