Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Nate Harrison, “What would art be without the idea of intervention?”

Our good friend, artist, writer and teacher, Nate Harrison, pens an award-winning essay on the crucial role of intervention in art and the world at large. Here’s a taste,

However, part of a crisis of intervention—increasingly apparent in the postmodern aftermath of 1968—involves advanced capitalism’s inherent ability to absorb the content of critique, and to redeploy it in form only. Capitalism’s talent for self-representation is located in its perverse ability to disentangle expression from operation, and vice versa. We see this in the co-optation of subcultural transgression in the 1970s and 80s (e.g., punk and hip hop) and, more recently, in the jargon of artistic entrepreneurship and creative industries.

Harrison also questions whether Richard Prince’s use of Patrick Cariou’s photographs are truly an intervention, or a complex form of post-Fordist capitalist production. Harrison sides on the side of the latter. He also wonders, correctly, whether Google’s amicus brief (friend of the court statement) in support of fair use in the Cariou v. Prince lawsuit was in fact more self-serving than philanthropic.


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