49 Amazing Art And Politics Quotes

Last Updated on November 14, 2020 by Scott M. Thomas

Art and politics are always related to each other. Where there is art there is politics. Many politicians, philosophers, and scientists had told about art and politics. We gathered here the best sayings of them. Below you’ll see the best art and politics quotes by famous people. 

“Life is politics, basically, but you don’t just go to a gallery and put the words ‘art’ and ‘politics’ on the wall.” – Luc Tuymans

“…I considered any art pointless if it did not put itself at the disposal of political struggle… my art was to be a gun and a sword.” – George Grosz

best art and politics quotes of all time

“Art, freedom, and creativity will change society faster than politics.” – Victor Pinchuk

“The art of politics is to be ahead of your time; about six months will do it. Any more than that, and people forget you were there.” – Gloria Steinem

“A political culture of any given society is the major cause of a conflict, hence, a key to its settlement as well.” – Jochen Hippler

“Democracy with its semi-civilization sincerely cherishes junk. The artist’s power should be spiritual. But the power of the majority is material. When these worlds meet occasionally, it is pure coincidence.” – Paul Klee

“I had to experience all the ghastly, bottomless depths for life for myself; it’s for that reason that I went to war, and for that reason, I volunteered.” – Otto Dix

“Fine arts, literature, music, cinema, and theatre very often mirror the politics of a society.” – Martina Fisher

“To make people free is the aim of art, therefore art for me is the science of freedom.” – Joseph Beuys

“The artist’s job is to be a witness to his time in history.” – Robert Rauschenberg

“I like keeping my work so open that it can be interpreted on different levels. Art can’t be compared with journalism; it can’t discuss concrete issues.” – Mona Hatoum

“Politics is the art of achieving political goals – of achieving what is possible in a given situation – that is, in a situation that has its conditions and its limits.” – Adam Michnik

art and politics quotes

“The function of the artist in a disturbed society is to give awareness of the universe, to ask the right questions, and to elevate the mind.” – Marina Abramovic

“Moving swiftly between different arenas like politics, architecture or commercial design is what I would consider definitive of my generation. I am looking at reality and playing fast and loose with it.” – Sarah Morris

“All art is political in the sense that it serves someone’s politics.” – August Wilson

“If my art has nothing to do with people’s pain and sorrow, what is ‘art’ for?” – Ai Weiwei

“It is important that artists are not outside the equation, we don’t stand on the sidelines. Artists are part of the story of a response, we cannot stand aside and let others make the response.” – Anish Kapoor

“The best art is political and you ought to be able to make it unquestionably political and irrevocably beautiful at the same time.” – Toni Morrison

“Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies.” – Groucho Marx

“Politics is the art of choosing between the disastrous and the unpalatable.” – John Kenneth Galbraith

all art is inherently political

“One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.” – Plato

“I am interested in a political art, that is to say an art of ambiguity, contradiction, uncompleted gestures and uncertain ending – an art (and a politics) in which optimism is kept in check, and nihilism at bay.” – William Kentridge

“As a composer, I believe that music has the power to inspire a renewal of human consciousness, culture, and politics. And yet I refuse to make political art. More often than not political art fails as politics, and all too often it fails as art. To reach its fullest power, to be most moving and most fully useful to us, art must be itself.” – John Luther Adams

“Cinema is always a political art, at the end.” – Pablo Larrain

“Practical politics consists in ignoring facts.” – Henry Adams

“My problem with political art is not that it’s bad art necessarily, but that it is terrible politics.” – Peter Schjeldahl

“I don’t really believe in political art. I feel in my heart the purpose of art transcends cultural and class and politics. I think something like the Sistine Chapel is something that goes beyond just being a Christian thing. It transcends its Christianity and becomes sort of a universal beauty. And I think that’s true of music and art and literature.” – Sean Lennon

“My problem with political art is not that it’s bad art necessarily, but that it is terrible politics. We’re talking about a closeted person with minimum contact with reality who has trouble tying his f**king shoes! And he’s supposed to be political? A bus driver has a better perspective on things. Artists are completely indulgent.” – Jonathan Santlofer

“My argument would be that I don’t think there is much that’s genuinely political art that is good art.” – Thom Yorke

quotes about art and activism

“It is difficult to make political artwork.” – Thom Yorke

“But I really resist categories – that naming is a closing down of meaning. Women’s art, political art – those categorizations perpetuate a certain kind of marginality that I’m resistant to. But I absolutely define myself as a feminist.” – Barbara Kruger

“Man, says Protagoras, now has the wisdom necessary for life … but he does not have political wisdom. At this point, people are living spread out and hence are at the mercy of stronger animals, who begin killing them off… They seek to save themselves from the beasts by banding together and forming cities. But they do injustice to one another, at such close quarters, because they lack the political art. So, dispersed once more, they begin perishing again.” – Paul Ludwig Landsberg

“Very early on I was interested in doing political art, but it was not feminist political art.” – Michelle Stuart

“Picasso is a communist. Neither am I.” – Salvador Dali

“After illuminating the work of Rembrandt, Caravaggio, Louise Bourgeois, Balthus, and other modern artists, Mieke Bal again demonstrates her extraordinary flair for cultural criticism in taking on the work of Doris Salcedo, exploring the philosophical and aesthetic stakes of this committed political art and the relation between beauty, violence, and memory. A tour de force.” – Jonathan Culler

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Quotes About Art And Activism

“When you examine the genesis of great works of art, successful start-ups, and revolutionary shifts in politics, you can always trace back a history of monetary and nonmonetary exchange, the hidden patrons and underlying favors.” – Amanda Palmer

“The artist must be a philosopher. Socrates the skilled sculptor, Jean-Jacques [Rousseau] the good musician, and the immortal Poussin, tracing on the canvas the sublime lessons of philosophy, are so many proofs that an artistic genius should have no other guide except the torch of reason.” – Jacques Louis David

“What do you think an artist is? An imbecile who only has eyes if he’s a painter, ears if he’s a musician, or a lyre in every chamber of his heart if he’s a poet – or even, if he’s a boxer, only some muscles? Quite the contrary, he is at the same time a political being constantly alert to the horrifying, passionate, or pleasing events in the world, shaping himself completely in their image. How is it possible to be uninterested in other men and by virtue of what cold nonchalance can you detach yourself from the life that they supply so copiously? No, painting is not made to decorate apartments. It’s an offensive and defensive weapon against the enemy.” – Pablo Picasso

“History proves over and over again that culture is ideally suitable for political propaganda, especially under totalitarian rule.” – Slavenka Drakulić

all good art has been political

“The art of politics is learning to walk with your back to the wall, your elbows high, and a smile on your face. It’s a survival game played under the glare of lights.” – Jean Chretien 

“Why is it that all those who have become eminent in philosophy, politics, poetry, or the arts are clearly of an atrabilious temperament and some of them to such an extent as to be affected by diseases caused by black bile?” – Aristotle.

“Politics, when it is an art and a service, not an exploitation, is about acting for an ideal through realities.” – Charles De Gaulle

“I am a communist and my painting is a communist painting. But if I were a shoemaker, Royalist, or Communist or anything else, I would not necessarily hammer my shoes in any special way to show my politics.” – Pablo Picasso

“There’s an axiom I live by: ‘There is no art without politics.’ You either choose to engage it, or you choose political apathy. This ties in with ideas around real-time performance and feedback.” – Chris Jordan

“Harold March was the sort of man who knows everything about politics, and nothing about politicians. He also knew a great deal about art, letters, philosophy, and general culture; about almost everything, indeed, except the world, he was living in.” – G.K. Chesterton

“Politics is the gentle art of getting votes from the poor and campaign funds from the rich, by promising to protect each from the other.” – Oscar Ameringer

“I avoid contemporary TV … politics … art: all too frantic, fevered, and frivolous, or else angry, bitter.” – Dean Koontz

“Rock was different from rock and roll. Rock was virtuosic and adult, as opposed to popsy and teenaged. Rock and roll were apolitical and fun, while the rock was “heavy” and often political, creating vistas of psychic energy that carried beyond the music itself and into radical politics and art.” – Stephen Davis

“Wise politics is the art of invigorating society and weakening the State.” – Nicolas Gomez Davila

best art and politics quotes

“History is not just about dates and quotations. And it’s not just about politics, the military, and social issues, though much of it of course is about that. It’s about everything. It’s about the life history. It’s human. And we have to see it that way. We have to teach it that way. We have to read it that way. It’s about art, music, literature, money, science, love – the human experience.” – David McCullough

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