Politics

I’ve just been reading in the LRB about a young Chadian who, with great resourcefulness, got himself to Pakistan so he could study, and then was rounded up and “sold” to the Americans as an Al-Qaeda member and ended up in Guantanamo. Of course one is so very lucky to live a relatively secure life, and make abstract art. One is also lucky to be on the right side of that regime of stupidity called American power. But art has to acknowledge the global norm—pointless brutality, ignorance and suffering. The organicist method I advocate is supposed to be adequate to the political realities of this world, not avoid them. It has no message, but it is a message to those who are caught up in the system, just “doing their jobs,” like the guards at Guantanamo, even as they can clearly see that the whole thing is pointless and wrong. Let your own garden grow. That is resistance, and a way to add something to the world.

Robert Motherwell, The little Spanish prison 1941-44

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