Monday, October 14, 2013

Does art stand alone from politics? What, and how, should we protest?

I just read this article about a protest of a performance, at Carnegie Hall, of the Rite of Spring by Russian conductor Valery Gergviv and The Marilinsky Orchestra of St. Petersburg.  It was a gay rights protest opposing Gergiev because he is a supporter of Vladimir Putin, who recently signed into law a ban on any public speech in Russia that supports homosexuality or "non-traditional relationships."

Here is the article:!/story/gay-rights-protesters-follow-gergiev-carnegie-hall/

I think a good question is raised by this protest.  Should we allow art to just stand alone, as a neutral ground totally separate from politics?  Or is everything political?  Wanting to keep politics out of various areas is certainly understandable but it also can move things in the direction of complacence toward cultural injustice and a stagnant lack of necessary progress.  There are many political connections and implications in just about everything, whether or not it's convenient to acknowledge them.
I must say I am torn on the issue.  What has been done in Russian politics is disgusting and any culture that moves in that direction should not be considered fully civilized to the modern standard.  I feel there ought to be active boycotting and general opposition.  On the other hand, I don't want concerts to become an open forum for getting any political message out when that is not part of what the concert is designed for.   Perhaps the best answer would be to not disrupt concerts, but to actively protest Carnegie Hall (before, during and after the concert, but not inside the hall) in general for doing business with someone who is supporting his culture leaning toward the way of Nazi Germany.

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