When Is An Artist More Than An Artist?
The Art of Social Critique: Painting Mirrors of Social Life, a new collection of writing edited by my friend and colleague Shawn Bingham, looks at how artists shape the way we know society, and the way society often tries to put artists “back in their place” when their critiques begin to resonate.
My chapter looks at The Wire. I argue that David Simon breaks new ground in creating art with sociological power, but that his work occasionally loses power when viewers perceive in The Wire the kind of active persuasion that drains aesthetic value from “political art.”
With a national election coming up, and with two social movements having taken to the streets in the last two years, it’s a good time to look at the role of art in social change.
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