International manifesto of the left-bourgeoisie

  1. Flying around the world, attending art biennials and eating expensive meals puts us in touch with the wretched of the earth – by underlining exactly what it is that peasants and workers are missing out on.
  2. Like the lumpen-proletariat, the left-bourgeoisie is a distinct class fraction and cannot be conflated with its bourgeois and lumpen enemies. Since the proletariat has failed to act as a class for itself, we have no choice but to lead it to taste and discernment via our elevated aesthetic principles (viz, if you liked Damien Hirst, you’ll love Takashi Murakami – and don’t forget that the current Tate show featuring both of them takes its name from the 1991 album Pop Life by Bananarama!).
  3. Since Art Review currently ranks Hans Ulrich Obrist as the single most powerful person in the art world, we look to him as our ‘man of steel’. He’s faster than a speeding bullet and susceptible to nothing but an unfortunate tendency to be distracted in the middle of a conversation by his BlackBerry! Obviously Obrist isn’t really the most powerful man in the world – but with the art market collapsing, Art Review couldn’t place a collector or dealer in pole position, or hand this accolade to Nick Serota (who having massively expanded the Tate franchise is now merely adding an extension to Tate Modern). That said, the left-bourgeoisie prefers illusion to reality, and so we are more than willing to risk our all on a rather arbitrary Art Review ranking!
  4. Because long manifestos are so last-century, and we are on our way to another networking opportunity disguised as an expensive meal, we’ll restrict our ‘international manifesto of the left-bourgeoisie’ to four points: but if we can think of any more we won’t hesitate to add them later. For us, knowing lots of famous people is way more important than being theoretically coherent.
  5. Art is like an over-masticated piece of chewing gum and the more tasteless it becomes the more we like it! The future of world culture will emerge from the dialectical synthesis of this and point one (above). With a little help from Mike Stanley of course!
  6. Did we ever tell you what Hou Hanru said to us in Venice? If not ask about it next time we see you…
  7. It is impossible to beat our enemies at their own game. Likewise, to participate in a system that is inherently corrupt gives credence to the Labour Party and trade unions (we always knew they were our enemies). Art, on the other hand – what we discretely refrain from calling elite high culture – is a necessary evil that must be used in the self-defence of the left-bourgeoisie and progressive proletariat! All power to the curators’ and collectors’ councils! Forward with Vasif Kortun!
    Paul McCartney, Charles Tompson and Pi Li on behalf of The Left-Bourgeois Club of Great Britain (formerly The National Satanist Movement of Europe, the Americas, Australia, North Africa, the Middle East, the Northern Fringes of the Indian Subcontinent and related dependencies including New Zealand and the Solomon Islands).
    And while you’re at it don’t forget to check – – you know it makes (no) sense!


Comment by Zen Master K on 2009-10-30 09:38:17 +0000

I really like Michael Stanley’s plans to turn the current wasteful bookshop space at Modern Art Oxford into a gallery, and the rubbish ground level space into the bookshop – plus moving the entrance and cafe into the courtyard is freeing up the basement for events. The redone space is gonna be great!

Comment by Justin McKeown on 2009-10-30 09:58:54 +0000

I have a manifesto addressing point 1 of this manifesto:

Comment by devotionalhooligan on 2009-10-30 12:39:40 +0000

nice post stew … lovely idea justin …

Comment by The Real Tessie on 2009-10-30 20:16:37 +0000

You thought you’d got rid of me but you haven’t… I’m back!

Comment by Sapho of Lesbos on 2009-10-30 20:52:52 +0000

the left-bourgeoisie are a groove sensation!

Comment by Wolfgang Airvent Brabinger on 2009-10-30 22:00:32 +0000

…does this mean your not planning ” to go quietly” ???

Comment by Mark Nugent on 2009-10-30 22:10:10 +0000

art pimps you mean! the struggle never ends and never go quietly…..ha!

Comment by Frank Discussion on 2009-10-31 09:25:10 +0000

The question is do we hang ’em or shoot ’em?

Comment by This Is Not Iwona Blazwick on 2009-10-31 10:53:40 +0000

If you want to get down with some left-bourgeois action when you’re in town, call me to find out what’s happening in east London. Whitechapel Gallery 020 7334 3922.

Comment by This Is Not Nick Serota on 2009-10-31 12:00:52 +0000

The Whitechapel does it well, but The Tate does the left-bourgeois tango even better!

Comment by David Sylvester on 2009-10-31 12:40:13 +0000

we’ll do the tango, we’ll try a fox-trost, I’ll eat a mango, you’ll drink a straight Scotch…..

Comment by The Almost Fake Waldemar Januszczak on 2009-10-31 13:02:25 +0000

Time and time again the left bourgeoisie (and I am one of its most prominent members) has proved that it knows its onions! That’s why the Press Association has twice voted me its Critic Of The Year! Forward to a world of wonders with the left-bourgeois popular front!

Comment by Scott MacLeod on 2009-10-31 13:39:49 +0000

groovy. see you at darfur bienalle.

Comment by A.Psychiatrist on 2009-11-01 11:55:14 +0000

Dear Client/Casual Observer [delete as appropriate]…
Please help us stop this senseless cruelty by sending us all your friend’s unused / half chewed medication…particularly stunnozine/ strontium 90 suppositories and especially the didacto-thwackerol 400’s / duncerine 200mg’s, as theyre a really good smoke [terms and conditions apply]…Don’t call us … We’ll call you…kindest regards etcetera… Nursie [on behalf of A.Psychiatrist / dictated – not read]

Comment by Francis Farmer on 2009-11-01 15:24:11 +0000

OMG! I need a drink and some prozac – and a facelift!

Comment by Simon Evans on 2009-11-01 15:29:15 +0000

Errr err Francis… I’ll buy you a drink. God and I agree with all the shitty things you say about people who have got more talent under their toenails than you have in your entire corpse-like body.
(God – the things a guy has to say to get into a girl’s knickers!!)

Comment by Michael K on 2009-11-02 10:46:04 +0000

What is it with french words and left politics? I havent understood a thing for years but just not my head apparently knowledgably when things like ‘bourgeois’ and ‘proletariat’ are mentioned, not to mention words like ‘engrenages’
It’s about time the english language was cleared of this foreign muck which is why I’m off down the High Street for some fish and chips. Freedom for Tooting!±

Comment by Rob La Frenais on 2009-11-02 13:38:35 +0000

You can have your cake and eat it! Get a train (remember those?) to your next biennale and be the greenest ubercurator and meet real people on the way!
(see Also, for homegrown power networking ‘standard’ class style see Bring Back British Rail! (

Comment by Michael Roth on 2009-11-04 06:11:50 +0000

I’m a member of the left-bourgeoisie because I have heard of the people mentioned in the manifest only in passing, but I acknowledge their supremacy in setting forth a system of ideas. If they are in a manifesto then they must be relevant!? Being vacuous is such a groove sensation!

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