Allison Hewitt Ward (AP Staff) writes a post-mortem of the political art in New York leading up to the 2016 election for Even Magazine.
Arts discourse has been guilty time and again of mistaking the old for the new, congratulating itself for innovation when in fact it’s just rehearsing the same tired scenes. This year it made the opposite mistake: it mistook something new — the emergence of Trump as a serious presidential candidate — for something old. (And it couldn’t even agree on what that something old was! The culture wars of the 80s and 90s? The rise of fascism in Europe in the 1930s? References were even made to the fall of the Roman Empire!) In cases like Leonard’s, it responded to what it thought were old problems with old solutions: relics of the culture wars, the civil rights era, 1960s artist activism, even the protests of 20th-century suffragettes. When our social reality called for radicalism and foresight, we turned instead to the archives.