While work in galleries was stuck in the same old groove, a fresh visual lexicon was being formed by news images of student protesters. In 2011 our artists need to think bigger.
Deller was also involved, along with Mark Wallinger, another artist with a proven interest in politics, in the campaign against arts cuts. This was clumsier, I felt, although it was not exactly a failure: headline reductions in museum funding were less than feared, free admission seems safe for now. Perhaps tough words from the world of the arts made an impact.
So what? The weight of cuts has fallen instead on students, lecturers and the poor. And the blow to higher education is severely damaging to art colleges. The voices of artists have therefore been weaker than they seemed this year. The arts lobby has sounded like exactly that, a lobby defending its own interests. This was understandable in the summer but the moment the true Tory radicalism of George Osborne’s policy became clear, we entered a new landscape. This is not about the arts. It is about the very nature of British society.
In 2011 artists need to talk less about arts funding, or even (exclusively) art education, and more about the bigger picture. As it is, artists were left behind by the rapid unfolding of politics on the streets this autumn. While art was happening in galleries according to routines mapped out in the 1990s, a new visual lexicon was spontaneously appearing in news images of riot and revolt. I found these pictures truly significant: the new punk, the new British avant garde. Looked like modern art to me.
Sourced from The Guardian