John Berger: Art World Revolutionary

Joshua Sperling at Lit Hub:

For John Berger, who began not as a dreamer of the maelstrom but a campaigner for tradition, the very concept of the total transformation, sudden and exhilarating, was something he came to only later, after his hopes for postwar unity had dissolved. His early taste of political disappointment was in this sense unusual. It was not that the revolution of his youth had gone wrong or failed to come, but that the revolutions that did come, whether cultural (from America) or political (in the Eastern bloc), were of the wrong kind, from the wrong quarters. Meanwhile, the artistic New Deal he tried to encourage, as if brick-by-brick, was buckling under the weight of its own ambition. Like a rising tide, middle-class prosperity brought with it a host of new attitudes and aspirations: so-called “ad-mass” culture, “never had it so good” Macmillanism, the Americanized cult of cool.

more here.