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Times They Are A Changin'? - propaganda in art?


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GUEST,John Bauman 29 Aug 00 - 03:45 PM
Amos 29 Aug 00 - 11:50 PM
CarolC 30 Aug 00 - 12:11 AM
AndyG 30 Aug 00 - 09:30 AM
SINSULL 30 Aug 00 - 02:03 PM
AndyG 31 Aug 00 - 08:17 AM
Whistle Stop 31 Aug 00 - 09:01 AM
GUEST,John Bauman 31 Aug 00 - 11:06 AM
Bert 31 Aug 00 - 04:11 PM
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Subject: The Times They Are A Changin'?
From: GUEST,John Bauman
Date: 29 Aug 00 - 03:45 PM

I'm hoping one of you can point me to a place (in your archives) where you've had a discussion about the possibility (or lack thereof) that propaganda may also be considered/revered as ART?

This discussion/arguement is such a staple in Art school but I'd like to hear it from a more "where the rubber meets the road" perspective.

Thanks, John

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Subject: RE: The Times They Are A Changin'?
From: Amos
Date: 29 Aug 00 - 11:50 PM

It absolutely is art, of the most vivid, immediate and inspired kind.

It is a lyric of legitimate rage, appropriately aimed, finely honed, beautifullyy formed and well cast. Who would ever venture a thought that it wasn't?

How absurd.


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Subject: RE: The Times They Are A Changin'?
From: CarolC
Date: 30 Aug 00 - 12:11 AM

If you haven't already, I recommend seeing Sergey Eisenstien's movie, "The Battleship Potemkin" with the musical score by Sergey Prokofiev.

This is probably the most powerful movie/score combination I have ever seen. I would certainly consider this great art, and it is also propaganda.

Best regards,


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Subject: RE: The Times They Are A Changin'?
From: AndyG
Date: 30 Aug 00 - 09:30 AM

I don't recollect a previous discussion on this topic, but in order to have one I think we need a more formal definition of propaganda.

Whilst it's always possible to find good and perhaps great art in propaganda, I have to ask;

Is this ", of the most vivid, immediate and inspired kind..."


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Subject: RE: The Times They Are A Changin'?
Date: 30 Aug 00 - 02:03 PM

Rudy Giuliani recently got himself into deep shit literally when tried to dictate what is "good" art. I followed your link. And yes there are those who would argue that the poster was immediate, inspired, and vivid. Our friend who keeps posting links to Orange Songs would agree and argue that his choice of music is as much "art" as songs of the IRA. Maybe the discussion needs to be : "Can you separate the message from the artistic merit of a propaganda piece?" Maybe we can look at it from a different perspective - Is a well constructed advertising piece artistic or worthy of note only if it sells the merchandise?

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Subject: RE: The Times They Are A Changin'?
From: AndyG
Date: 31 Aug 00 - 08:17 AM


If I interpret your comments correctly, I think we're both approaching this with fairly similar viewpoints. My link was selected by way of example with a view to contasting potential artistic merit with the message it supports.

The German Propaganda Website, holds some very useful images from which to start this discussion, but of course this would be a discussion of visual arts/text and not music/lyrics which may be what the original request was looking for. (Hence my request for a more formal definition.)

I certainly believe that you can find good/great art wrapped round propaganda, but yes, separating the message from the medium is going to be something of a value judgement on the part of the observer.

For most purposes I think propaganda will be immediate in its effect and current in its content/message. It doesn't have to have any artistic merit to succeed.


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Subject: RE: The Times They Are A Changin'?
From: Whistle Stop
Date: 31 Aug 00 - 09:01 AM

Art and propaganda are combined everywhere -- from Tchaikovsky's "1812 Overture" to Picasso's "Guernica" to U2's "Sunday Bloody Sunday". But a lot of us don't recognize it as propaganda when it's advocating a position we agree with.

There are also the propagandists who appropriate existing art for their own purposes. The Nazis made extensive use of the work of the great German composers for this purpose -- not only Wagner (many consider him an early proto-Nazi), but Beethoven and others as well. Of course, we Americans do it too, as do people of other nationalities and advocates on behalf of any number of issues. This can be pretty benign, or pretty despicable, and it ends up being a very subjective issue. When some group decides to use "This Land Is Your Land" as their theme music (implying Woody's endorsement of their cause), they have crossed the line into this territory.

Of course, there's also propaganda on behalf of commercial interests -- such as television commercials. They routinely use favorite songs from my childhood to push their products. Wasn't it Nike who used the Beatles' "Revolution" for a sneaker ad a while back? Given the ubiquitous commercial/advertising culture that we're constantly bombarded with, and the persistent marketability of old rock and roll, you can't get away from this stuff these days. Art and propaganda -- inextricably entwined.

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Subject: RE: The Times They Are A Changin'?
From: GUEST,John Bauman
Date: 31 Aug 00 - 11:06 AM

Whistle stop,

I appreciate you response. The core of the discussion seems to come down to the contention that Art should not be compromised or encumbered with transient detail but should instead transcend the immediate. That's why I thought a folk forum would be an interesting place for this discussion as you all seem quite aware that "Folk" music by its very definition didn't start out its life as "Folk music" rather, its ability to paint the human universal emotion from an event/cause allowed it to transcend to greater meaning and application. It becomes art.

The alternative--propagada, would fall into the catagory of "Craft"


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Subject: RE: The Times They Are A Changin'?
From: Bert
Date: 31 Aug 00 - 04:11 PM

A lot of folk music, especially the sixties pseudofolk, is propaganda.

An example that I particularly liked was Lionel Bart's musical 'Maggie May'. Very strong propaganda which showed working class disapproval of aparthied. Don't forget that working class people in England were boycotting South Africa way back in the Fifties.


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