Globatron Art Law #7 – Art is a process incompatible with conservative thinking.

Posted by on Feb 14, 2009 in Laws

Of course, we are taking this discussion of artistic principles into the realm of politics.  check your emotions at the door, let’s have a clean fight, bump gloves and may the best artistic truth win.




  1. Byron King
    February 14, 2009

    I honestly think you are onto something but think this applies to contemporary art only. For instance a traditional artist can be conservative. A landscape painter can be conservative and their value system could align perfectly with a traditional conservative family values approach to life in general.

    But I’m not sure a contemporary artist can have that outlook. I believe contemporary art continually questions everything and you can’t be conservative to continually redefine yourself and your art throughout your life. Sometimes through that definition you won’t align perfectly with the status quo.

    I do think we should have started out this laws exercise by possibly defining what contemporary art is as we attempted to do nearly two years ago here:
    Still a good read.

  2. Jane
    February 15, 2009

    This can’t start until the word conservative is defined.

    You would need to leave out most of art history, as well, wouldn’t you? Ancient Egyptian artwork is mightily conservative.

    What about contemporary work from other cultures?

    What about religious art being done by Hindoos, for instance, working in the traditional iconic form?

    There are too many variable meanings of the word conservative for this to be useful. You can take a conservative stance in defining the word conservative, or you can narrow it down to Neo-Conservative to describe the caricature that US conservatives have drawn themselves as during the age of George W. Bush. Conservatives in the UK are nowhere near as extreme.

    Frank called Valuistics out a few months ago, reminding him that conservative is not a dirty word and this is the distinction that he drew:

    “Oh conservative is not a dirty word… I don’t mean the original and outdated word conservative, mind you, where it more or less denoted a brand of fiscal sobriety, I mean the modern or neo version, the Palin version, the O’Reily kind, The Hannity kind, The Michael Savage and Anne Coulter eliminationist versions where they talk about who should be dragged out in the street and shot. The quasifascist stuff. The kind that undercuts science and charges into countries unilaterally. “The Real America.” y’know- the kind my granddad wouldn’t recognize. And the fundamentalist fringe of that which is more radicalism than classic conservatism. That’s what I mean, not your classic definition of conservatism. I think it’s good to conserve some things.”

    This could be a good starting point for bringing some distinction to this conversation.

    Jane Kaiser

  3. Akbar Lightning
    February 15, 2009

    conservative seems like a pretty clear word to me, classical conservative or neo-conservative, although there is a difference, the difference is not applicable here, in the arts. we are trying to identify principles that define art in the 21st century. traditional forms can easily understood as craft, and we have already stated that there is nothing inferior about craft. the definition is below.

    con·ser·va·tive (k?n-sûr’v?-t?v) Pronunciation Key

    1. Favoring traditional views and values; tending to oppose change.
    2. Traditional or restrained in style: a conservative dark suit.
    3. Moderate; cautious: a conservative estimate.
    1. Of or relating to the political philosophy of conservatism.
    2. Belonging to a conservative party, group, or movement.
    5. Conservative Of or belonging to the Conservative Party in the United Kingdom or the Progressive Conservative Party in Canada.
    6. Conservative Of or adhering to Conservative Judaism.
    7. Tending to conserve; preservative: the conservative use of natural resources.


    1. One favoring traditional views and values.
    2. A supporter of political conservatism.
    3. Conservative A member or supporter of the Conservative Party in the United Kingdom or the Progressive Conservative Party in Canada.
    4. Archaic A preservative agent or principle.

  4. markcreegan
    February 15, 2009

    I have a good friend from grad school who was raised in a very conservative religious family. Her work deals with abortion and she is very much anti-abortion in her views. Interestingly her work takes a quite contemporary approach using minimalist techiniques and installation. It is an interesting dichotomy that fits her contrarian personality.

    But she certainly is an exception to the rule. Artists and others interested in contemporary art generally are liberal minded mostly because since the 1970s art has been heavily influenced by feminism, multiculturalism, gay theory and culture, and postmodernism.

    I have also observed how conservative ideas about art are sometimes separate from other lifestyle choices. I have had several students who have very progressive lifstyles and dress with tatoos, piercings and stuff, but they paint impressionist landscapes or something and have disdain for most contemporay art. Another interesting dichotomy.

  5. valuistics
    February 15, 2009

    Thanks for posting this. I usually stay out of these laws talks but today I’m feeling like chatting on the subject.

    Recently I have toyed with the idea of interviewing my father-in-law, the architect Gary Mahan, father of Neptune Beach painter Sean Mahan, and the man Sean credits as one of his biggest influences. Gary has created art (specifically drawings, watercolors and oil paintings) since childhood and was even schooled in drawing by none other than the US Marine Corps while stationed at Camp Lejune in the early fifties. He has a deep understanding of art, even modern, abstract, conceptual, etc. He has been a longtime supporter of the arts in Jacksonville and was recently included in a show at Lee Folge. He was on the design committee for the updating of the old Western Union telegraph building which is now known as MOCA Jacksonville. He and his wife Dianne raised their kids with art as a core family value. All of the Mahan children, my wife included, create art as a part of their daily lives.

    Gary is undoubtedly what we would consider an old-school conservative. Pro-military, pro-traditional family values, pro-life, anti-welfare, anti-taxes, voted for Bush, voted for McCain. He’s a thinking man, well read, a student of life, but I disagree with him on too many issues to count. It infuriates me to get “into it” with him around the dinner table. About art, though, we have mostly a parity of opinion.

    I think I will set up an interview with him, if only because he is the one person I can think of who could potentially be the exception to this law.

    Because most of the time, it seems that Conservative Art is defined like this:

  6. Akbar Lightning
    February 15, 2009

    a few points.

    1. many people believe when people accept the tenants of abstract expressionism, or pop, or many of the 20th century art movements, that they have an appreciation for the contemporary, but those movements have become the establishment, that is the whole point of this discussion. the fractured state that the 20th century left the idea of art, that is the new establishment. to be radical, or liberal, is to look for something that can somehow be counter to that, it’s a challenge indeed, but i like challenges.

    2. a thinking man could not vote for George Bush. many confuse having a large memory for intelligence, there is a difference. there are many who are intelligent in ways that cause destructiveness in their lives. intelligence is a tool, and if used properly yields wisdom. it is not mystery to me that many ignorant people have a large store of facts in their head. in fact, too much information is itself a way of being blinded to a set of rational principles. such people are usually evasive if asked about primary principles. they prefer to use smokescreens of facts to intimidate people. it’s pretty easy to spot, but difficult to deal with.

    3. I do not think because someone is religious that they are necessarily conservative. there is another dimension of religion called mysticism that I very much honor as my own way of looking at religion. and I even have a bizarre take on the abortion debate. i believe there is a kind of radical pro-life stance, that honors human life, and exposes the whole debate as a veiled argument about class, poverty and inequality. Obama of course, represents this argument a bit when he said ‘we all want less abortions.’ so this is my way of in some way understanding the artist mark talked about.

    yes, this is good stuff everybody.

    akbar lightning

  7. valuistics
    February 15, 2009

    “there are many who are intelligent in ways that cause destructiveness in their lives. intelligence is a tool, and if used properly yields wisdom. it is not mystery to me that many ignorant people have a large store of facts in their head.”

    See, I want to believe this as I also want to believe that no thinking man could ever vote for Bush. But alas, this is precisely the dilemma I’m faced with in dealing with my father-in-law. I know he is a thinking man because I know him well. I am as baffled as anyone that he would vote for a smirking fratboy pissant, but nonetheless, I am not confusing intellect with a vast memory. There is a military edge, I think, that swift-boated his opinions about Kerry. Plus Gary is not a Vietnam vet (like my own dad) and so he has some kind of bias against hippies or anything countercultural built into the fiber of his being. My dad tripped acid, Gary stayed on the straight and narrow. So fitting that his third daughter is a total hippie.

    He stopped voting for a couple decades after Nixon absolutely left a bad taste in his mouth and he decided that politics was pointless. But in 2004 he went for Bush (in 2000 he did not vote.) I couldn’t talk with him for a while after that.

    I see the point you’re making, Ak, and that is indeed the case for a lot of older conservatives, but it is not the case with Mr. Mahan- that’s one reason I get infuriated- because I can’t get my own mind around why, why an intellectual would go that route. There has to be another reason besides those you so eloquently enumerated. And that is why I am requesting an interview.

    Good stuff indeed.

  8. Byron King
    February 15, 2009

    Yeah, I’m personally tired of the confusion of the definition of words. I thought that’s what dictionaries are for. Thanks for putting the definition down Akbar.

    I remember when I was in college watching the Clinton scandal and how they pulled out of thin air the argument, “It depends on what the definition off what Is, Is”. I couldn’t believe it and till this day it bothers me that we could have such discussions especially in a court of law of the definitions of words. Words are defined thoroughly and have a very long history in our language.

    It’s interesting reading this definition because in the first definition it seems to me to support this law.

    Conservative (def.):
    1. Favoring traditional views and values; tending to oppose change.

    Contemporary art relates to change in so many ways, it seems if you opposed change you would not be able to create it.

    Also, last night I was watching a great special on the battle in the school districts about teaching Evolution vs. Intelligent Design. Very interesting.

    To me gravity is a fact as is evolution. But that is actually not the case. They are theories. Not being a scientist myself it was great to hear it clearly defined. Theories are much more in the scientific community than they are in common language. In common langauge, it seems theories are defined as something that can be easily unproved. It seems in the scientific community that is the exact opposite. One of the major arguments against evolution in the intelligent design community is that evolution is just a theory.

    The way it was explained is yes, it is just a theory, but so is gravity. Theories can be supported by other theories. For instance the human gnome project supports evolution. DNA supports evolution. And there are medicines that are used on a daily basis that save lives that would not exist without these theories. Intelligent design does not have theories that support it.

    So me the laymen I see evolution as fact just as I see gravity as fact. But it’s “only” a theory. The reason I bring this up is that many conservative schools, especially Evangelical ones, and our last presidential administration supported Intelligent Design without seeing how it didn’t parallel globally accepted scientific theories that have made major advancements in medicine.

    Contemporary art seems to parallel this type of thinking. A contemporary artists are usually open to being proved wrong or having a discussion that disagrees with their viewpoint. They are open to humble discussion. But conservative scientists and artists, often times as was the case with this special do not have the science or humility (artist) to support their arguments, and are not capable of discussing that possibly there are other possibilities, because if they did so it would negate the Bible’s story of creationism. And would be fundamental proof that the Bible is a collection of stories not facts.

    Here’s more info on the special. Please watch it if you’d like to learn more about this topic:

    The problem I see with all of this, is that evolution does not negate religion and spirituality. To me it supports it. And actually the theory of evolution itself is so amazingly complex that it seems to make for a good argument that science can not explain it all. It throws up all types of question marks just by the shear complexity of it all.

  9. zee camp
    February 15, 2009

    That Kudlow essay is comedy gold. I’d promote my wife’s work too and have a love for rules and regulations if this was my history-

  10. valuistics
    February 15, 2009

    That PBS special is indeed a good one- Intelligent Design on Trial is another great PBS special put together by the good folks at NOVA.

    I know there is a cut-and-dry definition of the term conservative, but there is a problem when we start weighing that against the views of individual humans, who are more nuanced than dictionary definitions.

    It’s been my experience that no one perfectly embodies these terms we are pulling out of dictionaries. I’ve said it before that while I identify myself as liberal, I probably don’t hold up 100% to the dictionary definition, based on the fact that I bring individual experiences to the table, and those are things that are mine alone.

    In similar fashion, Mr. Mahan doesn’t hold up perfectly to the dictionary definition of conservative because he is a few shades away from someone who outright abhors change. This doesn’t mean that his and my views are baseless, just that there is such thing as nuance, subtlety and distinction. We are individuals, after all, and both conservatives and liberals are caught up in matters related directly to the interpretation of the individual in society.

    My point is that no one is 100% in one camp or the other. Try as you may to define, wall-off and compartmentalize, people, by their nature, will always challenge such artificial barriers. If you say you are 100% one way or the other, I smell phoniness or a lack of introspection. My relavtivism is no doubt a product of my more liberal orientation, which embraces plurality. Which in turn allows for more distinction than a purely conservative perspective, but cannot, by definition, exclude a differing perspective.

    It is in the spirit of plurality that I allow conservative views to hold with our contemporary idea of art. I think that the term Art is big enough to accommodate all comers, even though I disagree with some.

    It does me no good to shut others down if they disagree with me.

  11. valuistics
    February 15, 2009


    That item about Kudlow is pretty telling. It underscores my point exactly. He fiercely believes in “time-honored rules” yet drowns himself in coke and booze. My point exactly. I believe in the promotion of peace, yet I totally love blasting suckers in Grad Theft Auto.

    There is too much nuance in human nature to lay down such ironed-out, over-simplified definitions of what is right and good.

    I hate to eat meat and make a point not to, but man, on the 4th of July I love me a Johnsonville beer brat.

    Go ahead and accuse me of not living hard-core. I’m only human.

    My wife and I make it a point to only use cloth diapers, but we find ourselves at times using disposable ones out of necessity. Are we environnmental assholes by definition? Well, no, because 90% of the time we’re doing our part.

    We are humans just as Mr. Kudlow is a human who likes coke.

  12. Akbar Lightning
    February 15, 2009

    To acknowledge the relativity is to acknowledge one’s own position, do you catch my meaning?

    tolerance of differing opinions is different from tolerance of objectionable opinions. this is what i think the art community can often be guilty of, so afraid of making a stand that we hold no position as a position.

    personally i see those in my country who hold those crazy right-wing beliefs the same way many muslims see those terrorists Al-Queda in their country. citizens of the whole world all have to live with native terrorists, and I got no problem saying there is something horrible about that kind of ignorance.

    what i’ve learned from philosophy is that all ethical structures derive from a starting principle. and my starting principle is that humans ought not kill one another (yes, I love Grand Theft Auto as well, but i’ve never killed anyone), and so any ethical system that does not have that as an ideal is a faulty one in my opinion.

    it is one thing to be imperfect, as we all are, it is another to have an absence of ideals, that is what I see in many so-called conservatives, it is a label they hide their ignorance behind. And in the case of the so-called intelligent conservative, there I see bitterness, emotional issues unresolved, isolated feelings of estrangement. it is sad. i take no pleasure in ignorance of others or private tortures, i practice compassion, but i do so in the way that Martin Luther King Jr. did, by speaking my truth, and believing in higher ideals that unify us and bring us together, I actually create tension that gives those private tortures an opportunity for healthy confrontation. too many times liberals use the word tolerance in relation to conservatives, when this is really just veiled superiority.

    opinions of a virtual thinker, akbar

  13. Frank
    February 16, 2009

    As it was originally stated, I would say no; art is not a process incompatible to conservative thinking. If conservative thinking is built on foundation of restraint for restraint’s sake, I can see how that would limit experimentation and open mindedness. In that same light, I would say that if liberal thinking was built on a foundation of lawlessness for lawlessness’s sake, that would pose a set of problems for the artist as well. Note: lawlessness is not exactly the word I’m looking for, but it’s the closest to the opposite of restraint I can think of.

    If conservative thinking is based on a well thought out starting principle, as Akbar explained, then the conservative mindset is not a hindrance to the process of art. It’s interesting to me that “one ought not to kill” is both a starting principle for Akbar and myself, but it appears to have taken us in different directions. The result of that ethical structure for me is the commitment that I am never ten feet from my firearm 24 hours a day.

    Byron’s separation of art from Contemporary Art in this post actually clears up some of the things for me said in the past on this blog. I can’t comment on the definition of Contemporary art is a school of thought or an Ism. The area I disagree with is the implication that either there is Contemporary art or Traditional art. That strikes me a unnecessarily black and white. I find both extreme frames of mind to be equally accepting and equally resistant to change/controversy. I find neither intrinsically more reasonable when applied to artists.

    I believe two people, with GOOD intent (very important), can have opposing beliefs. My marriage thought me that. Beyond that, the question becomes what is good and what is evil.

    I have noticed that most artist I meet have a more liberal point of view than myself. I would like to know of artists through history have the same bent.

    My issue with debating things conservative or liberal is the definitions and examples. Way too much of American politics are played out and defined by the press. The press -the business of news is a business, big business in fact. They depend on a loyal audience to keep the business solvent. People have a natural pack mentality. An “us and them” way of looking at things. I think news agencies, and even political parties, take advantage of that to create drama and emotional turmoil. I am sitting here watching Bill Maher talk about how he gave Ann Coulter the jumpstart of her career and how they were/are good friends (on Larry King Show). You put fans of either in a room together and fireworks would ensue, but the two celebrities themselves are fairly cool with each other. News shows/commentators are entertainment. Sometimes comedy, sometimes tragedy.

    I have seen what Mark talks about when he sees some students take on a certain rebellious fashion but have a very conservative view of art. I think that has more to do with aligning themselves with an established, pre-packaged fashion, rather than any real intent to stick it to ‘da man (Hot Topic being the temple for that).
    Conservative or liberal – Does it all come down to what point of view you have for the status quo? Then the problem comes with what is the status quo? In this age of pluralism, the fact that US is basic 50/50 on any given issue, and with the internet giving a once unheard of ability to find like-minded people, status quo doesn’t mean what it once did.

  14. Frank
    February 16, 2009

    Valuistics, was your father-in-law training to be a war artist when in the Marine Corps?

  15. Akbar Lightning
    February 16, 2009

    and frank, what is the good starting principle for conservative thinking? i find some of the conclusions you’ve drawn a little vague, like they could be interpreted in a bunch of ways, and that leaves it difficult to respond to. are you saying by carrying a gun, that that is a logical end to achieve the mean of people not killing one another?

    Again, the laws we are working on here are not meant to describe all art, merely represent a search for artistic principles that are unique to our time, that describe the cutting edge in an art form that is not only interesting but is somehow intuited by the notion.

    much of what Frank is talking about is a kind of complaint about popular culture, the media, etc. this always implies a belief or ideal, but it is not clear what you are really saying, do you think it is inappropriate for Bill Maher and Ann Coulter to be friendly, or ironic, and why? I am not surprised by it. I think Bill Maher is a bit of blithering idiot myself, although he claims to be independent, i will always remember watching his show the night of the, i think 96 election, when he said he voted for Bob Dole because it was his last chance to vote for a WW 2 vet, after that, he went on my ‘don’t need to listen to him’ list.

    point being, each paragraph in your comment states either a premise, a negative, or poses a question, but there are no conclusions drawn. i am beginning to understand some of the frustration with your comments. it is what I would call a conversation killer.

    context is key, and given the nature of this conversation we are looking for black and whites, we are looking for people to state a position, not because we believe we will ever hold the truth in our hands, but because we believe the search for that truth brings people together. the distinction made between contemporary art and traditional art making is not made arbitrarily, it is part of a conscious process, with a ‘good intention.’ and most participants here are understanding of that. i would be happy to have somebody explain to me how a conservative mindset could dovetail with the mysterious process of making art, but I am not yet convinced. feel free to make an argument, but implications and questions are not arguments.


  16. markcreegan
    February 16, 2009

    I think the main roadblock for most people (conservative OR liberal) regarding contemporary art is that much of it contradicts what our experience and general knowledge tells us about art as a human activity that requires skill, talent, has a primary mimetic function, and should be difficult to do. I know there are just as many poltically liberal minded folks who look at my work and say “my kid can do that” as there are conservatives saying the same.

    I suspect also that those liberals who have a positive opinion about contemporary art recognize that it is a marker of their personality acting as a signifier of “going against the status quo”. I know of someone (politically liberal, artistically conservative) who calls this “the cult of open-mindedness” where just being seen as having an open mind is socially important and may satisfy personal desires. If this is true is there also a “cult of closed-mindedness”? It seems that someone who worships everything Hannity and Limbaugh say would also see themselves a going against the status quo and may, consciously or not, consider this worldview vital to their sense of being and social worth.

    And the distinction between contemporary and traditional art isnt rocket science. There are sets of several approaches, techniques, and methods of artmaking that have been developing for the last 25 years or so that are distinct from the art prior to that. That is an objective reality that still leaves a lot of room for grey areas and soft borders and has no bearing on quality.

  17. valuistics
    February 17, 2009


    You hit on something crucial that was previously left out of the talk:

    “the cult of open-mindedness” where just being seen as having an open mind is socially important and may satisfy personal desires.”

    I ask: how does this play out in areas that are home to a larger number of folks who identify themselves as liberals (New Paltz, NY for example) as opposed to our town, The Bold New City of the South? How do our perspectives differ in this 4-dimensional conversation depending on where we are? Or does it factor into this discussion at all?

    I will say that by and large,being seen as having an open mind is not as socially important here.

    This, I believe is worth investigating because our personal experiences and expectations on society differ depending on who we are, and where we are. How we view our place in society is affected by what cultures are dominant in our home area. For example, growing up in the 90% white state of Iowa, I was able to kid myself as a college student that racism wasn’t a real problem anymore. Then I moved to the deep South…

    If I lived in a community that by and large seemed to support my values and world view (as opposed to here- where we liberals are lucky to break even with conservatives) then I’m pretty sure I’d be comfortable with making what appears to me here as a vague declarative statement. Where we live shapes our views.

    When I consider that I have taught in Knoxville, TN and Jacksonville, FL (neither are hotbeds for liberal progressive thought) and my classes have always included a good number of conservatives, evangelicals, and differing opinions from my own, I see why I have a hard time drawing such a simple distinction. I can’t discount the majority of people I encounter down here as crazy, al-Quaeda-like, horrible, or ignorant. If I never met an evangelical Christian conservative, never worked with one, never had them as my neighbors, I’d discount them too.

    It is out of pragmatism that I have developed this strategy of being. It is likely to change when I move to a different region.

    Perhaps I am in the wrong place, yes. But I see the work I do as partly providing these folks with whom I disagree a fair shake, imagine that. Hopefully along the way I can share with them some things that may cause them to consider diverging and being more open.

  18. Akbar Lightning
    February 17, 2009

    I went to high-school in Williston, Fl. Go for a visit sometime. I went hunting (never got anything, that’s probably why i’m a liberal), hated country music until I moved to NYC and then I missed it, i had lots of friends that were from right-wing families, my best friends house had a rebel flag hanging in it, still does, i lived in a trailer. If I have to identify with any group, I say I am a southern man, but I am not conservative. I don’t know where it comes from, perhaps a family tradition, I don’t know. I do know I’ve seen a lot of superstitious, radically nationalistic poor people, who know very little about history, about geo-politics, and although they might be the nicest people you know, they sure wouldn’t say shit if they hauled every one of us Globatron members up and threw us in a cell in Guatanamo. all i’m saying is that when a large group of the populace become that ignorant, it is a dangerous thing, especially for liberal-minded people.

    yes, now i live in new paltz, first time in my life that i have lived in a predominantly white neighborhood, and it is an adjustment. when i don’t know what to do i just ask myself what families on TV would do, like taking some food over to the neighbors. when i was a kid the neighbors were always the ones who robbed you. i absolutely love being surrounded by liberals, that is the thing that is awesome, and i think that’s why this is the first time i understand the word Home. you know that question everybody always asks, they say “What, would you want to live in a world where everybody is like you?” and the implication is supposed to be obvious. well, if i were to be honest, i would say that sounds just fine to me.

    i know valuistics, you were speaking to mark, i just wanted to represent my southern pride for a moment, didn’t want you confusing me for a Yankee. These colors don’t run, ha ha.

    akbar, who loves crepes.

  19. valuistics
    February 17, 2009

    Yeah, I think I remember Byron mentioning all that about your background. I knew you were from Florida and that the South was your home for a long time. Thanks for filling in the other blanks. That helps me see where you are coming from. That is always good.

    I look forward to finding my ‘home’ soon, because I believe Jacksonville is not it. At heart I am a Midwesterner. I have some friends who went to school in New Paltz, so I’m a little acquainted with the vibe up there, as it compared (for them) to Knoxville TN. I’m speaking from my own experience and for me the fact I that I do not live and work surrounded by a lot of like-minded folks has had an effect of my level of “tolerance” whether it is veiled superiority or not.

    But my question still stands about how this factors into this conversation, – or does it at all? I find I have a hard time generalizing the way I used to be able to do when I was surrounded by only liberals, if only because I live in a predominantly conservative place.

    The idea of moving to a place where more folks were more like me sounds like bliss.

    Workin’ on it…

    What do y’all think?

    Valu, who enjoys sipping espresso- pinky out.

  20. Akbar Lightning
    February 18, 2009

    I get it now Valu, my bad, i misinterpreted the question even though you were quite clear.

    and I agree with you, it is a very important question, one that gives us a deep perspective.

    for my answer, i say yes, my current environment does have an influence on how i address such issues. i’ve noticed, living in a very liberal environment, that I am less prone to frustration and that kind of existential despair that comes when one is confronted with such scary views. and yes, i remember living around the kind of people where you can’t speak deeply, because they find it threatening, i don’t miss it.

    if i wasn’t so connected to the world through media, i would probably be more blissed out by my surroundings. there is sometimes a temptation to let go of the passion, and the concern, as I could just say ‘well, i’m in a good place, screw the rest of the world.’ and i honestly sometimes see that as a place i could go, but my upbringing makes a commitment to that perspective almost impossible, let’s hope.

    very good stuff Valu, I would like to hear more people respond to this idea.


  21. Byron King
    February 18, 2009

    I was born in Jacksonville. My father was involved in the Southern Baptist Church as was I my entire upbringing. He was a Youth Minister for years, and always a Deacon. My mom was/is a Deacon too. I sang in the church choir for nearly fifteen years.

    I then went to art school at FSU got my BFA and became about as liberal as one could become. My living in New York for several years and working in the arts reinforced that. Things change though.

    When the World Trade Center was hit, I went militant and wanted to kill the enemy. I think we quickly forget what Bush’s approval rating was back then. I joined the Army three months later, picked the wrong MOS (job) for killing people thank God even though I hated it and tried to change it to infantry they wouldn’t allow me to.

    In retrospect I’m thankful as I don’t have PTSD or any visions of dead bodies I have to deal with.

    For about a year or two I labeled myself a Republican and hated anything liberal. No joke. Then Iraq started and I began to see my country spiral downward globally. The bullish decisions Bush made and his cowboy nature made me question everything right wing and I was quickly back to my leftist weirdo ways. Making art in my room at Camp Roberts. Art that made the inspecting First Sergeant question my mental state. I found it odd that I could beat everyone at P.T. be the squared away soldier (promotable even) but when they saw my “weirdo art” they believed I had major issues. And the funny thing was I did.

    Such is life.

    So I myself after thinking this through realized I personally was a Republican during that time. I would have gone off a cliff to kill the enemy. Was dogmatic in my views but at the same time was writing it all down and making art the entire time.

    So I’m questioning this Law now. I’m not sure about it. I know people can change. That regardless of my political views I was highly involved in the arts mentally and creatively. The writing I was doing was amazingly freeing from a system that was very constricting.

    There is a huge movement in the contemporary arts now in the middle east. I read an article in Art News I think, this months issues. All of that work is being made by largely religious conservatives. They might not be fundamentalists but their creative environment is hugely more conservatively constrictive than America’s is. Yet they make some of the most thought provoking work currently being made, I believe the article was saying. Conservative is a huge label with lots of grays. Moderates even.

    Personally, I believe you can be conservative in your world views but liberally open minded in your creative views and they don’t have to coincide completely.

    Open mindedness might be a better word for this law vs. conservativeness. And Open mindedness is something that differs per person, and per art being looked upon. As Mark mentioned he knows many liberals who don’t like his work.

    I love this law though as it made me question and think about my world view and how it has changed throughout my life regardless of it being correct or wrong. Thank you.


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