Art in Fractured Times

In Madrid, at the Reina Sofia Museum of Contemporary Art, a special exhibition chartsparis_1937 this year the artistic travail Picasso had to endure to realize Guernica for the World Exhibition held in Paris, 1937. Surely that was the most famous of the decade (possibly of the century). miro_spainIt displayed in adjacent order Hitler’s German pavillon, Stalin’s Soviet pavillon and (of course) the Spanish – Republican – one. As it is well known, Picasso realized Guernica for it, while Buñuel supervised the cinematic propaganda effort on behalf of the Republican government. Miro helped his way.  A wonderful book of late professor Hobsbawm – aptly called ‘Fractured Times– charts the same terrain. An exhibition held in London 1996, duly surveyed in its wonderful catalog, also explored the deeply problematic link between art and power in Europe during the 30ies. Black-Mirror-pig-350144That was an age -it seems to me – where artists could still drive the political debate with their accomplishments. Is this a hope that went irreparably lost in our time? The first episode aired by British TV series Blackmirror (deftly called “The National Anthem” ) suggests to me that – in somewhat contrived way – this is till possible in our time.
See also this link, where the ideas of Walter Benjamin are (possibly) updated.

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