"The art-right are on the rise and even the deep, market-reflexive complacency of the London artscene shows signs of being ruffled. How on earth did reactionaries get a foot hold in galleries and educational institutions, what were people thinking?, asks O.D. Untermesh, and how does the fascist aesthetic of our moment work? Most of all – how can it be opposed?"
Since the writer offers 'scattered suggestions, open to criticism' here are some more, fwiw:
How about start with accountability for oneself & ones own subject position (whats w the pseudonym, OD Untermesh?), understanding that 'reflexive complacency' is a localised phenomenon that some - even within the London art 'scene!' - have been fighting for a long time. Understand and acknowledge that 'educational institutions' like eg Goldsmiths have harbored white liberal racists & sexual harrassers for years (see also http://www.independent.co.uk/.../london-university) And now that you've decided that 'post-internet' is categorically 'bad' (without much reason given as to why or how, but once again, thanks to the women of color for doing this work years prior on behalf of the white artist-academics at Mute et al: http://www.academia.edu/7508373/Notes_on_Post-Internet) then maybe think about defining what 'the fascist aesthetic of our moment' could be, beyond - you know - a series of [white, male] shitposts with anonymous avatars - some evoking Kek and the KKK, others evoking Marx & Bataille.
"Whether it would be more correct to say that fascism had grown up within this art scene, or that the art had merely been reduced to a decorative detail in the larger fresco of fascist ‘normalisation’, has nothing to do with our immediate practical situation and is in the last instance besides the point."
This is explicitly not besides the point imo - this is exactly the point, & a good opportunity to examine how this happened, which will in turn help [us] figure out what the writer cites as the real point: "how do we stop this from ever happening again?"
The writer also asks (somewhat rhetorically, since the evident pleasure in the language of revulsion and rejection produces a sense that really it's more fun to speculate & self-exonerate than to act) "how do we reconceive our own art to ensure that it never again serves as a conveniently indeterminate incubator for those who would gladly destroy us, our friends and neighbours and comrades, along with any latent possibility of a genuinely open and revolutionary culture or emancipated society?"
To which I would also ask:
who is this 'us' of which the writer speaks?
And in what way does the writer conceive of a gallery's fascist speaker program as a radical break in a culture of eurocentric white supremacy to which the writer's own microculture - ie [para]academic left art criticism - owes a significant debt as regards its conception of eg 'freedom', 'revolution', and subjectivity - as evidenced, once again, by the writer's own assertion that they are in immediate danger from the radical break, or regime change, imagined as corollary of small gallery's fascist speaker program?
& finally -
"The idea that things are always so complex (and all variants thereof) is an intellectual mystification of a pre-existing situation of competitiveness. It turns the acknowledgement of the simple from a source of basic human solidarity against reaction into a source of anxiety and self-doubt in the face of loss of distinction."
There is a good clean sense of absolute correctness in this righteously enlightened missive - in which 'good' and 'bad' are imagined as 'the right' and 'the left' in keeping with the delicious cowboys-and-indians heroism beloved of all white would-be radicals since it makes one's own position seductively simple and celebratory. However: it seems like the idea of complexity is, simply, an admission of complicity, and if this - the idea that one's 'basic human solidarity' is already flawed, that [we] are all beneficiaries or instruments of an outdated system whose founding principles disallow any 'latent possibility of a genuinely open and emancipated society' is a source of anxiety and self-doubt, it seems only to reveal an unreadiness to confront the ways in which one perpetrates the principles of this outdated system every day.
The call to deconstruct one's own institutions - which is what happens when you ask the long-historic question of how 'reactionaries' got a foothold in these, rather than doing the whole "shocked and appalled of Mute Magazine," thing - including the institutions of whiteness and patriarchy, seems like its gonna be long ugly work. To be absolutely clear: lets all act against fascism (aka the organic culmination of austerity policies, racial capitalism, the exhausted straining of an enlightenment ideology, and the fallout at end of empire/sovereignty) but don't imagine that it is somewhere far from where you are and what you are. That [set of] disidentification/s is what got [us] here. If you don't want it to happen again, you have to ask: why have I suffered it to happen so often already?