Maurizio Cattelan, America
Maurizio CattelanAmerica, 2016.
Photo : Jacopo Zotti, courtesy of Maurizio Cattelan's Archive

Democratic Art

The current crisis of democracy has called into question the value and viability of democratic forms of governance. The so-called Great Recession demonstrated the absurd futility of attempting to reconcile democratic values with the imperatives of global finance and neoliberal capitalism. More recently, the revival of political authoritarianism, fascist ideology, and identitarian populism has indicated a precipitous decline in political support for democracy. As a result, there has been renewed interest in politicizing art.

Although the communist alternative might appeal to some, many artists, curators, and critics have rallied to the defence of democracy, either by seeking its redemption or by pressing for its ineffective liberal variant to give way to a form of direct democracy. Almost without exception, these efforts are laudable and indispensable. However, it is worth considering how cultural and intellectual production made in the name of democracy can sometimes embody values opposed to those that it is intended to promote.

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This article also appears in the issue 92 - Democracy
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