In the second chapter of Rowan Williams’ book Grace and Necessity, Williams’ goes in depth specifically about David Jones, a painter and a poet. The chapter begins with a brief overview of Eric Gill and some of his shared beliefs with Maritain. There were many things in this chapter that are worthy of a blog post and much too meaty to condense. But there is one statement that struck me the most.
Throughout history there has been much controversy and response to the use of propaganda. I personally have found it to be some of my favorite pieces of artwork. The Modern Movement has produced some of the most interesting works of art and designs. Some of my favorites include: J. Howard Miller, Norman Rockwell, and Jim Fitzpatrick.
Recently, it seems that propaganda has been much more relevant. With different social issues that the world is facing, propaganda art seems to be making more of an appearance. Today, propaganda is being used as a way to divide or unite. Various movements have risen, such as Kony 2012 (a movement of Invisible Children to remove the use of child soldiers in Uganda), the presidency of Obama in 2008, and marriage equality in America. There is also propaganda being produced today that depicts hostility, such as North Korea’s views on Americans.
Currently, two of my favorite propaganda artists are: Shepard Fairey, a former street artist, and current British street artist, Banksy. Their work is very clever and thought provoking. Banksy’s work depicts controversial imagery, yet he doesn’t provide information, forcing the viewer to create their interpretation.
All this said, it was Eric Gill’s belief that, “art which is not propaganda is simply aesthetics” (49). Williams continues to explain that art must be done in service of the community. Interestingly, the work of the previously mentioned artists sole purpose is to capture the attention of a specific audience and inflict a response.
“Art which is not propaganda is simply aesthetics.” Eric Gill
It’s interesting and a bit frightening to call the propaganda produced by North Korea art. Nonetheless, an interesting point is brought up. Although we may not agree with the message behind the art or necessarily believe in the movement, it does not keep it from being art.
Megg’s History of Visual Communitcation