In capitalism, art is nothing but a commodity

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RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil – There is a fundamental contradiction in cultural critiques of supposedly “traditionalist” content that criticize the decadence of the art world in the West. These criticisms often have a conspiracy theory, dealing with the subject from the mythology of “cultural Marxism.”

But these criticisms ignore, out of ignorance or malice, that no conspiracy was necessary for the decadence in the world of the arts. It was enough that capitalism was consolidating and advancing at an ever-accelerating pace, and that the Liberal political-philosophical superstructure was taking root and becoming normalized, in order to ensure, in an almost natural and automatic way, that decadence.

Going from supposedly popular to supposedly erudite productions, decadence is general. And despite the multiplicity of manifestations and the diversity of complexity of works (after all, between Anitta’s songs and Barnett Newman’s paintings there are big differences) the roots of the problem are the same: the commodification of the artwork, , the transformation of the work of art into mere merchandise.

However much one might criticize the artistic engulfment derived from the perspective of “art as propaganda,” common in the antiliberal or illiberal countries of the past, the commodification of art represents a greater evil that takes art to an even deeper abyss.

If the view of art as a mere political propaganda is capable of imposing serious limits on creativity, art as a commodity takes creativity into a vicious circle in which meaningful creation (which is like giving birth to a baby) is replaced by “create by creating.” Since it is necessary to meet a quantity x of demand to feed such or that exhibition and to be able to pay entrepreneurs, marchants, etc.

That is, taking the opposite route, art is led to an even greater lack of creativity. Styles are created just to cause “impact” and raise prices. Taboos are only broken to shock and attract audience and buyers. The artist is reduced to a spoiled teenager and the work of art becomes either unintelligible or irrelevant.

In this sense, there is no real erudition in these works of art that demand immense textures to become intelligible. The erudite art par excellence possesses layers of meaning, being simultaneously accessible to the most common of mortals, but carrying secrets and mysteries to whose access it is necessary to have an accurate spirit and a certain amount of knowledge.

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Aesthetic experience, in this way, starts to function almost as a mystical initiation.

The popular masterpiece, in turn, holds fundamental collective functions, linked to the preservation of a sense of identity, to the reinforcement of behavioral patterns or beliefs regarded as positive, to moral, cultural and spiritual education, and so on. But under capitalism, folk art is just a matter of producing art to be consumed by the greatest number of people.

To do so, they appeal to the lowest human instincts, relying on the worst, fanning the worst demons, trying to liberate and unleash the worst forces of the human soul and mind, relying on general mediocrity and reinforcing this mediocrity to keep a captive audience .

It is not for nothing that we speak today about the “death of art”. Having the death of God, politics, morality, history, philosophy, and now science under fanatic attack, there was no way art could remain unharmed against the siege of liberal intelligentsia.

So now, when we question the decadence of art we know more about the roots of the problem. No authentically creative art is possible under liberal hegemony

Translated from Nova Resistencia.

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