“The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country… It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind.”
Edward L. Bernays
This operates in the Art World. We are conditioned to accept the normalization of the visual arts through deliberately designed conduits that are hardly ever of the artist’s making. How art is to be seen, is as important as the so-called art object itself. The social framework surrounding our engagement is as important as anything passing for art. Some art is marketed. Some art is community art or local entertainment or hobby. Some art is academic, to be housed in the confines of academic purpose and role. Some role of art is to remain published as journal that can substantiate or justifies the validity of settled art for the greater public so it can be seen as “real, tried and true” for the public domain. The narratives are added and viola… Art!… Some art is automatically museum bound, pre-purchased and created for a public role. Or sits in storage containers outside airports, avoiding tax, to market a future transfer, languishing in very nice wooden boxes, made especially for its long, lonely wait.
But all these modes of presentation invariably necessitate a middle man to some degree, a social force that had little to do with the actual creation of the art but is invariably responsible for its presentation and to a large degree whether it is deemed “successful or good” or not. The artist is held hostage on many levels. Artists themselves usually have the last say as to what or how their art is seen or not. Or to what it is. They pray for luck or some kind of power. They fight insanity, sometimes they lose the battle or just foist it off. Why are not artists enraged at this drubbing they take…. day in…..day out…. throughout history?
Or are artists the willing sign-makers for the social order of the dominating state in which they exist??