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Against His-story, Against Leviathan: can someone explain Perlman's critique of art and artists?

+4 votes
I'm kind of missing why he writes negatively of art/artists. Can anyone who's read the book help explain?
asked Feb 28, 2014 by anonymous

1 Answer

+5 votes
For similar reasons to be opposed to activists and activism: these roles and practices rely on a division of labor, a specialization that requires the separation of subject and object.

For artists to exist there must be a market or a patron. The relative value of an artistic product/work (the terminology itself should be a give-away) depends on its scarcity (one of a kind) combined with a broad acceptance of the genius of its producer.

For activists to exist there must be a sense of injustice. The relative importance of an activist campaign depends on the communicable justice it allegedly promotes combined with a broad acceptance of the irreplaceability of the activist. Just think of Rebecca Solnit or David Graeber.
answered Mar 3, 2014 by lawrence (18,030 points)
to add to the criticism, the idea of art as a separate thing from our lives and what we do every day, means that both art is elevated and not-art is devalued.
i personally would like a world where people enjoy the making and using of things (including language) as beautiful, all the time.
...and Art provides the 'spectacle' which hides the teeth and claws of Leviathan. An example he gives is Periclean Athens: architecture, statuary, oratory and poetry masking the oligarchy, commercialism, slavery, and colonialism of Athenian 'democracy'.

Edit for clarity.
as both lawrence and dot imply, not only is the idea of separating art (as mediated by the 'patron') from our mundane existence, hurtful and harmful - so too is the broader concept that everything of worth must be 'received' from our betters - the 'experts, pundits, and professionals'.  If it is done by peasants like us it must be inferior and rejected/avoided ... right?? [Fuck! No.]
Art, Science, Food, Sex, Life, Death, the very thoughts in our own fucking heads - what right do we have to claim these for our own?  Ha!  We claim no rights, we have no need of them.  We simply embrace the thoughts of our own minds, the multi-faceted, shimmering wonderment of the smallest child;  we simply reject the nonsense that our curiousity may not be allowed to roam wherever it may at the moment.  We simply reject the assinine notion that All Thought must follow prefigured topographies of gutters and drains to ultimately drown in this or that cesspool of Academia.
(yeah, i have issues... just enjoy the prose and carry on.)
I really liked this comment (AmorFati's)
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