Review of “Art Turning Left”

Click here to read an excellent review of “Art Turning Left at the Tate Liverpool: An ambitious but problematic collection of “left-wing” art”. Rather than the usual ahistorical and eclectic approach that pervades almost every aspect of what passes for art criticism today, this review brings to bear the necessary historical and political overview of how revolutionary art develops in conjunction with the revolutionary changes in society. I particularly agree with its conclusion:

Many of the more recent works on display appear to have lost all connection to “left-wing” values, including Belgian artist Francis Alÿs’s 2002 video “When Faith Moves Mountains”, involving several hundred people attempting to shovel a huge Peruvian sand dune a few metres, or British artists Alan Kane and Jeremy Deller’s quirky Folk Art display . These works, more than anything else, underscore the immense, objective crisis in social and historical perspective that dominates the art world.

The 2008 financial crisis and the outbreak of mass struggles since 2011, in Egypt and elsewhere, have shattered claims about the final triumph of “free market” capitalism, the end of the working class and the failure of revolution. A new era of upheavals has opened up, which will change the atmosphere in art and dramatically alter the conditions under which artists will operate. The continuity with the French and Russian Revolutions of the new work that emerges will establish itself without straining or false analogies.

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