Why are artists considered "petit bourgeoisie"? (Interesting conversation on redit)
An interesting read on Redit.
Why are artists considered "petit bourgeoisie"?
Is it because, if they are successful, they earn a lot?
And isn't exploiting the labors of others a ground to be termed as bourgeoisie?
Artists are not generally considered petit bourgeoisie. Most artists are literally wage laborers.
Couldn't they be considered labor aristocracy if they make enough to not be exploited?
Sure, if they're working in a 1st world country, aren't in a marginalized group, and make a decent living I don't see why they wouldn't qualify as labor aristocracy just like their counterparts in other industries. I imagine they might even be capitalists at some point if they're riding off the revenue of copyrighted works, have studio assistants, corporate-backed fame, etc.
The only people I've heard call artists petit-bourgeoisie are people who have a skewed idea of communism and believe everyone should be factory workers or makers of things, rather than being able to be free without the constraints of having to commodify everything you create
Most artists are generally considered Proletarians as far as I can tell. They individually carry out their labour and that labour is exploited by capitalists who often refuse to even pay artists.
I think the kernel of truth is that in a society like the U.S., it's quite difficult (and becoming more) to make a living with creative arts labor and it's made easier by personally coming from, at minimum, petty bourgeois roots. So many things can make a difference - childhood arts experience+education, general cultural capital, connections, whether someone can afford to move to Brooklyn or Echo Park and get noticed IRL, etc. So tons of artists I can think of are, personally, of petty bourgeois roots. But in their own life, how much control they have over their means of production and how much they have to show for it varies wildly. And we know of course, art reflects class values in myriad ways.
I don't know how Marxist theory would handle cases like Prince, Britney Spears, etc. who were certainly exploited yet obviously not proletarian in a meaningful sense (picked extremes here but relevant to smaller scale success too I think).
Art no longer art if it becomes a commodity.
That's an ideology in itself, no?
Sorry, but I do not understand this exchange. Won't you mind explaining this to me? :(
The person above me declared that art isn't really art if it becomes a "commodity". A commodity to Marx is any good or service produced by human labor and then sold on the market. Under capitalism, everything tends to get commodified, to a sickening degree. /r/LateStageCapitalism posts examples daily.
I questioned their assertion on the grounds that it is ideology, e.g. a belief without a "material" argument or critical analysis beside it. I think they are declaring something out of willful belief rather than reasoning.
The above user may be suggesting that the motives of an artist are corrupted by capital incentives etc, and that real art can only exist when people are free. I don't think this is true in itself. In fact, there is plenty of art under capitalism that speaks out againstcapitalism. Even then, their argument hinges on a specific definition of "art". People are always trying to figure out or decide what "true" art is so I won't get into that except to say that I disagree with the notion generally: bad art is still art. Even corporate art is still art, although it might lack the meaning and impact of art without that incentive.
Ohhh! Thank you! Now I get it! I knew it was something about his assertion of some kind of real or genuine art! Thanks again!
Depends, I would agree with the OP. If an artist is making "art" for its monetary value, in which then the artist is making a product to be sold, not art. Art should not be valued at a monetary value but in how good it is for society. Artwork can lead revolutions and uprisings and make life less harsh to live in. It even drove scientific progress and medical understanding for thousands of years. Art can be created freely or forced.
Lots of art is simply neglected because it doesn't generate monetary value in the capitalist world. Who knows how many countless stories, portraits, murals, statues, clothing was simply lost and never to be known off because it didn't sate some capitalist.
However the product can have artistic characteristics, and thus people can confuse the two. Such as the point of Video gaming which is a hot topic of this debate. Ultimately, the main purpose of the game in a capitalist system is to make profit off of hard working laborers and not to be something that lives on it own and benefits society. So in which I don't consider games art.
Hm I think it's a matter of definitions, so there isn't much argument to be had. I don't disagree with you necessarily except that bad art is still art. I would also say that art can exist with shallow and monetary intentions, and that good art can exist in spite of monetary incentives.
Much like "science", it's hard to pin down a useful definition of "art".
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Leila Houston (London, 1977) is a visual artist whose work investigates the social, political and historical aspects of a place.