Artists are caught betwixt and between the left who require them to embody activism and the right who would understand art only in economic terms. I would have Art transcend the bickering of polemic and serve its own devices. If you want to be a business person, be one and call it commerce. If you want to be an activist, serve selflessly and do not aggrandize yourself on the backs of other people’s suffering.
For me, Art is a noble faith and aspirational, a thing equally attainable by someone from any station if they are willing to pay the price for defying the yoke and pulling from a different well. Temporal forces seek to press Art into service and enslave the Artist to serve some practical agenda. When this happens, art becomes base and worthless, simply another form of dissipation and cheap decoration. In a world where all our activities are dictated by survival necessity, there are no real options. We respond, conform and perform on cue or face the consequences.
Art is the act of will, it is defiance of expectations. Art asks questions, it does not answer them, and in asking questions, Art revises reality, Art reframes. Art is the only real thing we can do by choice in this life. Herein lies its power. Art’s veracity stems from this autonomy. To remove autonomy and make art beholden to polemic is to remove humanity’s soul, to make us no better than automata.