Every Work of Art Is An Uncommitted Crime

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Theodore Adorno, a 20th century Marxist Philosopher had least to do with art but had a subtle connotation of the dichotomy of art: which is an individual’s expression of what he thinks or what he feels and the society, which has the norms collectively constructed by humans themselves. Art has always been a spearhead against unjust social constructs.

Eventually, some indifferent art perpetrates a crime against the law. And perhaps, this paradox of art and politics was Adorno talking about in his statement, Every art……..uncommitted crime.

Politics and art have together, at many instances in history, embarked revolutions. But, it is a grim reality that art has always been the easy prey of politics. There are evidence of destruction in history, caused to monuments and cultural motifs across the world in order to defeat and conquer people : Buddhas of Bamyan in Afganistan, the museum of Islamic art, in Cairo, Egypt, Citadel of Aleppo and many others in Palmyra, Syria are among those several heritage and monumental art structures which have been devastated in 21st century itself. This proves that any war amongst the men has its implications on the culture.

Not only in the times of war but also in normal days of peace in societies, the struggle of art continues against the authority at some and fanatics over the other point of time. We have incidents of attack over the artists in the recent past, a cartoonist named Aseem Trivedi was put behind the bars in Mumbai in September 2012 for his caricatures which allegedly dishonored the National symbol and flag.

 In December 2016, an art exhibition in Jaipur was vandalized. The artists and other organizers were assaulted by a local group called ‘Laal Sena’ for allegedly exhibiting nudity.

Not only in India but art has to face difficulty in developed and advanced societies like America as well. An incident occurred in November 2016, when a painting named “Meeting under the Black Moon on the Plains of Despair”, generated rage amidst the students of Salem State University. Consequently, the organizers had to shut the exhibition. Also, the killing of 12 cartoonists of the French magazine ‘Charlie Hebdo’ was one of the most brutal repressions of art by politics.

But why just can’t art be left free to flow and flourish. For one can cut the hands of an artist but not his imaginations or free thinking. A blogger and a columnist ‘Yara Zhoib’ very well perceived that “a person’s identity is defined by its ideas and the main vehicle for these ideas is Art”. She further states that “Art cannot be defined, regulated or homogenized. It is a testimony to the history that precedes it, the environment that molds it and the events that inspire it. ’Arts’, in other words, is a tyrant’s worst enemy.”


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