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 Gilbert & George, Margaret Thatcher, Iron Lady
Thank Thatcher For Art Boom, Say Gilbert & George - ArtLyst Article image

Thank Thatcher For Art Boom, Say Gilbert & George

30-03-2012
 
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Gilbert & George court controversy in statement that Thatcherism is responsible for present-day art boom

Speaking to the New Statesman about the current artistic climate, they declared the artworld ‘fantastic - never were there so many living artists making a living, thanks to the free- market economy.’ They detect an irony in the centre-left leanings of most artists (‘saying you were Conservative was like committing suicide in the art world’): ‘We came out of socialism; the baby artists [i.e. the artists working today] came out of the Thatcher generation. They don't like that, but they did.’ Its ‘Because she deregulated everything, so they could become rich, the artists, for the first time. Before that they had to be art-school teachers mostly’, they explained.

And Thatcherism’s had a wider effect than simply making artists rich, they say; ‘Now London's the centre of the art world and the public take a huge interest, too’. They tell of ‘an experiment [that they undertook] when we were baby artists walking all the way through London and asking people to name a living artist. Nobody could – they knew a living murderer, sportsman, politician, skater, boxer, anything’: ‘Now everyone knows the name of a living artist . . .’

The tying of Thatcherism to the artworld boom is controversial, and G&G know this: ‘Even now in the art world it's like saying you're a Nazi fighter pilot. We don't understand that, because you can discuss left or right or Labour and Conservative with waiters or taxi drivers - but not in the art world.’ But, they argue, they are the ones being more honest, especially given that ‘the [art]world is all based on capitalism anyway. Only the rich can buy art!’

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" Fair point but this has to be one of the dryist shows I've seen anywhere! If anyone feels the urge to make it to the gallery in Mason's Yard have a look at the catalogue first! " - 01-04-2012  
" • Timbo Davies Just the sort of self congratulatory neo fascist clap trap you expect from fat cat artists who have lost contact with the real world that exists apart from careerism and exploitation. Do these people have no conception of social justice? Thatcher is a hard right monster who created misery, pretty much as the current government does, trashing the public infrastructure and attackiing the poor. Thatcherite deregulation of finance virtually wiped out the global economy, but who cares when art sells! Just let the profiteering predators off the leash, and all will be well with the world! I now admire Gilbert and George as artists, but not as human beings. •

Robin Kirsten · Dude, these two guys are the nicest people in that art world you could ever meet. They are absolutely not self-congratulatory, but honest with themselves about what is real, and what exists as pseudo revolutionary "clap trap". Do you have any idea what it actually means to judge someone as "neo fascist"?

Christina Crittenden Call me daft, but I'm a fan of their work, I find it strangely interesting. x March 30 at 5:41pm · •

Mike Hinc You're daft. March 30 at 5:53pm · •

Shay Culligan Such garbage! Its infuriating to hear two aging rich sods praising the right wing sociopath who kicked the middle class overboard a generation ago by easing the tax burden (of responsibility) on the rich. What do we say about people becoming conservative as they grow older? Compared to the pre-Thatcher/Reagan years the majority of people are now working longer hours for less pay, crippled with debt, with fewer social services, communities are ghetto-ized, crime is rampant, opportunities are more and more limited. To hell with this notion of trickle-down-wealth that conservatives in the US and UK try to stuff down our throats. G&G can go to hell! Their work is overrated anyway, narcissistic, and mainly irrelevant where social commentary is concerned; the moral obligation of all artists—especially the successful ones. March 30 at 6:00pm · •

Christina Crittenden Thanks Mike ; ) x March 30 at 6:03pm · •

Mike Hinc You're welcome. March 30 at 6:08pm · •

Robin Kirsten · It may well be that G&G are going to hell, and their profits will probably be staying here, but I really won't be buying the idea that all artists, especially successful ones, have any moral obligation to perform social commentary - this is a deeply conservative view, and completely ignores the possibility of multiple worlds, and multiplicity as a force in general. The singularity of your views Shay, exposes some kind of orthodoxy as the only truth -an idealism even. And that is not the way towards tomorrow. March 30 at 7:02pm · •

Sven Christenson I honestly don't think that art and politics have anything in common, March 30 at 7:14pm · •

Robin Kirsten · 71 mutual friends Besides the opportunity for idealogical infiltration? March 30 at 7:54pm · • Geraldine Bone-Connaughton Gilbert and George seem a bit fascist anyway......despite there seeming anarchism - they push their art in a fascist manner - as if we all should like. I don't like! March 30 at 10:49pm · •

Mike Hinc ‎" I honestly don't think that art and politics have anything in common" is a political statement. Politics is all pervasive and ubiquitous and art wallows in it - it has no option. March 30 at 10:53pm · •

Geraldine Bone-Connaughton Actually I am sure that I am not qualified to 'comment on G& G because I don't really understand their art. Just like I don't understand David Bowie's music. But I do think he is a great actor and made his finest performance in 'The Man Who Fell To Earth' March 30 at 11:12pm · •

• Steven Stewart FUCK THATCHER. LOVE GILBERT and GEORGE March 30 at 11:28pm · •

Robin Kirsten · yeah man. lets fuck. March 30 at 11:30pm · •

Timbo Davies Neo-fascist in my book means a political culture in which there is no proportional or meaningful representative democracy, an elitist plutocracy, a cult of the autocratic leader, torture or the outsourcing of torture, stupid unjust wars, an absence of social conscience, the systematic degradation of the poor and the aggravation of poverty, and a public relations culture of "nice guys" who seem to find all this quite acceptable. Is this your idea of neo-fascism, Robin, or do you have other ideas on the subject, as we live through the current action replay of Thatcherism in (21 Britain. Saturday at 12:12am · •

Rob Van Beek · Friends with Mike Hinc and 22 others Which one do you think will die first? The Geordie or the one with specs? Saturday at 12:32am · •

Robin Kirsten · Timbo, I think what you have just articulated is politics in its industrial form, the scale of which is now apparent throughout all national landscapes. However, it does not describe the thoughts and work of G&G (as we read it) in my view. If however, we are interested in forming a new world out of the carcass of this one, then the first thing I would propose, is to not tar everyone with the same brush, especially those seen to be other, but to form new connections and worlds, out of the spaces that overlap us. This I find more constructive than condemning, with a blunt antithetical axe, anything non-representative of a singular ideology. Saturday at 2:00pm · Like •

St Van Bray · Friends with Isolde Nash and 187 others LETS FUCK INDEED!!! Saturday at 11:04pm · Like · 1 •

Phillip Raymond Goodman · 14 mutual friends ahh gilbert and george, wonderful strange walking and dancing contridictions, art often thrives under right wing governments as it has something to appose Saturday at 11:13pm · Like · 1 •

St Van Bray · Friends with Isolde Nash and 187 others Well there is only one wing, and thats the right one!! Thats why its called RIGHT WING Saturday at 11:15pm · Like •

St Van Bray · Friends with Isolde Nash and 187 others There is no wrong wing, is there? Saturday at 11:16pm · Like •

Phillip Raymond Goodman · or to put it another way, all government is authoriatarian Saturday at 11:17pm · •

Phillip Raymond Goodman · government is not a bird, there is no wing, the wings are an illusion Saturday at 11:18pm · •

St Van Bray · Friends with Isolde Nash and 187 others agreed, and so like you said, whats right and whats wrong? Saturday at 11:19pm · •

Mike Hinc ‎" art often thrives under right wing governments as it has something to appose" I assume you mean oppse PRG? But are you suggesting that Gilbert and George oppose a right wing government? Read the article as its all about their praise for the bitch that bred and bore this government. What's the difference between governments? How smug. The difference is in having a job and not having a job. Having a house and not having a house. Having a voice and not having a voice. That's the difference. Wake up and smell the opium...then go figure which government is "right". Sunday at 11:51am · •

Louise Gains · Friends with Mike Hinc and 8 others I find this sort of art, old fashioned, and not relevant at all..museum stuff, basement level.... Sunday at 1:02pm · •

Kevin Wallace Mike Hinc '" I honestly don't think that art and politics have anything in common" is a political statement. Politics is all pervasive and ubiquitous and art wallows in it - it has no option.' .. well, not if it is to be referred to as "art". otherwise it's just painting or sculpture et al - as in a pretty picture or an exact representation of something that already exists in nature .. would you accept a government grant to make a 'work of art'? Would you sell your work to a 'rich person' - as they say in the article, "the rich buy art" - how do those people make their money? Would that sway your opinion on whether to accept their cash? (not you Mike, anyone) .. George Orwell said, "all life is politics" .. imho for art to be art it must engage with and reveal something about 'the human condition', G&G do this, but that doesn't make it 'liberal' - does art have to be liberal? Was Soviet Realism liberal, or art? Is Western art that is funded through grants free thinking art, or propagandist by nature of its need to satisfy the criteria of conservative politics? As they quite rightly state, 'the baby artists [i.e. the artists working today] came out of the Thatcher generation. They don't like that, but they did.’ - by nature, contemporary artists have been nurtured through a system that capitalises on conservative ideals and quite frankly are part of the paradigm of Thatcher/Reagan ideology that elevates the rich sacrifices humanity .. Sunday at 1:07pm · •

Mike Hinc Kevin you seem to be making my point whilst managing to disagree? Sunday at 1:09pm · •

Robin Kirsten · Kevin, all ideologies create hierarchies which then create classes, and riches reflected accordingly in each class. Political, cultural, military, industrial, sporting etc. classes, all have their elite orders. And this bears no relevance either way to humanity. This is something else. A personal politics if you like, but perhaps you meant society. And Mike, I don't see in the article where G&G "praise" Thatcher. I understand them evaluating their position through a truth procedure, or mathematics/equation, which calculates that the reason for the current hyper-industrilisation of art commodities is due to the free-market policies endemic to Capitalism and its machinery of consumption, reproduction and wealth (profit) creation. Its an understanding of business, which dates back to early man, trade etc. If this is the reality they find themselves in, then that is true. Surely you can be both wealthy and socially minded, or a humanitarian, so I don't buy at all the polarisation, and factioning that seems to be the conclusion of so many of the above contributors thoughts. Those thoughts are the basis for war - in its oppositional us V them strategies. And if "all life is politics" (a statement I agree with) then this communication too is politics, so if we are engaging in politics then I can't see how a negational architecture of reactionary judgements can produce new thoughts and evolutionary actions. Sunday at 1:48pm · •

Kevin Wallace Ahh, the magic of words eh? haha .. I often believe, in moments perhaps less lucid, that G&G are making a post-liberal ironic statement about contemporary society's conservatism with their suits and ties whilst spitting in its eye with their art made of body fluids and giant colourful prints of HM's currency .. they say they grew up as 'socialists' yet recognise the art market is dominated by the rich, the rich pay for art whereas the 'ordinary folk' do not .. so they accept their place as 'capitalists' due to the necessity of being funded by the people whose values may not coincide with liberalism or socialism - therefore they are a product of their times, our times, and recognise they too are part of the system .. we can argue or rail against the system, but to compete in the art world - to be 'successful' one must become the enemy, so to speak .. not my way of doing things - but an inevitable consequence of the ideology that makes art accessible to so many .. personally, I detest the hypocrisy, but understand their point .. so many of the 'working artists' today are conservatives in practice, and upbringing, though they spout a lot of rubbish about liberalism and socialism and whatever else - you see, they don't even recognise they are conservative and capitalist because it's all they've known .. Blair wasn't a leftie, he was a rightie and the current guy and all those his age and younger have only ever known this type of policy - G&G are simply illustrating the truth of the times .. maybe {;o) Sunday at 1:54pm · Like •

Mike Hinc ‎.. maybe {;o( Sunday at 2:00pm · •

Kevin Wallace Awww .. don't worry Mike, some of us won't have to deal with this problem - maybe you'll get lucky and have to find your own way to adapt - less cynical but still with idealistic values, albeit from the deck of your yacht .. haha Sunday at 3:58pm · •

Timbo Davies Are we discussing their art, or their political beliefs? Would you take issue with artists who were enthusiastic about Hitler or who had racist or sexist views? Is there is a problem about complacently endorsing artists who are starry eyed about the holocaust? Surely there is nothing constructive about supporting power hungry empire builders who create chaos in the society around them. And what about the sinking of the Belgrano, or Thatcher's friendship with the mass murderer and torturer Pinochet! If G. and G. want to be regarded as loveable old codgers, who also produce exceedingly good art, they should desist from endorsing society wreckers like Thatcher. It is positively offensive to say that Thatcher was a good thing for our careers and for the art market, so she was a good thing period, despite the blood on her hands! Robin, are you aware of the consequences of her callous privileging of market vested interests in the sink estates of South Yorkshire, or in rural West Wales. I lived through it for years and observed appalled. Poor Britain was trashed by the woman! And her legacy continues to wreak havoc to this day,with this current cruel and useless Tory regime! Yesterday at 3:22am · Like · 1 •

Kevin Wallace Do you like Michaelangelo, Botticelli, Raphael, Rubens? Do you admire the Medicis? .. The Renaissance was heavily funded by those in power, many of whom would certainly be wiping that sticky red, human fluid from their hands even today .. yet you can see the results of their patronage in the "Sainsbury's" wing of the National Gallery - another family whose patronage of the arts has enabled many 'ordinary' people to encounter 'fine art' .. what constitutes acceptance of the power of politics - for the wealthy do invest in the arts, though their money is often accumulated at the expense of the less fortunate .. do we rise up in opposition to the system that indulges opportunity for the 'creative' for the sake of the labourer or succumb to the whims of hierarchy to elevate the work of the enlightened spirit ..? Is it all so entangled that we can't separate ourselves from the dirt while seeking the glory ..? If you can make a living without soiling your hands then good on ya - but don't expect a major retrospective in the Tate if you haven't cuddled the corporates .. {;o) Yesterday at 6:56am · •

Mike Hinc We can still call shit shit Kevin and not deify it or Thatcher. Yesterday at 7:27am · •

Eye Tea Who's Thatcher? And who the hell are Gilbert and George? (aside to office) Have these names taken back to the Irrelevant Chamber Yesterday at 7:37am · •

Kevin Wallace That's fair Mike .. I throw the point out just make the connection between the contemporary debate and the fact that this has pretty much always happened .. personally I don't care for Michaelangelo - though his David and the Cistene Chapel etc are glorious works, he is at least partially responsible for the anthropomorhic representation of God that began the decay of belief in something 'other' that had 'spiritual' value, additionally he was a slave to the wealthy who couldn't resist the temptation of a fine block of marble regardless of who was footing the bill - and his case it was immoral popes and financiers .. {;o) Yesterday at 10:33am · •

Robin Kirsten · Everyone has a point. My only beef has ever been the totalitarian view that G & G are neo-fascists, because they understand that their profile, and others, has been aided by the free market. Alongside the obscene view that all artists, especially successful ones, have some kind of moral/ethical/ideological responsibility to social commentary or some such - which in fact they do very well, not only in their work, but by opening up this chat. Yesterday at 12:56pm · •

Timbo Davies The market is not free, it's a free for all. Why is it is totalitarian to criticise perceived neo-fascism? Surely a totalitarian would endorse it, like G. and G. praising their beloved autocratic Thatcher Kraken! Why is it "obscene" to expect artists "successful" or "unsuccessful" to have the an ethical approach to the world we live in. After all we demand an ethical approach to life from everybody else. Thatcherite deregulation of financial services freed up banking conmen to plunge us into the credit crunch. Apparently arts fat cats still have a thriving economy, while all around them are facing capitalist meltdown, losing their jobs,facing draconian benefit cuts or loss of tax credits on ultra low incomes. Thank you God and Mrs Thatcher from sparing Gilbert and George the tribulations of the real world! 20 hours ago · •

Mike Hinc Exactly so. 15 hours ago · •

Kevin Wallace Artists, like anyone (let's not try to make them "role models" any more than some twisted view that footballers have a responsibility in their dunderheaded way to be such living examples of good behaviour), have no moral or ethical obligation to uphold anyone's standard of living - particularly two-faced, power hungry, murderous politico types - however, integrity is a different matter - that I expect or hope for from all people, though often life disappoints .. 14 hours ago · •

Robin Kirsten · 71 mutual friends Timbo, its easy to interpret your statements as holding G & G up to be the totemic representation of all that is wrong with the world as it is. I think your views are totalitarian vis-a-vis and in context to the above, because you have taken a one dimensional view on the journalists rehashed article about G & G's understanding about there position and the art market etc., and used that as enough cinder for a witchhunt. I would have respect for your heavy judgement, if you yourself had bothered to talk to G&G, and gain some real insight into their position, and not fester away at some anodyne remark like a Red Top editor trying to squeeze the last juice out of a whisper. 14 hours ago · •

Robin Kirsten · And I believe it is obscene to expect (some even demanded) that art and artists should address the masses in any significant way about their everyday lives, of which I know nothing about. Who the fuck am I to "enlighten" said masses, like a little scout preacher. No. Let the masses watch X-factor re-runs, whilst I screw the art market for some more cash to pay for white teeth. Thats way more real than "social commentary" - that sniveling little virus that soaks everyday life with the whoring sweat of insight and justice. The masses can get up and come to the gallery and look at my boring silly picture if they dare, but why would they want to look at art, when fucking and sport and motors and booze give them enough pleasure already. Anyway, I suspect they are more enlightened than me about this one life, whilst I write droll emails to people I don't know defending artists I don't really care about. Thats ethics for you! 14 hours ago · •

Kevin Wallace I like social commentary in art - I think addressing the 'social/human condition' is pretty much a prerequisite to being 'art' although it's a loose and wide open if ill-fitting window this idea of 'social' and 'commentary', if it is too 'here and now' based then it misses the universality and timelessness of truly great art, if it is too 'timeless' then it can miss the point of addressing the human and social condition of the age .. however, I also like fucking and, occasionally, sports, but don't care for X-factor .. dear oh dear I'm such a mass of contradictions - I should become a capitalist/socialist artist with a sense of the masses and a regular dinner date with a wealthy benefactor who happens to sideline in arms sales .. Oh, I don't think it's about enlightening the masses at all - it's about connecting with those of similar mindset regardless of the historical time period - maybe in a thousand years someone will look at something I've done and say, Yes, I get it man .. 13 hours ago · •

Robin Kirsten · hey kevin, i like your style. wonna sport with me sometime? we could upload the video and call it "Making social deals in loving arms" : 13 hours ago · •

Timbo Davies Putting personal comments aside, what is your defence for G. and G.'s position on Thatcherism? if the journalistic reports are false, why have Gilbert and George not repudiated Thatcher and the immense damage she has done to communities all over Britain? What justification can there be for anybody, artist or not, associating themselves with a political psychopath who has done so much harm to the poor British communities (and in the long term to our economic future as well)? 8 hours ago · •

Kevin Wallace I didn't realise I'd made any personal comments Timbo, all my comments were in the vein of 'social commentary' .. personally I make no defence for G&G, I think they are quite capable of making their own statements on their beliefs - in the above discussion I attempted to make my own opinions clear without being overly dull with the prose .. but, I lived in America during the Reagan years and attended many a rally and wrote several published academic papers on the effects of the policies of the beast on the poor and disenfranchised, and it was not a particularly promising prognosis, in fact the deregulation of financial sectors and increased militaristic tendencies led us to where we are today with the help of his deputy and sons & co .. so, I've sympathy for yor point of view - in fact I've bookmarked your website and will have a listen later (all that being green and living on roots stuff, very nice, I've been a veggie and turned off the lights in the spare room while keeping one shining above for about 30 years now), but I still think we have to deal with where we are and want to go not sit around in the past 'cause it's gone baby gone ..{;o) 6 hours ago · •

Kevin Wallace Robin, are you making a pass? well, much better than making military arms in anti-social deals I suppose .. so, as long as we could still be friends hmm .. {;o)

Christina Crittenden Call me daft, but I'm a fan of their work, I find it strangely interesting. x March 30 at 5:41pm · •

Mike Hinc You're daft. March 30 at 5:53pm · •

Shay Culligan Such garbage! Its infuriating to hear two aging rich sods praising the right wing sociopath who kicked the middle class overboard a generation ago by easing the tax burden (of responsibility) on the rich. What do we say about people becoming conservative as they grow older? Compared to the pre-Thatcher/Reagan years the majority of people are now working longer hours for less pay, crippled with debt, with fewer social services, communities are ghetto-ized, crime is rampant, opportunities are more and more limited. To hell with this notion of trickle-down-wealth that conservatives in the US and UK try to stuff down our throats. G&G can go to hell! Their work is overrated anyway, narcissistic, and mainly irrelevant where social commentary is concerned; the moral obligation of all artists—especially the successful ones. March 30 at 6:00pm · •

Christina Crittenden Thanks Mike ; ) x March 30 at 6:03pm · •

Mike Hinc You're welcome. March 30 at 6:08pm · •

Robin Kirsten · It may well be that G&G are going to hell, and their profits will probably be staying here, but I really won't be buying the idea that all artists, especially successful ones, have any moral obligation to perform social commentary - this is a deeply conservative view, and completely ignores the possibility of multiple worlds, and multiplicity as a force in general. The singularity of your views Shay, exposes some kind of orthodoxy as the only truth -an idealism even. And that is not the way towards tomorrow. March 30 at 7:02pm · •

Sven Christenson I honestly don't think that art and politics have anything in common, March 30 at 7:14pm · •

Robin Kirsten · Besides the opportunity for idealogical infiltration? March 30 at 7:54pm · Like •

Geraldine Bone-Connaughton Gilbert and George seem a bit fascist anyway......despite there seeming anarchism - they push their art in a fascist manner - as if we all should like. I don't like! March 30 at 10:49pm · •

Mike Hinc ‎" I honestly don't think that art and politics have anything in common" is a political statement. Politics is all pervasive and ubiquitous and art wallows in it - it has no option. March 30 at 10:53pm · •

Geraldine Bone-Connaughton Actually I am sure that I am not qualified to 'comment on G& G because I don't really understand their art. Just like I don't understand David Bowie's music. But I do think he is a great actor and made his finest performance in 'The Man Who Fell To Earth' March 30 at 11:12pm · •

• Steven Stewart FUCK THATCHER. LOVE GILBERT and GEORGE March 30 at 11:28pm · •

Robin Kirsten · yeah man. lets fuck. March 30 at 11:30pm · •

Timbo Davies Neo-fascist in my book means a political culture in which there is no proportional or meaningful representative democracy, an elitist plutocracy, a cult of the autocratic leader, torture or the outsourcing of torture, stupid unjust wars, an absence of social conscience, the systematic degradation of the poor and the aggravation of poverty, and a public relations culture of "nice guys" who seem to find all this quite acceptable. Is this your idea of neo-fascism, Robin, or do you have other ideas on the subject, as we live through the current action replay of Thatcherism in (21 Britain. Saturday at 12:12am · •

Rob Van Beek · Friends with Mike Hinc and 22 others Which one do you think will die first? The Geordie or the one with specs? Saturday at 12:32am · •

Robin Kirsten · Timbo, I think what you have just articulated is politics in its industrial form, the scale of which is now apparent throughout all national landscapes. However, it does not describe the thoughts and work of G&G (as we read it) in my view. If however, we are interested in forming a new world out of the carcass of this one, then the first thing I would propose, is to not tar everyone with the same brush, especially those seen to be other, but to form new connections and worlds, out of the spaces that overlap us. This I find more constructive than condemning, with a blunt antithetical axe, anything non-representative of a singular ideology. Saturday at 2:00pm · •

St Van Bray · Friends with Isolde Nash and 187 others LETS FUCK INDEED!!! Saturday at 11:04pm · •

Phillip Raymond Goodman · ahh gilbert and george, wonderful strange walking and dancing contridictions, art often thrives under right wing governments as it has something to appose Saturday at 11:13pm · Like · 1 •

St Van Bray · Friends with Isolde Nash and 187 others Well there is only one wing, and thats the right one!! Thats why its called RIGHT WING Saturday at 11:15pm · Like •

St Van Bray · Friends with Isolde Nash and 187 others There is no wrong wing, is there? Saturday at 11:16pm · Like •

Phillip Raymond Goodman · 14 mutual friends or to put it another way, all government is authoriatarian Saturday at 11:17pm · Like · 1 •

Phillip Raymond Goodman · 14 mutual friends government is not a bird, there is no wing, the wings are an illusion Saturday at 11:18pm · Like · 1 •

St Van Bray · Friends with Isolde Nash and 187 others agreed, and so like you said, whats right and whats wrong? Saturday at 11:19pm · Like •

Mike Hinc ‎" art often thrives under right wing governments as it has something to appose" I assume you mean oppse PRG? But are you suggesting that Gilbert and George oppose a right wing government? Read the article as its all about their praise for the bitch that bred and bore this government. What's the difference between governments? How smug. The difference is in having a job and not having a job. Having a house and not having a house. Having a voice and not having a voice. That's the difference. Wake up and smell the opium...then go figure which government is "right". Sunday at 11:51am · •

Louise Gains · Friends with Mike Hinc and 8 others I find this sort of art, old fashioned, and not relevant at all..museum stuff, basement level.... Sunday at 1:02pm · •

Kevin Wallace Mike Hinc '" I honestly don't think that art and politics have anything in common" is a political statement. Politics is all pervasive and ubiquitous and art wallows in it - it has no option.' .. well, not if it is to be referred to as "art". otherwise it's just painting or sculpture et al - as in a pretty picture or an exact representation of something that already exists in nature .. would you accept a government grant to make a 'work of art'? Would you sell your work to a 'rich person' - as they say in the article, "the rich buy art" - how do those people make their money? Would that sway your opinion on whether to accept their cash? (not you Mike, anyone) .. George Orwell said, "all life is politics" .. imho for art to be art it must engage with and reveal something about 'the human condition', G&G do this, but that doesn't make it 'liberal' - does art have to be liberal? Was Soviet Realism liberal, or art? Is Western art that is funded through grants free thinking art, or propagandist by nature of its need to satisfy the criteria of conservative politics? As they quite rightly state, 'the baby artists [i.e. the artists working today] came out of the Thatcher generation. They don't like that, but they did.’ - by nature, contemporary artists have been nurtured through a system that capitalises on conservative ideals and quite frankly are part of the paradigm of Thatcher/Reagan ideology that elevates the rich sacrifices humanity .. Sunday at 1:07pm · •

Mike Hinc Kevin you seem to be making my point whilst managing to disagree? Sunday at 1:09pm · Like •

Robin Kirsten · Kevin, all ideologies create hierarchies which then create classes, and riches reflected accordingly in each class. Political, cultural, military, industrial, sporting etc. classes, all have their elite orders. And this bears no relevance either way to humanity. This is something else. A personal politics if you like, but perhaps you meant society. And Mike, I don't see in the article where G&G "praise" Thatcher. I understand them evaluating their position through a truth procedure, or mathematics/equation, which calculates that the reason for the current hyper-industrilisation of art commodities is due to the free-market policies endemic to Capitalism and its machinery of consumption, reproduction and wealth (profit) creation. Its an understanding of business, which dates back to early man, trade etc. If this is the reality they find themselves in, then that is true. Surely you can be both wealthy and socially minded, or a humanitarian, so I don't buy at all the polarisation, and factioning that seems to be the conclusion of so many of the above contributors thoughts. Those thoughts are the basis for war - in its oppositional us V them strategies. And if "all life is politics" (a statement I agree with) then this communication too is politics, so if we are engaging in politics then I can't see how a negational architecture of reactionary judgements can produce new thoughts and evolutionary actions. Sunday at 1:48pm · •

Kevin Wallace Ahh, the magic of words eh? haha .. I often believe, in moments perhaps less lucid, that G&G are making a post-liberal ironic statement about contemporary society's conservatism with their suits and ties whilst spitting in its eye with their art made of body fluids and giant colourful prints of HM's currency .. they say they grew up as 'socialists' yet recognise the art market is dominated by the rich, the rich pay for art whereas the 'ordinary folk' do not .. so they accept their place as 'capitalists' due to the necessity of being funded by the people whose values may not coincide with liberalism or socialism - therefore they are a product of their times, our times, and recognise they too are part of the system .. we can argue or rail against the system, but to compete in the art world - to be 'successful' one must become the enemy, so to speak .. not my way of doing things - but an inevitable consequence of the ideology that makes art accessible to so many .. personally, I detest the hypocrisy, but understand their point .. so many of the 'working artists' today are conservatives in practice, and upbringing, though they spout a lot of rubbish about liberalism and socialism and whatever else - you see, they don't even recognise they are conservative and capitalist because it's all they've known .. Blair wasn't a leftie, he was a rightie and the current guy and all those his age and younger have only ever known this type of policy - G&G are simply illustrating the truth of the times .. maybe {;o) Sunday at 1:54pm · •

Mike Hinc ‎.. maybe {;o( Sunday at 2:00pm · •

Kevin Wallace Awww .. don't worry Mike, some of us won't have to deal with this problem - maybe you'll get lucky and have to find your own way to adapt - less cynical but still with idealistic values, albeit from the deck of your yacht .. haha Sunday at 3:58pm · •

Timbo Davies Are we discussing their art, or their political beliefs? Would you take issue with artists who were enthusiastic about Hitler or who had racist or sexist views? Is there is a problem about complacently endorsing artists who are starry eyed about the holocaust? Surely there is nothing constructive about supporting power hungry empire builders who create chaos in the society around them. And what about the sinking of the Belgrano, or Thatcher's friendship with the mass murderer and torturer Pinochet! If G. and G. want to be regarded as loveable old codgers, who also produce exceedingly good art, they should desist from endorsing society wreckers like Thatcher. It is positively offensive to say that Thatcher was a good thing for our careers and for the art market, so she was a good thing period, despite the blood on her hands! Robin, are you aware of the consequences of her callous privileging of market vested interests in the sink estates of South Yorkshire, or in rural West Wales. I lived through it for years and observed appalled. Poor Britain was trashed by the woman! And her legacy continues to wreak havoc to this day,with this current cruel and useless Tory regime! Yesterday at 3:22am · Like · 1 •

Kevin Wallace Do you like Michaelangelo, Botticelli, Raphael, Rubens? Do you admire the Medicis? .. The Renaissance was heavily funded by those in power, many of whom would certainly be wiping that sticky red, human fluid from their hands even today .. yet you can see the results of their patronage in the "Sainsbury's" wing of the National Gallery - another family whose patronage of the arts has enabled many 'ordinary' people to encounter 'fine art' .. what constitutes acceptance of the power of politics - for the wealthy do invest in the arts, though their money is often accumulated at the expense of the less fortunate .. do we rise up in opposition to the system that indulges opportunity for the 'creative' for the sake of the labourer or succumb to the whims of hierarchy to elevate the work of the enlightened spirit ..? Is it all so entangled that we can't separate ourselves from the dirt while seeking the glory ..? If you can make a living without soiling your hands then good on ya - but don't expect a major retrospective in the Tate if you haven't cuddled the corporates .. {;o) Yesterday at 6:56am · •

Mike Hinc We can still call shit shit Kevin and not deify it or Thatcher. Yesterday at 7:27am · • Eye Tea Who's Thatcher? And who the hell are Gilbert and George? (aside to office) Have these names taken back to the Irrelevant Chamber Yesterday at 7:37am · •

Kevin Wallace That's fair Mike .. I throw the point out just make the connection between the contemporary debate and the fact that this has pretty much always happened .. personally I don't care for Michaelangelo - though his David and the Cistene Chapel etc are glorious works, he is at least partially responsible for the anthropomorhic representation of God that began the decay of belief in something 'other' that had 'spiritual' value, additionally he was a slave to the wealthy who couldn't resist the temptation of a fine block of marble regardless of who was footing the bill - and his case it was immoral popes and financiers .. {;o) Yesterday at 10:33am · •

Robin Kirsten · Everyone has a point. My only beef has ever been the totalitarian view that G & G are neo-fascists, because they understand that their profile, and others, has been aided by the free market. Alongside the obscene view that all artists, especially successful ones, have some kind of moral/ethical/ideological responsibility to social commentary or some such - which in fact they do very well, not only in their work, but by opening up this chat. Yesterday at 12:56pm · •

Timbo Davies The market is not free, it's a free for all. Why is it is totalitarian to criticise perceived neo-fascism? Surely a totalitarian would endorse it, like G. and G. praising their beloved autocratic Thatcher Kraken! Why is it "obscene" to expect artists "successful" or "unsuccessful" to have the an ethical approach to the world we live in. After all we demand an ethical approach to life from everybody else. Thatcherite deregulation of financial services freed up banking conmen to plunge us into the credit crunch. Apparently arts fat cats still have a thriving economy, while all around them are facing capitalist meltdown, losing their jobs,facing draconian benefit cuts or loss of tax credits on ultra low incomes. Thank you God and Mrs Thatcher from sparing Gilbert and George the tribulations of the real world! 20 hours ago · •

Mike Hinc Exactly so. 15 hours ago · •

Kevin Wallace Artists, like anyone (let's not try to make them "role models" any more than some twisted view that footballers have a responsibility in their dunderheaded way to be such living examples of good behaviour), have no moral or ethical obligation to uphold anyone's standard of living - particularly two-faced, power hungry, murderous politico types - however, integrity is a different matter - that I expect or hope for from all people, though often life disappoints .. 14 hours ago · •

Robin Kirsten · Timbo, its easy to interpret your statements as holding G & G up to be the totemic representation of all that is wrong with the world as it is. I think your views are totalitarian vis-a-vis and in context to the above, because you have taken a one dimensional view on the journalists rehashed article about G & G's understanding about there position and the art market etc., and used that as enough cinder for a witchhunt. I would have respect for your heavy judgement, if you yourself had bothered to talk to G&G, and gain some real insight into their position, and not fester away at some anodyne remark like a Red Top editor trying to squeeze the last juice out of a whisper. 14 hours ago · •

Robin Kirsten · And I believe it is obscene to expect (some even demanded) that art and artists should address the masses in any significant way about their everyday lives, of which I know nothing about. Who the fuck am I to "enlighten" said masses, like a little scout preacher. No. Let the masses watch X-factor re-runs, whilst I screw the art market for some more cash to pay for white teeth. Thats way more real than "social commentary" - that sniveling little virus that soaks everyday life with the whoring sweat of insight and justice. The masses can get up and come to the gallery and look at my boring silly picture if they dare, but why would they want to look at art, when fucking and sport and motors and booze give them enough pleasure already. Anyway, I suspect they are more enlightened than me about this one life, whilst I write droll emails to people I don't know defending artists I don't really care about. Thats ethics for you! 14 hours ago · •

Kevin Wallace I like social commentary in art - I think addressing the 'social/human condition' is pretty much a prerequisite to being 'art' although it's a loose and wide open if ill-fitting window this idea of 'social' and 'commentary', if it is too 'here and now' based then it misses the universality and timelessness of truly great art, if it is too 'timeless' then it can miss the point of addressing the human and social condition of the age .. however, I also like fucking and, occasionally, sports, but don't care for X-factor .. dear oh dear I'm such a mass of contradictions - I should become a capitalist/socialist artist with a sense of the masses and a regular dinner date with a wealthy benefactor who happens to sideline in arms sales .. Oh, I don't think it's about enlightening the masses at all - it's about connecting with those of similar mindset regardless of the historical time period - maybe in a thousand years someone will look at something I've done and say, Yes, I get it man .. 13 hours ago · •

Robin Kirsten · hey kevin, i like your style. wonna sport with me sometime? we could upload the video and call it "Making social deals in loving arms" : ))))) 13 hours ago · •

Timbo Davies Putting personal comments aside, what is your defence for G. and G.'s position on Thatcherism? if the journalistic reports are false, why have Gilbert and George not repudiated Thatcher and the immense damage she has done to communities all over Britain? What justification can there be for anybody, artist or not, associating themselves with a political psychopath who has done so much harm to the poor British communities (and in the long term to our economic future as well)? 8 hours ago · •

Kevin Wallace I didn't realise I'd made any personal comments Timbo, all my comments were in the vein of 'social commentary' .. personally I make no defence for G&G, I think they are quite capable of making their own statements on their beliefs - in the above discussion I attempted to make my own opinions clear without being overly dull with the prose .. but, I lived in America during the Reagan years and attended many a rally and wrote several published academic papers on the effects of the policies of the beast on the poor and disenfranchised, and it was not a particularly promising prognosis, in fact the deregulation of financial sectors and increased militaristic tendencies led us to where we are today with the help of his deputy and sons & co .. so, I've sympathy for yor point of view - in fact I've bookmarked your website and will have a listen later (all that being green and living on roots stuff, very nice, I've been a veggie and turned off the lights in the spare room while keeping one shining above for about 30 years now), but I still think we have to deal with where we are and want to go not sit around in the past 'cause it's gone baby gone ..{;o) 6 hours ago · •

Kevin Wallace Robin, are you making a pass? well, much better than making military arms in anti-social deals I suppose .. so, as long as we could still be friends hmm .. {;o)

" - 03-04-2012  


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