The Utopian Globalists: Artists of Worldwide Revolution, 1919-2009
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An innovative history and critical account mapping the ways artists and their works have engaged with, and offered commentary on, modern spectacle in both capitalist and socialist modernism over the past ninety years.
- Focuses on artists whose work expresses the concept of revolutionary social transformation
- Provides a strong historical narrative that adds structure and clarity
- Features a cogent and innovative critique of contemporary art and institutions
- Covers 100 years of art from Vladimir Tatlin’s constructivist ‘Monument to the Third International’, to Picasso’s late 1940s commitment to Communism, to the Unilever Series sponsored Large Artworks installed at London’s Tate Modern since 2000.
- Includes the only substantial account in print of John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s 1969 Montreal ‘Bed-in’
- Offers an accessible description and interpretation of Debord’s ‘society of the spectacle’ theory
Bertolt Brecht, György Lukács, Aesthetics and Politics (Verso: London, 1986 ): 120–6 (123). 7 This had been Christo’s self-announcement when he’d arrived in Vienna from Bulgaria, see Christo, interview with Barbaralee Diamondstein, Inside the Art World: Conversations with Barbaralee Diamondstein (Rizzoli: New York, 1994): 34. Christo Vladimirov Javacheff was born in 1935. 8 On the significance of the wall’s removal in and for Germany before and after reunification, see Andreas Huyssen,
actually began and ended.10 Decades later, Yoko Ono and Douglas Huebler would also both have recourse to the idea of the line as symbol of a force that might exceed inertial ground constraints. Ono’s 1966 This Line is Moving Fast – a horizontal line roughly drawn around the walls of her New York apartment – included the stipulation that the ‘line is a part of a very large circle’, hinting at some subliminally demarcated global circumference. Four years later, Huebler drew a vertical line on a
intended to symbolize, he said, an emergent social order in Russia whose implications for humanity were global. These events created ‘rhythmically moving masses, embracing thousands and tens of thousands of people’, uniting ‘everything in a common act […] This is what the French Revolution dreamed of, what it aspired to; this is what passed by the finest people of that most cultured of democracies – Athens; this is what we are approaching already.’81 Debord, of course, was scathing on the rituals
�instance, that in his behaviour Beuys was clearly not ‘an everyday politician. His language sounds remote, a long way from the daily reality.’17 The �idealisms and idealizations of Picasso and Beuys, though different in many respects – and contradictory in terms of their respective relation to �mainstream political parties – are interconnected at the level of their immersion within spectacular technologies. Symptom of the ‘new kind of public relationship between artist and public’ which Raphael
on a photograph of a baby printed in a �contemporary Spanish Civil War newsreel.39 By the 1950s, news photography, film and TV media had decisively joined, and increasingly began to constitute, the spectacle of which contemporary Cold War military �conflicts, such as the Korean War, with their own burgeoning ‘public relations’ dimensions, were a core part.40 The bombing of the town of Guernica, in fact, had been a set piece of fascist military spectacle from which Cold War protagonists on both