Tuesday, October 6, 2009

"Is Capitalism Bad for Art?" - Stephen Hicks lecture

If you are in the San Francisco Bay Area, you might be interested in an upcoming lecture by Prof. Stephen Hicks of the Center for Ethics and Entrepreneurship at Rockford College (Illinois). Here is his description:

Is capitalism bad for art?

palette1-70x50I will be giving a talk with that title at California State University, East Bay, on October 14. Thanks to Professor Stephen Schmanske and the Smith Center for inviting me.

My theme will be the relationship between art and liberal cultures, focusing on economically free cultures especially.

dollar-sign-50x74One part of my talk will discuss how economic liberalism is empowering for artists both materially and psychologically, and part of my evidence for that will be historical: Why were the greatest of the great eras in art history classical Athens, Renaissance Florence and Venice, the Dutch Golden Age, Paris in the late nineteenth century. Why not, say, Sparta in the 5th century BCE? Or Milan in the 15th century? Or Denmark in the 17th? Or Portugal in the 19th?

picasso-photo-50x52Another part of my talk will take up the perplexing question of why, since the late 19th century, so many artists have taken anti-business and anti-capitalist stances. Pablo Picasso is representative here, having said, famously, “The merchant — there’s the enemy.” A fascinating set of adversarial (and self-destructive) issues there.

The lecture is based on my current book project, The Fate of Art under Capitalism, which I discussed in an earlier post.

Sound interesting? It does to me! --mac

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