Art, Value, Labor

Red May TV | May 23, 2022

Recently, the commodity status of art and artistic labor has come into question in distinct yet related ways. Leigh Claire La Berge has argued that de-commodified labor, understood as non-waged or non-remunerated formal labor, is the missing term in contemporary discussions of art and value. Jasper Bernes has explored deindustrialized labor (labor expelled from industrial production and re-subsumed as service labor), focusing on how it has affected, and was affected by, poetic modernism and conceptual art. Dave Beech has challenged the commodity status of art, as well as recent calls to wage artistic labor, by stressing art’s hostile opposition to, and self-elevation over, craft labor during the historical emergence of its practices and institutions. This panel will explore the implications of each speaker’s approach in an effort to articulate some theoretical and tactical approaches to left artistic production and historicization. How might we analyze art’s relationship to commodification, labor, and value?

Dave Beech, Leigh Claire La Berge, Jasper Bernes, Matt Browning




Art as Unalienated Labour: The Dialectics of Art, by John Molyneux

Phil Brett

Culture Matters | January 11, 2021

Art as unalienated labour: The Dialectics of Art, by John Molyneux

John Molyneux is the editor of the Irish Marxist Review and a member of People Before Profit. I have been lucky enough to hear speak many times and have enjoyed much of his previous writing. So when I heard about this book, it was something which went straight onto my list to Santa, hoping I’d get it for Christmas.

Now, it is extremely doubtful that historically, revolutionaries have held much belief in the man with the sack, popping down chimneys. But as Molyneux points out early on, revolutionaries have often had a deep interest in art. Whilst truly historic events competed for their time and attention, the likes of Marx, Lenin, Luxembourg and Trotsky remained passionate in their commitment to the importance to art. But it isn’t just great revolutionaries for whom art matters.Read More »


Jonathan Fardy
Althusser and Art: Political and Aesthetic Theory

London, Zero Books, 2020. 80 pp., £7.99 pb
ISBN 9781789043075

Marx and Philosophy Review of Books | November 15, 2020

The focus of Althusser and Art is the first phase of Louis Althusser’s intellectual project – the earlier ‘theoreticist phase’ – concerned with the theorisation of Marxist theory. For Althusser, Marxist theory had to take itself as its own object. This project to renovate the political practice of the French Communist Party by renewing Marxist theory is evaluated negatively by Fardy. Althusser is charged with fetishizing the corpus of Marx’s work, of failing to conceive theorising as a creative practice and of reaffirming a suffocating division of labour in which a theoretical dictatorship reigns over political practice. Althusser and Art returns to Althusser’s theorisation of theory and, although it isn’t actually a study of Althusser’s marginal writings on art, it discusses in some detail his essays on Carlo Bertolazzi’s 1893 play El Nost Milan and the painting of Leonardo Cremonini. It introduces a theoretical legacy of Althusserianism in the work of Korsch, Macherey, Rancière and Laruelle. This legacy becomes the search for an aesthetic form that could surpass the division of theory and practice.Read More »


Thinking Art: Materialisms, Labours, Forms

Kingston School of Art | October 01, 2020

Capitalism: Concept, Idea, Image – Aspects of Marx’s Capital Today

Edited by Peter Osborne, Éric Alliez and Eric-John Russell

Contributors: Éric Alliez, Étienne Balibar, Tithi Bhattacharya, Boris Buden, Sara. R. Farris, John Kraniauskas, Elena Louisa Lange, Maurizio Lazzarato, Antonio Negri, Peter Osborne, Eric-John Russell, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Keston SutherlandRead More »

Where did ‘The Gates’ lead?

by Kriston Capps

CityLab, March 2, 2020

Fifteen years ago, Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s audacious public art installation debuted in New York City’s Central Park. We’ll never see anything like it again.

When the artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude arrived in New York City from Paris in 1964, the view of Lower Manhattan from their place aboard the transatlantic liner S.S. France stuck with them. Soon after, the married couple, who dreamed of making installations on an urban scale, decided they wanted to do something for their adopted hometown. Christo sketched out an idea, a drawing over a photograph snapped by Jeanne-Claude. His drawing showed two towers, 2 Broadway and 20 Exchange Place, wrapped in fabric and tied up in rope — skyscrapers packaged like gifts to the city.Read More »

Art embraces Havana


Granma | December 06, 2019

Photo: ICAIC

Every year, the Festival of New Latin American Cinema arrives as an obligatory event for lovers of good cinema and culture in general, and the 41st edition this December is not be missed.

Reviewing the films in competition, the international exhibitions, theoretical meetings, tributes to filmmakers and a long list of collateral events, film-lovers realize, once again, that the fight against time will be a constant in these ten days – from the 5th to the 15th – when avid fans become selective hunters of what should not slip through their hands.

Read More »

Sustainable art

by Odomaro Mubangizi

Pambazuka News | August 31, 2019

Sustainable art
Odomaro Mubangizi

Through this piece of art, the artist expresses his views on what he calls “sustainable art”.


The artist invites art critics to identify the main elements in the piece of art, discuss about the various main themes in the artwork and identify the main medium that is discernible in this piece of art.

Read More »

The working class becomes subject in the art of Gustave Courbet

by Janny Farrell

People’s World | June 05, 2019

The working class becomes subject in the art of Gustave Courbet

Gustave Courbet, The Stone Breakers, 1850. (Destroyed)

A constant feature of any news program in the capitalist world is “Business News” and reports from the stock markets. Those who toil to create the profits are always absent from the story. This is particularly apparent to me because I grew up in the German Democratic Republic and at school, even our literature books always included paintings with a working class or socialist subject matter. Some of these left an indelible impression on me, so much so that I still think of them and occasionally look at them even all these decades later. One of these paintings is Gustave Courbet’s Stone Breakers.Read More »