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Art, Propaganda, and the Projection of State Power

February 2, 2021 at 7:00 pm - 10:00 pm CET

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Fellow Interintellect Linus Lu explores art becoming propaganda aesthetics relating to state power and political legitimacy

“We take it for granted that art is a vehicle of self-expression for the artist, and about revealing deep truths about human nature and society.

And we also take it for granted that propaganda can’t really be considered art. Or it’s at best, bad art.

Yet go to any museum and look at the artifacts and works from especially before 1800: portraits of royalty; tapestries of battles; commemorative paintings of great historical events promoting nationalism. Massive cathedrals and mosques inspiring reverence for religious authorities. Sculptures of Roman emperors.

And even when those works are not directly promoting a ruler’s agenda or aggrandizing the state, art and monuments are often utilized as declarations of power, prestige, and wealth. They are the markers of dominance, legitimacy, and force. They are indicators of cultural and national supremacy.

So in our current age that wants art to be individual, pure, and for its own sake—if not for some other higher ideal—how do we see the relationship between art and state? And between art and the institutions that enable it?

Given the history of art and art’s purpose, how should we draw the line between art and propaganda?

Can we—and should we—appreciate the role that propaganda plays, and its appropriate place in society?

Is the idea of pure art an anomaly? Should we accept a tighter relationship between art and politics, a natural intertwining between aesthetic production and state power?” – Salon Host Linus Lu


Good to read pre-salon:


Time zones:

  • Feb 2, 4 pm in San Francisco
  • Feb 2, 7 pm in New York
  • Feb 3, 9 am Tokyo
  • Feb 3, 11 pm in Sydney

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Linus Lu