Dave Hickey on Politics and Culture

Snipped from an interview in The Believer:

Sheila Heti: There are a number of artists I know who want to make art out of a political impulse, and this impulse seems kind of incompatible with art-making.

Dave Hickey: The political impulse is fine but moot. Art has political consequences, which is to say, it reorganizes society and creates constituencies of people around it. Miles Davis creates a constituency. Andy Warhol creates a constituency, and any object or occasion that organizes people in terms of what they want is a political constituency. The idea of political content is irrelevant. Content is irrelevant. I always tell my students, “Never forget you’re writing words! You know, word one, word two, word three, word four. The words have to be organized. Nothing else does."

SH: So if you eschew money from grants and from the government, then you’ve got to make money elsewhere—

DH: I wrote reviews of Porter Wagoner albums and squibs for titty magazines, but I fucking wrote them because I was trying to win and avoid all unavoidable compromises that presented me with the fantasies of comfort and security. I just like to write lucid prose. That’s my little thing. Why should it be easier for me than it was for Steve Tyler? Anyway, people don’t make literature, architecture, and art—the culture makes those things. We make books, buildings, and objects. We do our crummy little shit, and the culture assigns value to it, and I don’t think the culture needs government help.
I was also very excited to see that he will be lecturing at the GSD again next Spring.