Art as Anti-production

Edvard Munch's, The Scream, auctioned at Sotheby's New York

“Labour becomes productive only by producing its own opposite (that is, capital)” Marx

From this it can be said that the labour of Art is essentially unproductive. Art only becomes productive when the capitalist – the production company; publishing house; gallery or auction house – takes hold of the creation and “produces” it, i.e. turns it into a marketable commodity. In his/her essence the artist remains an anti-producer; an outsider to the economy; an economic aberration.

The fact that Art can survive at all in the economic-political society is an indication of its enormous strength, for in theory it should have been killed off long ago by the capitalist and socialist systems that are both so deeply immersed in the politics of production.

Not only is Art a tremendously powerful human drive and positive social force it may also be a marker showing us the way to a post-production society in which capital, perhaps even the monetary system itself, has been rendered obsolete.

Paul David Adkin is the author of Art Wars

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