Download Actors and Activists: Performance, Politics, and Exchange by David A. Schlossman PDF

By David A. Schlossman

This scholarly paintings seems on the factor of politics and function in the US this day with specific recognition paid to performances produced by way of activists, the NEA 4, and "Miss Saigon".

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Sample text

Where was [conservative art critic] Hilton ICramer? " (Hess 281). Hess's questions suggest that the Cincinnati defendants won acquittal not because they were protected by a modernist "art context" but because the defense presented a group of experts that the prosecutors did not adequately rebut. In the end, I believe, Copeland misinterprets the facts, the modernists, the postmodernists, and society; he ignores overtly political modernist works, such as Picasso's Guernica, and he collapses the diversity of critical and artistic expression collectively called "postmodernism" into a single vague formulation.

Can a play change people's minds, and even if it can, will it move an audience to action? Do political performances preach to the converted? Doesn't the introduction of overt political content render a play "mere" propaganda, and isn't theatre a feeble form of propaganda in the age of broadcast Exchange Between A r t Worlds and Political Worlds 29 communications? Doesn't overt political performance privilege its "message" over aesthetic "quality"? Aren't overtly political performances so topical that they fail to withstand the test of time?

Politics," like performance, constitutes a term that seems obvious yet defies easy definition. This study operates on a broad definition of politics as encompassing cultural politics as well as debates surrounding specific issues or resources. That is, politics consists not only of the contests for the management of resources and the campaigns to control government, but also of the struggles of people to gain respect and autonomy for themselves and their beliefs. When viewed in light of this broad definition, artistic activity influences and is influenced by politics.

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