Posts Tagged ‘Mark McGowan’

QC Jolyon Maughan, ripping lying spiv Gideon Osborne’s claims before parliament to SHREDS! The Artist Taxi Driver, Mark McGowan
Osborne has said that reducing the top rate of income tax from 50p to 45p raised an additional £8bn from the highest earners in its first year. Speaking in the Commons he said the revelation “completely defies” predictions made by Labour that cutting the rate from 50p to 45p would cost £3bn and give top earners an average £10,000 tax cut. HMRC previously estimated that cutting the top rate from 50p to 45p would cost the Exchequer £100m.
Osborne said:
“Under this government the richest pay a higher proportion of income tax than under the last Labour government. Indeed we have just had numbers out this morning from HMRC which for the first time show the income tax data for the year 2013/14, which is when the 50p rate was reduced to 45p.
And what that shows is that actually there was an £8bn increase in revenues from additional rate taxpayers, which completely defies the predictions made by the Labour party at the time and shows that what we have are lower, competitive taxes that are paid by all.” ( Guardian Reporter )
I don’t have the number to which Osborne refers but it is broadly in line with what was forecast in May 2015 which showed a projected increase in income tax paid by additional rate taxpayers of £7.1bn.
Does this increase vindicate, as Osborne suggests, to the tune of £8bn of extra receipts the decision to cut the 50p rate?
Reader, it does NOT!
Tax receipts were artificially low in 2012-13 (because people delayed receiving income until rates fell) and were artificially high in 2013-14 (when those delayed receipts were received). Combine those two numbers and you may well explain your £7bn jump.
Please Read More here, see graphs included: Jolyon Maughan QC

I woke up this morning to a protracted item on BBC a Radio Four’s flagship Today programme that featured that utter CUNTSERVATIVE turned UberKIPper Mark Reckless MP commenting on the vile bias of Immigration Watch, it was totally unbalanced apart from the Polish Ambassador’s minor almost desperate input.

Like Mark McGowan says here, it’s election time coming, you sit down to your breakfast and they feed you hate and racism, that they make it up every single day.

Like the Daily Mail headline SLEEP GIVES YOU CANCER.

When it’s THIS SOCIETY that is fucking CANCEROUS! The majority of people are absorbing this message over their cornflakes, when they drive to work or doing the ironing or having an afternoon snooze, the messages are insidious, the headlines incessant. Even my own father’s attitude and conversation each time is right of Alf Garnett and informed by the Daily Heil or the BBC “we don’t tell you what to think but we tell you HOW to to think”. The Soft Power messages are everywhere.

we don’t have mainstream media, there’s nothing mainstream about it, it’s EXTREME. – John Pilger.

Transkategorial (adj) | instances of fuzzy categories | there are so many mediums to use now. How do I choose how I engage?

I’ve been getting increasingly interested in collaborations with artists and activists – and what really interests me is the growing interest in collaborative practices in relation to contemporary art and politics. I’d like to start investigating fuzzy categories.

Even if I can never change things. Maybe I can offer a resistance?


George Henry Lewes (1817 – 1878), (author of The Life of Goethe) said:

Philosophy and Art both render the invisible visible by imagination.

Martin Heidegger  (1889 – 1976).

The most thought-provoking thing in our thought-provoking time is that we are still not thinking.

Noam Chomsky (1928)

Modern industrial civilization has developed within a certain system of convenient myths. The driving force of modern industrial civilization has been individual material gain, which is accepted as legitimate, even praiseworthy, on the grounds that private vices yield public benefits, in the classic formulation.

Now, it has long been understood, very well, that a society that is based on this principle will destroy itself in time. It can only persist, with whatever suffering and injustice that it entails, as long as it is possible to pretend that the destructive forces that humans create are limited, that the world is an infinite resource, and that the world is an infinite garbage can.

At this stage of history either one of two things is possible.
Either the general population will take control of its own destiny and will concern itself with community interests, guided by values of solidarity, sympathy and concern for others,
or alternatively there will be no destiny for anyone to control.

As long as some specialized class is in a position of authority, it is going to set policy in the special interests that it serves. But the conditions of survival, let alone justice, require rational social planning in the interests of the community as a whole, and by now that means the global community.

The question is whether privileged elite should dominate mass communication and should use this power as they tell us they must — namely to impose necessary illusions, to manipulate and deceive the stupid majority and remove them from the public arena.

The question in brief, is whether democracy and freedom are values to be preserved or threats to be avoided.

In this possibly terminal phase of human existence, democracy and freedom are more than values to be treasured; they may well be essential to survival.

The most effective way to restrict democracy is the transfer of decision-making from the public arena to unaccountable institutions: kings and princes, priestly castes, military juntas, party dictatorships, or modern corporations (the arche?).

John Dewey (1859 – 1952)

In an imperfect society (and no society is perfect)… fine art will be an escape from, or an adventitious decoration of, the main activities of living. But in a better ordered society than that in which we live, an infinitely greater happiness than is now the case would attend all modes of production. We live in a world in which there is an immense amount of organisation, but it is an external organization, not one of the ordering of a growing experience, one that involves, moreover, the whole of the live creature, toward a fulfilling conclusion.

Works of art that are not remote from common life, that are widely enjoyed in a community, are signs of a unified collective life. But they are also marvellous aids in the creation of such a life. 

The reconciling of the material of experience in the act of expression is not an isolated event confined to the artist and to a person here and there who happens to enjoy the work. In the degree in which art exercises its office, it is also a remaking of the experience of the community in the direction of greater order and unity. – Art as Experience, (London: Allen & Unwin, 1934) pp. 80–81.

‘‘Art has been,” according to Dewey (Art as Experience, p. 348), ‘‘the means of keeping alive the sense of purposes that outrun evidence and of meanings that transcend indurated habit.”8 In presenting a subject matter as a focus for thought and emotional attitude, distinctively fused to the imaginative exploration of material, art provides the evidence of things not seen. – (invisible?)

Contemporary philosopher Simon Critchley (in his book Infinitely Demanding) proposes a notion of post anarchist politics as resistance to state power on behalf of an ethical Call.

In a combination of Levinas, Badiou, and Lacan, Critchley deploys the notion of the subject as constituted by its recognition in an unconditional ethical Call engendered by the experience of injustice and wrongs.

– The subject emerges as a reaction to the traumatic encounter of the helpless suffering Other (Neighbor), which is why it is constitutively decentred not autonomous, but split by the ethical call,

“a subject defined by the experience of an internalized demand that it can never meet, a demand that exceeds it, an infinite demand“.

Things which do not exist yet – Simon Critchley

This is the whole point – logic of the event – to focus on those things which do not yet exist in order to bring to nothing the things that are.
The question here is simple: how are we to behave?
This is the infinite demand of art – to be in such a condition so that those things which do not yet exist might be brought about.

And that the things which are brought about are not finite.

The infinite demand is not a finite demand. It is not a demand that can be met. On the contrary.

It is like the work of love in Kierkegaard. In Kierkegaard (Works of Love) is the emphasis on the rigour of the commandment of love, on the nature of belief/faith, ‘be it done for you, as you believed’, refusal of the certainty and security of faith, faith is something that one must win at each moment, and not in some external way, emphasis on inequality (the speck in the other’s eye, the log in mine), then from 351 it gets really good: you have nothing to do with what others do to you, inwardness, this is reality, 352 infinite love, need for solitude, ‘everything you say and do to other human beings God simply repeats; he repeats it with the intensification of infinity.’ Inwardness again. ‘Here in the noise of life he perhaps does not discern God’s or the eternal’s repetition of the uttered word’.7 Need for resonance and repetition, 353, it is not just a question of sitting in sickness unto death and listening for the repetition of the eternal. No, but we need the rigor of inwardness in relation to love…


Adamson Hoebel (1906 – 1993) Regents Professor Emeritus of anthropology at the University of Minnesota, describes culture –

as an integrated system of learned behavior patterns which are characteristic of the members of a society and which are not a result of biological inheritance.[3]
Distinctions are currently made between the physical artifacts created by a society, its so-called material culture, and everything else,[4] the intangibles such as language, customs, etc. that are the main referent of the term “culture”.
Culture is central to the way we view, experience, and engage with all aspects of our lives and the world around us.
Thus, even our definitions of culture are shaped by the historical, political, social, and cultural contexts in which we live.[5]—Consumed cult.










Mark McGowan, ARTIST TAXI DRIVER Curates – CULTURE IS NOT YOUR FRIEND: – The Elites want to control the Avant garde. The largest buyer of art in London is married to an Israeli arms dealer. Art is on it’s ARSE.





Adjective: seeking or intended to subvert an established system or institution.
Synonyms: disruptive, troublemaking, inflammatory, rabble-rousing; seditious, revolutionary, treasonous, mutinous, rebellious, renegade, unpatriotic, dissident, insubordinate, underground, undermining, discrediting, destructive…

 Veronese and the Inquisition Paolo Caliari “Veronese” (Verona, 1528 – 1588) was one of the greatest painters ever, But he was also a hero of artistic freedom. Veronese was the Ai Weiwei of his time, a brave man who stood up to authority – and won. He was hauled up before the Inquisition and accused of disrespect for Christianity. Veronese’s painting The Feast in the House of Levi can be seen today in the Accademia Galleries in Venice. It is full of jokes, gaudy jesters, drinkers and fashionable people – oh, and Christ is there too, somewhere in the carnival crowd.

Who’s the vandal:

Ai Weiwei or the man who smashed his Han urn?

An attack on the Chinese artist’s installation in Miami has been condemned as an act of vandalism. Why is smashing art only acceptable if an acclaimed global artist does it?
A “protest” at a Miami art museum raises some questions about what exactly art is, now. A man called Maximo Caminero has smashed an artwork by Ai Weiwei, one of the most famous artists of this century and a hero to many for his defiance of the Chinese state.
Caminero’s proclaimed motive – that the Perez Museum in Miami should be showing local, not global, art – is pretty daft (I didn’t know they had Ukip in Florida!?), but he has accidentally punched a massive hole in the logic of contemporary art… For the “vase” that was smashed is actually a Han dynasty urn that Ai Weiwei “appropriated” for his own art by painting on it. The Han era in China was contemporary with the Roman Empire in the west. In other words, this is a major antiquity made by a Chinese artisan roughly 2,000 years ago. But that’s not why the urn is valued at $1m or why its destruction is world news. No – it’s because it was part of an installation by Ai Weiwei. It is the Ai Weiwei artwork, not the Han dynasty object, that is being mourned. Perhaps it is not really an antique at all. If it’s a fake,and therefore subversive, that makes the entire installation more likeable. If it’s not a fake, then surely Ai Weiwei, and not Caminero, is the vandal who ruined a whole bunch of antiquities by painting them whimsical pastel colours?

In the exhibition Ai Weiwei: According to What?, at which the vase was smashed, an array of repainted “Han urns” are shown in front of a sequence of black-and-white photographs of the artist smashing one. This artwork is called Dropping a Han Dynasty Urn (1995) and for me it is Ai Weiwei’s most provocative gesture. I feel highly provoked. It shows the artist letting go of an elegant object made with intelligence, imagination and love more than 2,000 years ago and letting it smash to bits on the ground. There is no apparent doubt about the authenticity of the Han artefacts Ai Weiwei uses in his art. He bought a batch of them in the 1990s and started by painting them before creating his photographed performance Dropping a Han Dynasty Urn in 1995. What does his attack on Han art mean? I could see it as a devastating satire on the modern world’s alienation from the past. Ever since the Chinese Revolution began in the early 20th century, political and economic ruptures have cut off China from its ancient culture. Is Ai Weiwei parodying that? Or is he mocking western art-lovers who think all Chinese art is ancient? Ai Weiwei certainly does capture the industrial world’s disconnection from making, our loss of crafts and even of basic respect for them. But he also embodies these cynical attitudes as he smashes that lovely old vase. He seems to invite further violence to art – even his own. This is not the first time an Ai Weiwei appropriation of a Han urn has been smashed. In 2012, art collector Uli Sigg was filmed smashing an urn in emulation of Ai Weiwei – except the one he smashed was one of Ai Weiwei’s most famous works, Coca Cola Urn. Since Uli Sigg owned it, he was free to do so. So – smashing art is interesting if an acclaimed global artist does it, and even if an art collector does it. But the guy who walks into a museum and smashes it is a vandal?

Ai Weiwei

S.A.C.R.E.D, 2013

Ai Weiwei, S.A.C.R.E.D., 2013, Installation at Chiesa di Sant’Antonin, Venice as part of Disposition organised by Zuecca Projects and the Lisson Gallery.

Walking into a church in Venice and finding six large black crate-like boxes would be a fairly odd regardless but add couple of dozen other art lovers into the equation, wandering around the space and climbing on little black boxes to peer intently into the crates is a distinctly strange and somewhat unsettling experience. Like most churches in Venice, Chiesa di Sant’Antonin, a fourth century building extensively reworked in the Baroque style in the mid seventeenth century, has a rather ornate interior. The austere black boxes that dominate the floor of the space are an incongruous sight; once one gets beyond the immediate visual confusion, the context raises some interesting questions. S.A.C.R.E.D. is one half of Ai Weiwei’s exhibition Disposition, this installation tells a personal story. It was his investigations into the Sichuan earthquake – the subject matter of Straight – that set Ai Weiwei at odds with the Chinese government; S.A.C.R.E.D. tells the story of what happened to the artist when he was arrested without warning in 2011 and held for 81 days under suspicion of ‘economic crimes’.  On his release, Ai indicated that he was not permitted to talk to the media – including Twitter – so telling the story of his detention seems a risky strategy. To anyone who has read Barnaby Martin’s book Hanging Man: The Arrest of Ai Weiwei or seen Howard Brenton’s play The Arrest of Ai Weiwei, staged at the Hampstead Theatre in London 2013, this is a familiar story, indeed the staging of Brenton’s play bore a close relationship with Ai’s own installation, nonetheless there is something shocking about the experience of peering in to the fibreglass dioramas that inhabit the iron boxes and watching the guards watching the artist.  Ai is watched at all times by two guards. They watch him sleep, shower and shit; they watch him eat, they pace the cell alongside him as he exercises. The only time the guards are absent is when Ai is being questioned; then he is with his interrogator and a notetaker. The relentlessness of the scenes played out in these replicas of his cell is both powerful and draining but there’s an air of absurdity about the dioramas and the use of fibreglass that lightens the mood; it is never less than clear that we are looking at models – and here the larger than life artist is smaller than life-size.  There are a of layers to peel back. Firstly there’s the voyeuristic fascination with watching and with examining every awful detail of the cell and its unpleasantly grubby toilet. The solidity of the cast iron boxes is all the more awe-inspiring in contrast with the flimsy appearance of the patched up interior space; in a way there are parallels here with the idea of human vulnerability in the face of the powerful machines of state. If Straight is Ai making a stand, using his position as a major international artist to speak out on behalf of others in his country whose voices will never travel, then S.A.C.R.E.D. is him facing the consequences of his actions. Given his profile, Ai’s detention was never going to see him disappear without trace – his arrest was inevitably major news around the world – but the threat was very, very real and his experience of those 81 days can have been nothing less than terrifying. In that respect, S.A.C.R.E.D. is perhaps Ai’s nightmares made solid. – Ann Jones, Permalink

ai-weiwei-s-a-c-r-e-d-2013-installation ai-weiwei-sacred-2013-exercise ai-weiwei-sacred-2013-questioning   Ai’s latest exhibition runs until April 2015 and he has taken his work to ALCATRAZ prison, I wrote about it here.

Dictators in fridges:

Eugenio Merino

Spanish artist Eugenio Merino (b: 1975, Madrid) has stuffed mannequins of totalitarian leaders into chiller cabinets. It’s just what we need in this age of burgeoning nationalism. Eugenio Merino – creator of Always Franco, and others – is being taken to court, accused of damaging the honour of the late Spanish dictator. ALWAYS SHAMELESS:

Always Bush, 2014. Eugenio Merino.

It seems incredible that General Franco is still oppressing artists in Spain from beyond the grave. The dictator who rose to power by defeating Spain’s Republic in the 1930s civil war and ruled until his death in 1975 might seem to be a forgotten nightmare in today’s democratic Spain – but an artist has succeeded in provoking a foundation that preserves his memory into taking some distinctly intolerant legal steps. Eugenio Merino is being taken to court – for the second time – for works he has made using the image of the authoritarian ruler. His work Punching Franco is a lifelike head of Franco designed to be used as a punchbag; the Franco Foundation says it is “demeaning”. He has also been sued for his work Always Franco, a lifelike figure of Franco inside a fridge. He has now extended this out to create a whole series of dictators in Coca-Cola branded fridges.

Jake and Dinos Chapman:

Insult to Injury | Goya prints

Over the years, and weaned on a diet of the former YBA’s pickled animals and unmade beds, the British public has become remarkably difficult to shock. Could that be why Jake and Dinos Chapman, bought a collection of Goya’s most celebrated prints – and set about systematically defacing them? In a work entitled Insult to Injury (2003), the brothers Jake and Dinos Chapman managed to raise the hackles of art historians by violating something much more sacred to the art world than even the human body – another work of art. chapmans-great-deeds-against-the-dead-from-insult-to-injury-2003 The Chapman brothers’ first translation of Goya’s prints was the work The Disasters of War, an installation of small-scale sculptures of each of the etchings. Though here there is the relentlessness of multiple gruesome scenes, the work lacks the overwhelming impact of Great Deeds Against the Dead, an impact that comes from the human scale of the figures. The Chapman brothers of course, couldn’t stop there. Reworking Goya’s images of destruction wasn’t enough so they set about intervening with the actual images. Having bought a copy of the Goya portfolio and worked on top of the images, giving the figures cartoon-like clown and animal heads. There’s no doubt that this is a controversial work. The prints were made after Goya’s death, though they were made directly from his plates and the set was in mint condition so of considerable significance. Prints are, of course, a reproducible medium, so the set wasn’t unique but it was, nonetheless, important. The Chapmans have described their act as ‘rectifying‘ the etchings though others have, inevitably, described it an act of vandalism. The question remains: why have the Chapmans gone to all this trouble? As far as I can tell, there is no rhyme or reason to their interventions – aggressors and victims receive equal, indiscriminate attention.  There is no  pattern in the choice of figures to have been disfigured.

Mark McGowan:

The Artist Taxi Driver

 {Published on Oct 27, 2014} With over forty two thousand subscribers (of which I am one) and well over eleven million views to his Youtube channel and over forty thousand Twitter followers, Mark McGowan (b: 1964, London) is a street artist, performance artist and prominent public protester who goes by the artist name Chunky Mark and more recently The Artist Taxi Driver. By profession, McGowan is a London taxi driver and visiting University speaker and Art tutor. McGowan is known internationally for his performance art including shock art, street art and installation art, and as a stuntman, internet personality, video blogger, social commentator, social critic, satirist, political activist, peace activist, and an anti-establishment, anti-war, anti-capitalist, anti-monarchist and anti-power elite protester. McGowan entered the mainstream news in the early 2000s for his unconventional, satirical, sometimes comedic / ironic, and often absurdist approach to public protest and demonstration. “Chunky Mark” conducted hundreds of performances in the UK and dozens around the world, stirring up some international attention, further debate on “what Art really is”, controversy; and both support and mockery alike from intellectuals, the art world, private corporations, the police, the military, the tabloids and the public.  Most often McGowan has not applied for police permission beforehand. McGowan abandoned the Chunky Mark persona in late 2010 and fully adopted the “Artist Taxi Driver” persona for his YouTube web blog on, where he daily films himself (most often) alone in his taxi between fares, wearing dark sunglasses, and in which he rants passionately and emotionally about the news and issues of the day. Since March 2013, the Artist Taxi Driver through his YouTube and crowd funding he has/or is in the process of making documentary films. The first entitled This Is Not A Recession, It’s A Robbery, then The War Machine (2014) and currently in production Westmonster The Movie. McGowan is critical of the British royal family, is a Republican, and claims he has never voted since “all politicians are the same” and the developed world has become “kleptocratic” rather than democratic. McGowan is a licensed Hackney carriage driver around Inner London and the Square Mile, which he refers to as the “the City of London, the City of Corruption”. In the past McGowan has worked with the Scottish Arts Council, the University of Central England in Birmingham, and spoken on the issues of public art and how it can relate to protest at the Royal Academy of Arts. Although he’s shunned by the professional art world McGowan is renowned for bold protest performances such as Artist Eats Fox (2004) for which he slow-roasted and ate a fox in order to demonstrate his objection to, “the public’s fixation with a government ban on fox hunting and society’s misplaced priorities.” On other occasions he’s devoured a swan and ​a corgi to protest against the behaviour of the Royal Family. (Specifically, an incident in 2007 in which Prince Philip – allegedly – watched one of his mates beat up a fox with a flagpole on his Sandringham Estate.) McGowan is a strict vegetarian and has said these performances were extremely difficult for him personal on a deeply personal level.

“I turned to performance art because I found it a much more accessible medium to deliver what I was trying to express,” he ​told the BBC in 2003. “The way to engage in art is to bring it into the street, which is what I’m doing – not by putting it in the White Cube or the National Gallery.”

His most recent press interviews were with The Guardian here and online with journalist Dawn foster here.

Neue Sachlichkeit kunst

The New Objectivity

(neue Sachlichkeit kunst) The New Objectivity was an art movement in the German Empire of the interwar period. It found it’s expression in different art forms such as painting, visual art and at the same time in the new medium of film. The term The New Objectivity was coined in 1925 by Gustav Friedrich Hartlaub, for a highly acclaimed exhibition downstream of expressionist art in the Kunsthalle Mannheim. The time frame of the New Objectivity is commonly associated with that of the Weimar Republic equated: 1918 to 1933. {Gustav Hartlaub, ‘‘Introduction to ‘New Objectivity’: German Painting since Expressionism’’ (first published in German 1925), pp. 491–3 from Anton Kaes, Martin Jay, and Edward Dimendberg (eds.), The Weimar Republic Sourcebook. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995. 1994 by The Regents of the University of California.} It began immediately after the First World War with the themes of many artists devoted to socially critical visual themes and ended in 1933 with the takeover of the Nazis and the subsequent Gleichschaltung of the media. The New Objectivity is usually divided into three separate streams: the realism (Verismus), classicism and the Magic Realism. Methodologically, they involve a range, and sometimes a combination, of Marxist, feminist, structuralist, psychoanalytical, and other theoretical procedures.


In Verism the New Objectivity is designed as a political art, dealing  critically with the Weimar Republic and with the socialist and communist solidarity goals. The most important representatives of the New Objectivity were Otto Dix , August Wilhelm Dressler , Birkle ,Christian Schad , George Grosz , Conrad Felix Müller , Bernhard Kretzschmar , Georg Schrimpf , Karl HubbuchWilhelm Schnarrenberger , Rudolf Schlichter , Eberhard Schlotter and Karl Rossing . The Verists developed one of the most well-known topoi of New Objectivity in the form of provocative representations, often to the grotesquely exaggerated, using the old masters techniques. The Verists – one wants to speak of the ‘‘left-wing’’ – tear the objective from the world of contemporary facts and projects current experience in its tempo with a fevered temperature. {Note: a form of Verism was adopted in the opposite political direction, with the development of some artists toward National Socialism. Examples included; Sergius Pauser in Austria and Ernst Nepo.} Of all the artists of this movement, the polemic graphic art of George Grosz (Ger. 1893-1959) is best suited to the theme of subversive. From the age of 23 (1916), Grosz became involved in the political upheavals in his country and in December 1918, he became a member of the Communist Party. George Grosz and Otto Dix (Ger. 1891 – 1969), illuminated a chamber of horrors in which the whole of Germany found itself after the 1914-18 War and the inscriptions of shabby stupidity and demagogic vulgarity that underpinned on the Republic. By 1933 the power of the Nazi regime increased and George Grosz’ name was most frequently mentioned as an enemy of German Culture. From 1933 on, however, Grosz had abandoned the political motifs that had previously characterized his drawings. He escaped Germany for the United States, where he eventually settled.

“Berlin, February 5, 1919. Called on the painter George Grosz this morning… He said he would like to become the ‘German Hogarth’ – to be deliberately concrete and moralistic in his work. He wants to preach to the world, improve it, reform it…” – the diary of Count Harry Kesler.

George Grosz pillars of society - Stützen der Gesellschaft

Pillars of society – Stützen der Gesellschaft

George Grosz while painting; Pillars of society - Stützen der Gesellschaft

George Grosz while painting; Pillars of society – Stützen der Gesellschaft



List of References

Aisenberg, Beatrice, : Grosz’s Political Position: False Commitment, False Testimony. dissertation, Jerusalem University, 1998. Backett 1976: J. Backett, The Twenties in Berlin, London 1976. Benson 1987: T.Q. Benson, “Mysticism, Materialism and the Machine in Berlin Dada”, Art Journal, 46:1 (1987), 46-55. Catalogue Käthe Kollwitz, Drawings, Litographies, Prints and Sculptures, Museum Israel, 1971. Catalogo Goya y el espîritu de la Ilustracion, Madrid, 1988. Grosz 1972: G. Grosz, The Face of the Ruling Class, Frankfurt 1972. Grosz 1974: G. Grosz, A Little Yes and a Big No: The Autobiography of George Grosz, London 1974. Hess 1974: H. Hess, George Grosz, London 1974. Lejeune 1953: R. Lejeune, Honoré Daumier, Lausane 1953. Lewis 1971: B. I. Lewis, George Grosz, Art and Politics in the Weimar Republic, Madison 1971. McCloskey 1997: B. McCloskey, Grosz and the Communist Party Art and the Radicalism in Crisis 1918 to 1936, New Jersey 1997. Richard 1979: L. Richard, Del expresionism al nazismo – arte y cultura desde Guillermo II hasta la Republica de Weimar, Barcelona 1979 (from D’une apocalypse à ses productions intelectueles aux années vingt, Paris 1976). Schneede 1985:U. M. Schneede, George Grosz – The Artist in his Society, New York 1985. Townson 1995: D. Townson, Dictionary of Modern History 1789-1945, London 1995. Willet 1978: L. Willet, Art and Politics in the Weimar Period -The New Sobriety 1917-1933, New York 1978. George Grosz’s friend and Dada comrade-in-arms was John Heartfield. On March 15, 1920, during a confrontation with the army, 50 workers died and 150 were injured. Several shots entered the Zwinger Gallery, damaging a Rubens (Batsheba). The artist Oscar Kokoshka, professor at the Academy of Dresden, published an article in over forty newspapers asking for gunfire to be kept away from the gallery. Grosz and Heartfield attacked Kokoshka for defending holy possessions and for his reactionary conception of art.

Lewis 1971: 94. In their article, Grosz and Heartfield argued: ‘with pleasure bullets flying into galleries and palaces and into Rubens masterworks, instead of into the houses of the poor in workers’ districts’, McCloskey 1997: 65.

In another article published in November 1920 and entitled Concerning My New Pictures, Grosz urged artists to show political commitment in order to promote ART AS A WEAPON for the defense of the workers. In this text, Grosz expresses the opinion that art is secondary compared to the class struggle, and demands that artists express their own personal stance on this question, and define whether they are on the side of the exploiters or of the masses. {Lewis 1971: 97}


Everybody knows something about Dada and Surrealism. Dada, established in 1916 and over by the early 1920s, was an international artistic phenomenon which sought to overturn traditional bourgeois notions of art. It was defiantly anti-art. More than anything, its participants, figures such as Marcel Duchamp, Francis Picabia, Tristan Tzara, Hans Arp, Kurt Schwitters, and Raoul Hausmann, countered their love of paradox and subversion to the insanities of a world-gone-mad, as World War raged and Europe tore itself apart. Dada is seen as iconoclastic and confrontational, Dada revelled in the chaos and the fragmentation of modern life. Art historians have found it convenient to generalise about Dada ‘paving the way’ for Surrealism, but that was only really the case in one of Dada’s locations, Paris. Both Dada and Surrealist attitudes ranged many topics from irrationalism to sexuality, before focusing closely on politics. More than anything else, Dada and Surrealism were ‘avant-garde’ movements. Broadly speaking, art in the 19th century was synonymous with bourgeois individualism. By the early 20th century, several key art movements – such as Futurism in Italy, Constructivism in Russia or De Stijl in Holland, as well as Dada and Surrealism – were contesting any separation between art and the contingent experience of the modern world. Their reasons for doing so were inflected in different ways by politics – Constructivists, for instance, were responding directly to the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia while Futurism was responding alongside of Fascism in Italy – but they tended to share the belief that modern art needed to forge a new relationship with its audience, producing uncompromising new forms to run parallel to shifts in social experience.   TEXT_dada


Defaced Mona Lisa reproduction, by artist Marcel Duchamp “L.H.O.O.Q (She’s got a hot arse)”

For the cultural theorist Peter Bürger, writing in the 1970s, the mission of the early 20th-century European avant-garde thus consisted in undermining the idea of art’s ‘autonomy’ (‘art for art’s sake’) in favour of a new merging of art into what he calls the ‘praxis of life’. BBC Interview with Marcel Duchamp 1968

I tried to to be away from it (DaDa), to keep apart from the group,  the group expression, the group activity of it, I always wanted to make a personal contribution to it. Why? I don’t know, it’s a form of individualism if nothing else? – Marcel Duchamp, 1968.

Situationist International

William S. Burroughs: cut ups

 Disobedient Objects Tools of protest: Disobedient Objects, the V&A’s subversive new show Some of the most powerful exhibits are the simplest ones – things that engage with the more theatrical side of a demonstration and show how the balance of power on the street can be swung with just a bit of mischievous wit.

The ‘inflatable cobblestone’, designed by the Eclectic Electric Collective to outwit authorities at street protests. Photograph: V&A V&A/PR


Rafael Montañez Ortiz (b. 1934) who was born in the United States and is of Puerto Rican descent, was an innovator in the destruction art movement of the 1960s.  He was a member of several artist-activists groups that opposed the Vietnam War and fought to end racial, ethnic, and gender discrimination in the United States.


In his manifesto, Rafael Montañez Ortiz,  discusses the concept of destruction as a new mode of creating art. He validates employing “destruction art” as an appropriate methodology, given the history of war that plagued the twentieth century. Ortiz compares destruction art to sacrificial rituals, thus claiming that destruction art is cathartic because it forces both artists and audiences to purge their violent impulses, and confront their fears of death.

Destructivism A Manifesto

It was Ortiz who conceived and founded in 1969 El Museo del Barrio in New York City.

Greg Sholette:

Dark Matter

Sholette’s ‘Dark Matter’, provides a useful collectivising term for those artists who produce the art world from below. ‘Dark Matter’ refers to all the human creativity that is excluded from the mainstream art world. The book is an interweaving of political contexts, theory, accounts of radical art activity and considerations of the archive, mainly in a US context and loosely related to Sholette’s involvement in a series of political manoeuvres within the radical underground of New York in the 1980s & 1990s.

Links to Greg Sholette’s strata of dark matter:

Candida Television:

Journal of Aesthetics and Protest: 6+:

Howling Mob Society

Critical Spatial Practice:


Center for Tactical Magic:

Yomango!: and

The Yes Men:

Critical Art Ensemble

Target Autonopop:

Temporary Services: including their wonderful Public Phenomenon Archive see also

 Creative Destruction and Art

I think there is a necessary consequence of the human urge to create great art and that is the urge to imitate it, modify it, distort it, and generally degrade it, if not completely destroy it. Douglas Gordon’s 2007 exhibition “Self Portrait of You & Me” series of portraits of celebrities with faces deformed as if by an explosive blast which seem to echo Bruce Conner’s “A Movie,” a 1958 montage of car crashes, nukes and nudes.

Douglas Gordon’s 2007 exhibition “Self Portrait of You & Me”, Warhol’s Marilyn.

Ori Gersht’s “Big Bang I” from 2006, a mesmerising slow-motion video of a flower vase shattering. Gersht also recreates famous still life paintings using real object then films and photographs the things exploding. Self-righteousness seems to justify any act of destruction. In 2001 the Afghan Taliban dynamited the Buddhas in Bamiyan, calling them idols of the infidels. In a Byzantine art exhibition now at the National Gallery of Art classical statues were vandalized in the fourth century by Christians who “improved” Greek and Roman art with incised crucifixes. Christians too lopped of the penises of many a Greco-Roman and later Italian Renaissance statues were “improved” with the addition of leaves. Suffragette Mary Richardson, in 1914 took a meat cleaver to Diego Velázquez’s “Rokeby Venus” at the National Gallery in London (to protest the imprisonment Emmeline Pankhurst, “the most beautiful character in modern history,” Richardson thought it right to destroy “the most beautiful woman in mythological history.”) Tony Shafrazi spray painted “KILL LIES ALL” on “Guernica” in 1974, when Pablo Picasso’s mural was still at MoMA (Shafrazi claimed his actions were an anti-Vietnam War protest and an attempt “to bring the art absolutely up to date” and “give it life.”).

STRIKE! magazine, SPG, David Graeber

Where activism meets art

January 2nd, 2015 London Underground.

 Anarchist Metapolitics & Tactical Frivolity – Simon Critchley

It seems to me that the great virtue of contemporary anarchist practice is its spectacular, creative and imaginative disturbance of the state. Contemporary anarchists have created a new language of civil disobedience that combines street-theatre, festival, performance art and what might be described as forms of non-violent warfare . Recalling the argument of the previous chapter, what one sees in groups like Ya Basta! and Rebel Clown Army is carnivalesque humour deployed as a political strategy. David Graeber describes some of these phenomena with great wit:

Ya Basta! for example is famous for its tute bianche or whiteoveralls tactics: men and women dressed in elaborate forms ofpadding, ranging from foam armour to inner tubes to rubber ducky floatation devices, helmets and chemical proof white jumpsuits (their British cousins are well-clad WOMBLES [white overalls building libertarian effective struggles, s.c.] ). As this mock army pushes its way through police barricades, all the while protecting each other against inj ury or arrest, the ridiculous gear seems t o reduce human beings to cartoon characters – misshapen, ungainly, foolish, large, indestructible. The effect is only increased when lines of costumed figures attack police with balloons and water pistols or, like the ‘Pink Bloc’ at Prague and elsewhere, dress as fairies and tickle them with feather dusters. At the American Party Conventions, Billionaires for Bush dressed in high-camp tuxedos and evening gowns and tried to press wads of fake money into the cops’ pockets, thanking them for repressing dissent. These comical tactics hide a serious critical political intent: they exemplify the effective forging of horizontal chains of equivalence or collective will formation across diverse and otherwise conflicting protest groups. Deploying a politics of subversion, contemporary anarchist practice exercises a satirical pressure on the state in order to show that other forms of life are possible.

Picking up on thoughts about humour, it is the exposed, self-ridiculing and selfundermining character of these forms of protest that I find most compelling as opposed to the pious humorlessness of most forms of vanguardist active nihilism and some forms of contemporary protest (I name no names). Groups like the Pink Bloc or Billionaires for Bush ( a culture jamming political street theater organisation) are performing their powerlessness in the face of power in a profoundly powerful way – Tactical Frivolity!

Politically, humour is a powerless power that uses its position of weakness to expose those in power through forms of self-aware ridicule. This is why the strategy of non-violent warfare is so important. Of course, history is habitually written by the people with the guns and sticks and one cannot expect to defeat them with mocking satire and feather dusters. Yet, as the history of ultra-leftist active nihilism eloquently shows, one is lost the moment one picks up the guns and sticks. Anarchic political resistance should not seek to mimic and mirror the Arche violent sovereignty it opposes. It is rather a question of the cultivation of a pacifist activism that deploys techniques of non-violent warfare or what we might even call ‘tactical frivolity‘.

David Graeber offers a useful distinction between Marxism and anarchism:

Marxism is typically a theoretical or analytical discourse about revolutionary strategy, whereas anarchism can be understood as an ethical discourse about revolutionary practice.

It is this emphasis on ethics as a binding factor in political practice that interests me, as opposed to the silence or hostility to ethics that one finds in Marx’s work and in many Marxist (Gramsci is an obvious exception) and post-Marxist thinkers.

 Joseph Beuys

in the same way that Ai Weiwei uses everyday objects (to make political points)

Hamilton Finlay – Propaganda for the wood elves Propaganda for the Wood Elves 1981;

Propaganda for the wood elves

Photograph 8 1/4 × 5 13/16 (210 × 148) Made in collaboration with Harvey Dwight from a photograph set up and taken in Finlay’s garden at Little Sparta. In conversation with the compiler the artist described the image as ‘an enigmatic emblem. Visual paradox is one mode of an emblem’, adding that it referred to traditional German tree-worship and the violence of nature.

Luis Buñuel, 1953

The Brute

Buñuel is famous for the bookending sections of his career: his Surrealist experiments in the late ‘20s to early ‘30s and his sublimely twisted art films of the ‘60s-‘70s. But between he found himself in Mexico making subtly wicked satires within the mainstream. A lesson in sublimated perversity!
Synopsis: A tough young man who helps evict poor people from their houses finds himself falling in love with a girl who lives with her father in a building about to be demolished.

Peter Kennard (1949)

Walter Benjamin 1990

Walter Benjamin, 1990.

Medium – Photograph, black and white, on paper, Dimensions – 172 x 319 mm

Peter Kennard The Kissinger Mind 1979

Medium – Photographs on paper and ink on card; Dimensions – 365 x 310 mm

Peter Kennard born 1949 Title – Apartheid South Africa Date – 1974 Medium – Photographs, gelatin silver print, on paper and gouache Dimensions – 250 x 210 mm

‘We make a nation of “helots”,
and have no free citizens.’

– Adam Ferguson said of the English industrialised working class. (quoted in Karl Marx Das Kapital)
* Adam Ferguson (known as Ferguson of Raith) was a Scottish philosopher and historian who was sympathetic to traditional societies. Influenced Karl Marx and Hegel, known as the father of Sociology.
* The “helots” were a subjugated population group that formed the main population of Laconia and Messenia (areas ruled by the Sparta warrior caste).


… This passage has really resonated with me from Marx’s “A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy,” for me this says everything you need to know about the state of crony Capitalism… this says everything about the depersonalising effect of the mechanisms of capitalist society…

In bourgeois society, the various forms of social relations are, as far as the ‘individual’ is concerned,
‘a mere means to his private ends, an outward necessity’

 Marx in, ‘Kapital’, p762, goes on…

The classical mode of small-scale production,
in so far as · it tended to prevent the development of productive forces · could not help but give way to the concentrationof property and the socialization of labour – the change had to be wrought by means of ‘progress over skulls’.

… progress over skulls… it sends a shiver down your spine… like the battle scenes in TERMINATOR. (Opening scenes of Terminator link)

“Has the bourgeoisie,” Marx asked, “ever effected progress without dragging individuals and people through blood and dirt, through misery and degradation?

– (Karl Marx: A Nineteenth-Century Life, Jonathan Sperber, 2013, Liveright publishing, New York.)

Just look at this… this is how I can contextualise modern society under the Tories. It’s Tory PROGRESS OVER SKULLS!

This is what it’s about…

Mark Spencer Conservative MP, jaw-dropping response during a poverty speech in the Commons Feb 4th 2015

Man kills himself over £800 benefits debt that WASN’T his fault.


I’m reading Mikhail Lifschitz’ “The Philosophy of Art of Karl Marx” it’s a short 120page pdf.

I think that this passage is brilliant…
The concentration of property in the hands of the few and the‘fearful and painful expropriation of the masses’ constitutes the prelude to the history of capital. ‘under the stimulus of passions the most infamous, the most sordid, the pettiest, the most meanly odious’.
In consequence, all patriarchal relations, and all personal family and communal ties disintegrate. and in their place appears one strong bond-that of callous “cash payment”.


“The bourgeois period of history has to create the material basis of the new world — on the one hand universal intercourse founded upon the mutual dependency of mankind, and the means of that intercourse; on the other hand the development of the productive powers of man and the transformation of material production into a scientific domination of natural agencies. Bourgeois industry and commerce create these material conditions of a new world in the same way as geological revolutions have created the surface of the earth. When a great social revolution shall have mastered the results of the bourgeois epoch, the market of the world and the modern powers of production, and subjected them to the common control of the most advanced peoples, then only will human progress cease to resemble that hideous, pagan idol, who would not drink the nectar but from the skulls of the slain.”

― Karl Marx, The First Indian War of Independence 1857-1859

Another milestone – over FIVE THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED

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Wow! Diolch yn fawr iawn / Thank you all very much

This has been an unexpected period where I’ve had over 500 visitors in just two weeks to my blog and galleries from all around the globe. On top of this, I’ve had one thousand five hundred visitors in exactly two months. Chuffed to bits!

I’d love your feedback, please leave comments and I’ll respond as soon as possible. Thanks again!

Here’s an excellent informative series of interviews by Mark McGowan / The Artist Taxi Driver and Global Justice Now’s Nick Dearden.

1. The Bill Gates ” everyone is getting richer ” myth ..The real story …

2. How it all works…

3. The myth of foreign aid: what happens to that money and why…

4. What is TTIP? What does it mean to us?


I am very grateful once again, another milestone reached 4,800 views. I hope to continue bringing content worth reading all through the coming turbulent year.

I’d like to use this opportunity to quote Noam Chomsky.

“I was never aware of any other option but to question everything.”
― Noam Chomsky

Love, light and peace x

Blwddyn Newydd Dda / Happy New Year to all my visitors

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In the tradition of Chomsky, we should question the award by Rupert Murdoch’s Times newspaper of UKIP’s Nigel Farage as Briton of the Year. I think the analysis has been perfectly assessed by Mark McGowan, The Artist Taxi Driver. There is an insidious agenda in the media to move the paradigm of politics dangerously  right-wing.

McGowan explains this right wing agenda perfectly