On Tactics

“The question at the heart of Manchester Art Gallery’s removal of ‘Hylas and the Nymphs’: is curatorial activism a right or an obligation?”

Or a tactic.

Make a provocation > people react > claim the reaction is oppression + proof that further purification is needed.

This is how the zeitgeist advances: Progressives control the space of the gallery and therefore the work / speech on display / circulating within it.

There are relatively few positions available at the top. One way to access them is to virtue signal that you’re more progressive than everyone else.

Note: The ratchet is Asymmetric and can only turn in one direction. Signalling anti-progressive ideas or sympathies in order to differentiate yourself alerts the autoimmune response of the System.

There’s a reason right wing artists work under pseudonyms, while “militant” leftist artists secure funding + political protection: The System wants the ratchet to turn in the direction they are turning it.

In this way artists and curators, far from being critical of the System, are actually integral to it. They are ideological, aesthetic thought police, committed to the destruction of the past for its irredeemable sins.

By judging the past through the lens of today’s progressive morality, progressives weaponise a diagnostic-dialectical mechanism to actualise their power in the future.

Of course, most individuals are not successful in actualising their own personal power. But the advance of the System, via the progressive zeitgeist, does not require them to be.

They are merely willing grist to the progressive mill.

2 thoughts on “On Tactics

  1. Appending the final paragraph of Ellen Mara De Wachter’s article for Frieze, to save those of a more delicate constitution from the need to read the whole thing:

    “The injustices facing society are grave and pressing. Change can be brought about in many ways; some private, others public, some direct and others so subtle that they can be hard to detect. It is vital that public museums and cultural institutions challenge retrograde conventions of exhibition-making and show leadership in addressing social injustices. And there must be time, space and encouragement for institutions to freely develop those responses, rather than either compelling them to action through violence or jumping to conclusions over how they have done so. *In the rush to judgement (as shown with the outcry over the removal of the Waterhouse painting) and accusing curators of bad faith, the very freedoms such criticisms ostensibly seek to protect seem under attack*.”

    [*Stars* added at the end to indicate where it links back to the Tactics outlined above]


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