Problems of Criticism VI: The Politics of Art, Part III

We are revealing new pages of art in anarchy’s new dawns . . . You who are bold and young, make haste to remove the fragments of the disintegrating rudder.

Wash off the touch of the dominating authorities.

––Kasimir Malevich, To the New Limit, 1918

The same fat surplus which burns in Viet Nam feeds us. Let the art armies be disbanded. In the wake of the anarch, all marches are up . . . Art is what we do; culture is what is done to us.

––Carl Andre, statement in “Sensibility of the Sixties,” Art in America, 1967.

IF THE PRAGMATIC METHOD IS, as William James describes it, “the attitude of looking away from first things, principles, ‘categories’, supposed necessities; and of looking towards last things, fruits, consequences, facts,” then a pragmatic criticism might begin by examining the consequences of current artistic activity. To begin with, we might list a number of current art objects,

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