Posterity Art & the Artist in a post-capitalist world.

Putting the last few posts together.

I started muddling with the question of how, if we give up, or can no longer believe in the possibility of posterity–of how this effects what I do as an artist, given the central role this idea has played through the history of Euro-American traditions?

The problem was, I was thinking in terms of the individual. Such that–where an artist might once have imagined a future where his (not so much, if you were a woman) art would find a place, even if rejected in his own lifetime.

Perhaps that qualification (not so much for women), unlocks the puzzle. I mean, the way that idea has played out in the marginalization of women and minorities in the arts–because it has been part of a struggle, not for immediate recognition alone, but for a place in a mythic future. A struggle for and against erasure from collective memory–the arts (again, in Eruo-American traditions), being a repository of that collective memory. Every art museum is evidence of this.

So maybe it’s the struggle for collective memory that is my real interest here–a merging of personal identity into an imagined future collective one.

Isn’t this what we mean by ‘posterity?’

Understood as a field of conflict in the class wars, rather than primarily a struggle for the individual to earn a living, makes all the difference. The struggle to earn a living, then, to find a place for one’s art in the world, becomes something much greater, and the question about posterity–and how we are to think of our art in absence of this idea, isn’t about the absence of our belief in the future, but the necessity of erasing what that has meant up till now, if we are to begin to think clearly about the place of art in a post capitalist world.

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