Artists are sometimes viewed as idols, cultural stars whose creative abilities are accompanied by self-promotion and marketing skills. Andy Warhol embodies this ideal type of artist, capable of mastering our society's major sphere of power: the market.
Political leaders write poetry and novels. Artists believe their works can alter the course of history. Bigwigs hire famous sculptors to build mausoleums, thus defying bad luck and ridicule. Teams of architects are engaged in order to rebuild earthquake-stricken towns with the lofty goal of transforming them into open-air museums. Just as power is irresistibly drawn to aesthetics, art also expresses a veritable will to power. More so than in the past, today the relationship between art and power features a deep and inescapable ambiguity, against the backdrop of the market, capable of engulfing even the most protest-oriented forms of expression, such as Banksy's street art.
Alessandro Dal Lago has taught Sociology at the Universities of Milan, Bologna and Genova.
Serena Giordano is an artist and teaches at the Academy of Fine Arts in Genova.