I guess I had in mind this more representational artwork, like landscapes, cityscapes, anatomy based paintings of “the figure”, and all this abstract modern art stuff that’s popular nowadays. Why I say they uphold safety, repetition and authority; mostly because they are safe and almost dead subjects. There is not much there that will radically change anything at this point in time, they are more of a means to show intelligence and status for the people around those artworks. I guess the reactionary or revolutionary work deals with reality, but opposing certain construct, so it is different in that sense. At this point in time, a Banksy painting is now considered pretty tame in terms of controversy and like high-end expensive artwork.
Maybe its just the artworld that eats up genuine art and transforms it into something it is not, often making it into some sort of esoteric work that only high intelligence people can understand and truly appreciate. Even Dark Art has the danger to fall into that category, if we become too accustomed to it and expect certain norms of it. I think it would almost need that underground nature to it, to be relevant. Once it becomes too popular and normalized, I would expect the reactionary revolutionary paintings would become something like the old renaissance Christian themed paintings.
So I think art is there, to bring some kind of balance into our society and culture. What is not accepted now, will become mainstream later. Human beings are always seeking some kind of balance, sometimes they desire to see something dark when things are going well for them, maybe to feel a sense of danger or excitement. Once they experience turmoil, they would gravitate towards more positive and firm-reality paintings.
As for so called “Dark Artists”, I don’t think they should really focus on society’s needs or humanity’s needs. They should be focused on delivering their inner vision, so that the artwork remains genuine and the idea pure. The pure idea, I believe has an intention in itself that the artist himself might not be aware of.
Once you try to control the idea or it’s impact, it actually starts to lose it. It’s like David Lynch says, ideas are like fish, you just have to catch them. For some, the only ideas they have are dark, for others a bit lighter, but all in all, I believe ideas are not ours. That’s what artists do, they just paint, like a tool or a vehicle for passing ideas, and then society reacts in a certain way or doesn’t react.