Art on War: Seesawing on a political playground

Another case in point that art is political. I’m wondering if all art is a reflection of the artist’s own personal political beliefs? Do political beliefs and composition run parallel? To be more specific, has an artist ever created a work that ran counter to their political persuasion? For example, would any artist who supported the Iraq war create a negative image of the war, like the work below? Or inversely, would someone who opposed the war create a positive view of it (discount the thousands of parodies)?

The invasion of Iraq, and the continuing occupation, is that kind of war, too. It has released something in art: a rage, a sense of purpose, or perhaps just an extreme nihilism. Two years ago, in a London gallery, I could have sworn I had travelled back to the dada protests that rocked Berlin in 1919. Cardboard figures of US soldiers paraded through a scene spliced together from images of Iraq’s war dead. These grotesque, but real, fragments had been found on websites and collaged into a furious installation by Swiss artist Thomas Hirschhorn.

Jeremy Deller's It Is What It Is

This is all that remains of a car hit by a bomb in Iraq. Turner prize-winning artist Jeremy Deller tells Jonathan Jones what happened when he took it on a tour of America.


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