James Panero

FineArtViews Interview: James Panero — Art Critic and Managing Editor for The New Criterion

Below is an excerpt from an article sent to me recently via a Facebook friend concerned with the state of art, and more importantly, equal representation of ideas within the art community. Mr. Sherwin writes regularly on the subjects of liberal bias in the arts and the outright exclusion of conservative ideas. Over the course of our correspondence, we have found that we share many of the same views based on separate and often difficult personal experiences.

Mr. Sherwin works diligently to expose the unfairness of the liberal dominated art community and its impact on the culture of America. He is not afraid to ask pointed questions in regard to why it is acceptable for the art community and media to shun conservative ideas or mock them outright. It is a struggle I share and I hope you will take some time to read his article and pass it on.

More importantly, Mr. Sherwin and Mr. Panero, the subject of this interview, point out the necessity for conservative patronage in the arts. This is something with which I struggle as an artist and would-be writer. After having spoken to countless people at rallies and town hall meetings, then attempting to promote conservative art at CPAC, I have come away just short of enraged at times. In short I have concluded that conservatives have no one to blame but themselves for the state of our culture. Until we become active as artists and patrons in this country, there is no hope for a change in the quality or the meaning behind the art representing the American ideal.

From the article:

Sherwin: The issue of liberal bias within the mainstream contemporary art world has been a hot topic as of late. Some art critics, such as Ken Johnson, acknowledge that liberal bias exists. In fact, Johnson recently described the art world as a “liberal circus” — and implied that social/political viewpoints expressed in art that go against the grain of social/political liberalism stand little chance of being exhibited or written about. What are your thoughts on this? Is the mainstream art world controlled by a ‘liberal circus’? If so, how did this happen in your opinion?

Panero: Since there is little state patronage of culture in the US, the market determines the art. So if the art world is a “liberal circus,” it’s because liberals are the ones buying art. The question of bias therefore must be addressed by the consumers rather the producers of art. If people want to see more art that resonates with them, they need to find and patronize those artists who speak to them. They need to get involved with their local cultural institutions and advocate for the art they like.

The rise of alternative media means that everyone has the power to discover art of every stripe. My own Gallery Chronicle comes out ten times a year and is available for free online .There are great original works of art for sale for less than $1,000 and sometimes for as little as $100 in New York’s outer borough galleries. The same is true in artistic communities across the country. Simply put, if you want to change art, you need to buy art, and support the apparatus (the non-profit arts spaces, cultural blogs, and journals like The New Criterion) that work to expose serious art to a wider audience.

Read the full article here.

This article is by Brian Sherwin, regular contributing writer for FineArtViews. Brian Sherwin is an art critic, blogger, curator, artist and writer based near Chicago, Illinois. He has been published in Hi Fructose Magazine, Illinois Times, and other publications, and linked to by publications such as The Huffington Post, The Boston Globe, Juxtapoz Magazine, Deutsche Bank ArtMag, ARTLURKER, Myartspace, Blabbermouth, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Conservative Punk, Modern Art Obsession, Citizen LA, Shark Forum, Two Coats of Paint, Vandalog, COMPANY and Art Fag City. Disclaimer: This author’s views are entirely his/her own and may not reflect the views of BoldBrush, Inc.. You should submit an article and share your views as a guest author by clicking here.

Conservative artist boxed out at Pratt

by James Panero

Steve DeQuattro, “Sustainable Liberalism In a Box” (2011)

You don’t have to be an art critic to see something tasteless going on at Pratt Institute. Since 1887, this venerable New York institution has been dedicated to educating “artists and creative professionals to be responsible contributors to society.” Yet teachers and administrators at Pratt have been nothing but irresponsible in their recent dealings with a fifth-year drawing student named Steve DeQuattro.

Mr. DeQuattro is a political artist. He uses his background in graphic design to illustrate the dominant political culture of his world. At Pratt, this means creating work that addresses, as he wrote to me, the “growing bureaucracy, higher tuition, new buildings for administration, new offices, and departments, and left-wing bias, all at the expense of the students.”…

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