By David A. Schlossman
This scholarly paintings seems on the factor of politics and function in the US this day with specific consciousness paid to performances produced via activists, the NEA 4, and "Miss Saigon".
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Extra resources for Actors and Activists: Performance, Politics, and Exchange Among Social Worlds
She asks, "Could [Prosecutor Frank] Prouty have made a convincing case that Robert Mapplethorpe is not an artist, or that his retrospective was unsuitable for a museum? I don't think so, but he certainly could have tried. 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.
As the field's name implies, symbolic interaction views "symbolic" activity, such as performance, as inherently tied to the rest of the social process, supporting my contention that one cannot rend artistic activity from its social context. Becker and other symbolic interactionists argue that artistic activity is deeply embedded in public life. The social aspects of artistic activity range from the apparently mundane instance of a pianist deducting the tuning of her piano from her income tax (Beck, "Art and Inactivity" 10) to the fact that artistic activity encounters legal regulations involving intellectual property, public decorum, and public safety.
Contemporary symbolic interaction offers an understanding of self and Exchange Between Art Worlds and Political Worlds 35 society as developing out of human interaction, as opposed to pre-existing "structure," a process that nevertheless remains inherently fraught and political. Symbolic interaction constitutes a broad field crossing the disciplines of sociology, psychology, and, to some extent, anthropology; I don't pretend to encompass the entire field here, but rather introduce interactionist ideas that are fundamental to my study because they offer tools for understanding performance's role in social processes.