Archive:Cheap Art

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Cheap Art is a statement about making art available to the masses for their consumption, but we believe that it focuses too much on the direct effects being able to consume art can have. Yes, art is emotionally satisfying, politically motivating, and socially reinvigorating, but it's not a one-stage process. Art's effect is recursive, because the greatest and most powerful effect of art is to inspire more art. Art is the means by which human beings express their humanity to each other; it's the great ongoing conversation of our culture, and great art is great because it inspires people who experience it to talk back.

It doesn't need to be a phenomenon restricted to what we think of as "art" in the traditional sense, either. The human mind is a creative machine by nature, and the sheer joy and fulfillment of creation can exist in nearly any context, for nearly any purpose. The right of people to experience other people's creative expression and respond in turn extends not only to creative expression done for pure aesthetic enjoyment, emotional sentiment or political statement. It extends to the humanities sciences, the desire for abstract knowledge about the world we live in, and technology and the practical arts, the desire to concretely make the world a more comfortable place and give people new tools for changing it.

And our movement goes beyond making art "cheap". True, the scarcity of resources and the maldistribution of purchasing power in many places both go a long way to stifling the creative potential of large portions of our population. But the more hidden institutional and informal rules that bind the way people deal with knowledge and ideas are just as pervasive and just as pernicious. We believe that these are derived, yes, from some people's desire to continue to hold power over other people, but also in the long run from the fear, uncertainty and doubt that people develop from their natural feelings of inferiority, of desire to belong, of discomfort with the changes that come with becoming creative. These attitudes must be challenged both in the arena of law and politics and in the fuzzier, harder to define areas of cultural standards and infrastructure. We must actively work, anywhere and everywhere we can, to make our culture a free one, where the power of human creativity is not leashed, where everyone can reach their full potential as communicator and thinker and problem solver.