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William Morris (1891)
“The Socialist Ideal: Art”
New Review, January 1891
(reprinted in Art and Social Change, Will Bradley and Charles Esche, eds., London: Tate, 2007, pp. 47-52)

“…I assert that socialism is an all-embracing theory of life, and that as it has an ethic and a religion of its own, so also it has an aesthetic: so that to everyone who wishes to study socialism duly it is necessary to look on it from the aesthetic point of view.” [47]

[That is: socialism is more than an economic or political system, it is also a way of seeing and creating. One might extend this idea (though Morris does not) to argue that just as socialism engenders an aesthetic an esthetic may engender socialism. In the rest of the essay Morris criticizes “utilitarian brutality” of Victorian capitalism]

“For in fact, considering the relation of the modern world to art, our business is now, and for long will be, not so much attempting to produce definite art, as rather clearing the ground to give arts its opportunity.” [52]

[That is: part of the artist’s job is top change social conditions in order for art to flourish. Given this person is an artist, and art is their tool of choice and expertise, it’s a bit of a necessary Catch 22]

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