“The question at the heart of Manchester Art Gallery’s removal of ‘Hylas and the Nymphs’: is curatorial activism a right or an obligation?”
Or a tactic.
Make a provocation > people react > claim the reaction is oppression + proof that further purification is needed.
This is how the zeitgeist advances: Progressives control the space of the gallery and therefore the work / speech on display / circulating within it.
There are relatively few positions available at the top. One way to access them is to virtue signal that you’re more progressive than everyone else.
Note: The ratchet is Asymmetric and can only turn in one direction. Signalling anti-progressive ideas or sympathies in order to differentiate yourself alerts the autoimmune response of the System.
There’s a reason right wing artists work under pseudonyms, while “militant” leftist artists secure funding + political protection: The System wants the ratchet to turn in the direction they are turning it.
In this way artists and curators, far from being critical of the System, are actually integral to it. They are ideological, aesthetic thought police, committed to the destruction of the past for its irredeemable sins.
By judging the past through the lens of today’s progressive morality, progressives weaponise a diagnostic-dialectical mechanism to actualise their power in the future.
Of course, most individuals are not successful in actualising their own personal power. But the advance of the System, via the progressive zeitgeist, does not require them to be.
They are merely willing grist to the progressive mill.