Download PDF by Ben Davis: 9.5 Theses on Art and Class

By Ben Davis

9.5 Theses on paintings and Class seeks to teach how a transparent knowing of sophistication is sensible of what's at stake in a vast variety of modern art's so much continual debates, from definitions of political paintings to the bothered prestige of "outsider" and highway paintings to the query of ways we keep religion in artwork itself.

Ben Davis presently lives and works in big apple urban the place he's government Editor at Artinfo.

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Would be merely a point of curiosity. The main thing I want to know is, Larry: you do realize what you’re doing to your people, right? And you do realize that they ARE people, with physical limits, emotional lives, and families, right? Voices and talents and senses of humor and all that? That when you keep our husbands and wives and children in the office for ninety hours a week, sending them home exhausted and numb and frustrated with their lives, it’s not just them you’re hurting, but everyone around them, everyone who loves them?

Viewing class struggle strictly through the lens of wealth versus poverty also seriously narrows our understanding of the stakes: the dignity of working conditions, guarantees of steady employment, the right to grievance, and the intensity of the working day are all classic concerns of working-class struggle—and all of them are about more than the number on a paycheck. At the same time, certain members of society who would intuitively seem to fit our definition of “middle class,” upon consideration, turn out to be not necessarily better off than their working-class kin.

That is, workers collectively do the work that makes this sprawling system function and it therefore needs them on an ongoing basis, day in and day out. This fact gives them special power. Among other things, it gives them a unique weapon, the strike, which no other group can claim. By simply uniting and making a collective decision not to work, the working class can wield tremendous power. It has become fashionable among aesthetic theorists invested in “immaterial labor” as a new capitalist norm to assume that Marx and Engels’s faith in the proletariat was misplaced.

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9.5 Theses on Art and Class by Ben Davis

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