This proclamation was commissioned
by Peer for their publication 'Art and Democracy'. The publication
was later abandoned 'in view of recent events'.
Concerning the Relationship between Art and Democracy
Type: INS declaration
1.1 It is held
by this organisation to be axiomatic that good art despises democracy
to the same measure as bad democracy covets art.
1.2 Bad democracy's
administrators covet art inasmuch as they demand of it that it package
and promote their core propaganda motifs: inclusiveness, accessibility,
good citizenship, public dialogue, 'creative entrepeneurship' etc
1.3 Art is about
none of these things. Its origins lie in transgression, death and
1.4 Good art despises
good democracy as much as bad democracy. Art which sets itself the
task of promoting democratic principles, branding itself as 'oppositional'
to globalisation, worker oppression and so on, is invariably banal.
It is also more insidiously reactionary than the most excessive
proclamation of Marinetti. Good art cannot be a space in which individual
rights - to freedom, self-expression etc - are asserted for the
reason that in good art the very subject who might enjoy such privileges
is abjected and annihilated. Good art cannot assume a 'position'
as it is predicated on the destruction of every position, every
point of origin.
2.1 Leon Golub's
paintings are not 'protest art'. They are Homeric.
2.2 It is noted
with approval that Spartans forced captured Athenians to learn Euripides's
work by heart. If they made mistakes reciting it, they were executed.
3.1 It is held
that the generative processes involved in a work of art's production
are inherently undemocratic, requiring peremptory decisions, hierarchisation
and suppression - in short, the ruthless management and exploitation
of symbolic information.
3.2 It is held
that the lines of sucession along which influence in art proceeds
are fraught, oedipal and not egalitarian, and that the character
of apprenticeship is a master-slave one.
5 It is noted
with interest that most good writers were either extremely rich
(Tolstoy, Proust) or in prison (Genet, Solzhenitsyn). Sade was both.
6.1 That fascism
and art go well together is attested by Futurism and the writing
of Yeats, Pound, Spengler, Hamsun, Junger etc. If fascism is taken
to be 'the aestheticisation of political life' then it is hard to
think of a good artist who could not be called a fascist.
systems serve art in more roundabout but equally constructive ways.
Censorship and interdiction should be welcomed by good artists as
enabling. In this light, it is proposed that Stalin's policy of
arresting and eradicating artists and writers was inspired, as it
placed them in the zone of silence and impossibility from which
all good art stems. Good artists should be quiet, invisible or dead.
7 Do we contradict
ourselves? Well then we contradict ourselves. We are large. We contain