Art and politics at the Hammer Museum
“Art must be revolution,” the celebrated French philosopher Alain Badiou said Sunday afternoon at the Hammer Museum. He was the last speaker at the two-day UCLA conference “Can Art and Politics Be Thought?” a sort of sequel to the Wagner conference a year ago at the Hammer, which also featured Badiou.
For Wagner, who happened to be a big thinker (when he wasn’t being a big bigot or big bully), art and revolution went hand in hand. These days thing are more complicated. But in a series of papers and performances and presentations, the Wagnerian ideal and scale was often evoked, if in a manner keeping with out time.
Especially impressive was an excerpt from Matthew Barney’s film/opera/performance piece/installation/whatever work-in-progress based on Norman Mailer’s novel, “Ancient Evenings.” This is about as Wagnerian a project as can be imagined. A Sunday critic’s notebook on the conference can be found here.
— Mark Swed
Photo: Alain Badiou speaking at the Hammer Museum. Credit: Mark Swed/Los Angeles Times.