Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett questions whether political interference in artworks points towards an erosion of artistic freedom.
One of the many things that studying history taught me, and which I have never forgotten, is how to recognise the typical characteristics of fascism. It’s become a sort of mental list to which I turn from time to time when considering our current political situation. “Powerful and continuing nationalism” (tick); “disregard for human rights” (what was that about offshore asylum camps?); “rampant cronyism and corruption” (you bet).
Then, of course, there’s “disrespect for intellectuals and the arts” – something that had been festering long before the Brexit vote but became even more explicit then, with ministers’ contempt for “experts”.
It seems people have had enough of artists too, if two recent incidents are anything to go by. First, we had a police raid on Antepavilion, an east London arts complex. Footage emerged of black- and navy-clad helmeted police (some of the helmets had union flags on them, a nice touch) forcing entry to the building. The venue’s best known exhibit is a rooftop bamboo and cable structure called All Along the Watchtower. The structure resembles those that were used during Extinction Rebellion (XR) protests last year... Keep reading on The Guardian.