But there’s more than one way to tame an artist, and liberal democracies have developed their own strategies of containment for the unruly. The deal liberalism has made with art is that artists can say whatever they want as long as they don’t touch anything that doesn’t belong to them. And artists have to compete for attention with multibillion-dollar corporations bent on entertaining their way into viewers’ pockets. That way, the risk to current structures of power is minimized without disturbing the state’s ostensible commitment to freedom of expression. And when art struggles in its fuzzy handcuffs, it generates new images for sale.
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