Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Ah, but what is "love"?

Below was suggested, as a means of artistic renewal, advancing the only truly trangressive possibilities in a culture where transgression is the norm, i.e. those things once transgressed against like piety and love. Not "piety" and "love" mind you, but piety and love.

To give an idea of how this might be received in some cells of Art's ivory tower, behold one of the calls for papers in the 2007 annual conference of the College Art Association:
What's Love Got to Do with It? The Myth and Politics of Love in Art and Art History

This session examines the concept of "love" as mythologized fiction and rhetorical tool in art, as the notion has disguised the reality of power, whether that of men or women over their own or the opposite sex, the church over the faithful, or the state over its citizens. What social and political agendas have been masked by types of love - romantic love, maternal love, filial love, brotherly love, spiritual love, and the like? What is the concept of love meant to distract us from? Whose interests does "love" represent, and how does art support those interests? We invite papers that uncover new readings of works of art - Western or non-Western and from any chronological period - in which cultural norms and/or the overlay of art-historical interpretation have naturalized the social and political uses of this ubiquitous theme.
It's not that I think love has never been so abused, nor that this session would be uninteresting. But what better way to expose the counterfeits than by examining them in the light of the real McCoy?