There is no such thing as neutrality. This includes art.

Towards the end of WWII, Picasso, probably the artistic genius of the 20th century, was goaded by an interviewer on the relationship between art and politics. He interrupted the interviewer, grabbed a piece of paper and scribbled a mini-manifesto so that there could be no possibility he would be misunderstood.

What do you think an artist is? An imbecile who only has eyes if he’s a painter, ears if he’s a musician, or a lyre in every chamber of his heart if he’s a poet – or even, if he’s a boxer, only some muscles? Quite the contrary, he is at the same time a political being constantly alert to the horrifying, passionate or pleasing events in the world, shaping himself completely in their image. How is it possible to be uninterested in other men and by virtue of what cold nonchalance can you detach yourself from the life that they supply so copiously? No, painting is not made to decorate apartments. It’s an offensive and defensive weapon against the enemy.

Art is always ideological, that’s what makes it art, it carries a message, it communicates a view of the world. The message of much contemporary art is one of scorn for the virtues and values of the ordinary people who, through their taxes, subsidise the galleries, competitions and awards which promote contemporary art.


In another matter John Allman, a paralegal and long time reader of Grain is currently involved in a serious court case in Cornwall where he is representing a father in a custody case. The implications of the case go far beyond the issue of custody and touch on freedom of belief and the nature of justice itself. Go to

to learn more about this case.


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