There was a time capitalism and communism battled each other. I am of course simplifying the conflict by a whole lot but that was how most of the world saw it then and even now.

I was at the Tate Modern in London recently. Inside the museum, there is a room filled with communist propaganda material presented as art. I stood in the middle of the room thinking how complete the defeat of communism was. So complete, the free society that we (I?) live in now allows us to appropriate hard communist material extolling the masses to embrace communist values as merely an expensive artistic curiosity.

Forty or thirty years ago, these posters were part of a culture war, which itself was part of a real war. Now, well, they are something you sell on eBay, hang on the wall because it looks pretty, or even copy and mass produce them in the name of profit.

I spent quite some time there feeling the same way I felt as if I had wandered the ruins of ancient ruins in Cambodia or Myanmar, or artifacts in the Met or the Lourve. It was a feeling of wonder of times so different from ours.

Appropriating Communism

Trackback URI | Comments RSS

Leave a Reply

*