Is it possible to use well-established Artistic ideas, such as Dada and Surrealism, to create anti-establishment shock-art? Or would I just be flogging another dead horse? And would it still be Art?
In its time, Dada was a counter to the cultural status-quo, defining itself by what it was not, and what it was against, as much as anything it was for.
While a lot of the concepts that Dada railed against are still prevalent in our societies, is hailing back to previous movements merely giving oneself the label of “Rebel”?
Dyed hair and piercings have lost their 70s-punk power and are now considered mainstream. “The Persistence of Memory” appears on postcards. Banksy murals are bought and sold by local Councils.
Is there anything left to rebel with? Is rebellion itself a form of acceptance? Has questioning authority become a new form of subservience? Is writing a blog-post, assisted by wikipedia and thesaurus.com, bemoaning the impossibility of rebellion just grasping at passing bandwagons?
For new Art to be challenging, it must address the Culture of the day, in ways that acknowledge that culture as existing, identify its flaws and clash with it in a meaningful way. Harking back to times long gone, whose rebellions are now identified, clarified and classified, does no more to advance the cause of Creative Mutiny (or Mutinous Creation) than repetitively quoting well-scripted jokes about spontaneity.
Does one need to study the history of Art, of anti-art, of punk and pop-art, to qualify as a bona-fide rebel? Or does that study inherently embed one in the established traditions?
The answers to the questions raised here, as I read so many times in text-books, are left as an exercise for the reader. Please show your working.