There ought to be a category in art called Pointful (is that a word?) Art – work that sends a particular message. OK, maybe particularizing something isn’t high art, but it’s needed, whatever you want to call it.
I’m thinking of Honey Maid graham cracker’s recent video about wholesome families showing gay couples and their children. After a lot of negative reaction, the company came back with a second video with the same message, this one made by visual artists.
Now comes an online initiative called “Artists Support Ukraine” - photographs, graphic art, videos and statements by artists with titles like "The world would be a better place if Putin wasn't always trying to prove his 'manliness'.”
The Art Newspaper reports that a Kiev-based group has pulled in dozens of international artists to create works supporting Ukraine’s protesters against Russia’s annexation of Crimea last month. Volodymyr Kadygrob, one of the founders of the initiative, said that around five well-known artists from Russia had responded so far, which was encouraging because “we haven’t expected anything at all”. He was prompted to start the artistic project after Russia’s movement of troops into Ukraine and the “massive informational campaign” to justify the annexation:
“We wanted, on the one hand, to draw attention to military aggression awkwardly veiled by Russian propaganda and, on the other, to show the attitude of the international art community towards Ukraine.”
And come April 11, exhibition will open at the Vienna Künstlerhaus featuring Ukrainian artists’ protests. Curator Konstantin Akinsha, who is originally from Kiev, along with Alisa Lozhkina, the editor of Art Ukraine magazine, seeks to convey “the spirit of resistance, the energy of revolution”.
You have to wonder what artists in the rest of the world are feeling about this event, Damien Hirst, for example, who is unaccountably acclaimed for rows of colored circles not even painted by him. (His assistants paint them). Such work is called – what else? - “spot paintings.”
Where is Social Realist Jack Levine when you need him? Levine, who died in 2010, famed for his attacks on the lawlessness of power with the image of three overfed authority figures, famously said, "You can't disregard the whole world for some silly paint spots.''
You can’t, good Jack, but they keep doing it anyway. Kudos to “Artists Support Ukraine”.