Art and Power: A Blurb of Thought

I read (largely skimmed) an article in ArtPapers written by Vincent W. J. Van Gerven Oei. It’s basically about an artist who became a prime minister in Albania. Oei covers quite a lot of themes in the article, and it really got me thinking about the context of art and power. 

Of course, art is powerful, but how often is it put into the real world audience to have real world power? Featuring this artists’ rise to power and use of art within that power is important because art largely finds itself as a critic of politics rather than a contender of politics. 

Where does art seem to have power? We can put art anywhere. Have you noticed any stickers in train stations? Pen drawings on walls? But who looks at it? Plenty of people look at these bits and pieces of art, heck plenty of people go to galleries and museums, but what portion of those people digest the art they see? 

It seems to boil down. 

Then consider the art itself. Is a critique like a burnt flag more powerful than a contemporary depiction of a historic moment of a country’s past? 



A perkĀ of being an art student is always having exhibitions available and advertised for entry. An ambiguous point in being an art student is when professors make entering an exhibition a grade. For the digital photography course that I am taking, we were asked to enter the Low Museum’s exhibition entitled #Masculinity. The idea was to express what masculinity means.

Personally, this word has no real meaning for me in humanity. My upbringing was very open-minded and largely avoided generalizations. What did form a spark was the idea of male birds and their role in sexual displays. In Human gender roles, the woman is the showy object. In aviary gender roles, males are often the entertainers. I used this idea and inserted male bird habits and visual affects onto human males to test out my ideal of masculinity into my own species.

Thus are the results:

masc masc2 masc3 masc4 masc5 masc6 masc7 masc8 masc9 Animal Kingdom (#1) Teal Gordon 13x19in Animal Kingdom (#2) Teal Gordon 13x19in Animal Kingdom (#3) Teal Gordon 13x19in

Masculinity is what you believe it to be. I think masculinity and femininity is something that’s very old-fashioned. There’s a whole new generation of people who aren’t defined by their sex or race or who they like to sleep with. –Johnny Weir