Saturday, March 19, 2016

Our Guernica

Spent a little time wondering about whether or not there was an equivalent to our Guernica out there. The story of that amazing painting's creation is something to behold. The story of how it was covered up during the run up to the Iraq war is more than fitting. But that the Bush administration found it necessary to cover it only speaks to the power of the painting and art in general.

Of course, my question now is what is the Guernica of the 21st century? Or even the late 20th century? That any such work isn't highly touted is puzzling, though perhaps not entirely surprising. And I don't even mean that it has to be a painting. It could use some other medium—even a medium specifically from this era.

 A quick look around the web gets us a few heartbreaking pieces. To include an anti-war gallery here. Yet nothing that would compare to Guernica. Or was Guernica only a painting that grew in stature over time? Or is the current world too fragmented for that to ever occur again? Hard to say, but I would like to find something out there.

Update (minutes later): Well, here's a decent answer to my question by the good people at nytimes. Some sites they recommend: One and Two. And a book, on Art and Activism that I hope to be reading soon.

Though it's about museums, the article still speaks to the art environment which exists today. Here are some nice takeaways from the article:

"Yet even in a museum like the Met, whose globe-spanning collections are rich and deep enough to yield many narratives, and opportunities to revise, correct and expand these narratives, very little attempt at exploratory truth-telling can be found."

"But as generators of life lessons, shapers of moral thinking, explainers of history, they no longer matter, because they’re not asking people to look for any of that."

It's very possible that the outcomes of the past few decades has led to the museum being less worried about the truth—or, as others have said before, being trophy cases for the rich—and more interested in simply getting people inside. But that there's at least a push away from this and towards a more activist view of the world makes it more likely that we'll get a Guernica (if I'm not already missing it).

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