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What's The Use Of Art? - Part 4

Posted by Jhan Dudley on

Whats the use of art - Part IV...

The 20th century, then, spawned a number of artistic 'movements', Cubism, Expressionism, Surrealism, Art Deco, etc., heralding a monumental change in the perception of what 'art' should be about. And, of course, each generation continues to add to, manipulate, and redefine the definition of art (by 'art', I mean 'fine arts'... art that is created as image, simply to be contemplated, rather than be 'useful'. Any artistic creation is, of course, meant to appeal to the senses in some manner; but a great variety of artful endeavors, ie., pottery, architecture, industrial design, illustration, etc., are meant to be primarily utilitarian in some way, beyond their immediate sensory appeal.).

These various movements, including the 'Pop' art and the Postmodern movement that still pervades much of today's contemporary art, all illustrate the most basic tenet of 'art'... that ultimately, the artist's purpose is to reveal or explain, 'reality'. From this perspective, then, we can be able to contemplate the 'value' of art we may not particularly even like. For instance, I've personally never been a huge Andy Warhol fan. But there's no doubt that in promoting a soup can to an iconic work of art, Warhol made a defining social statement on the very nature of modern-day society. It was, in a sense, the artistic version of Marshall McLuhan's now famous statement... 'the medium is the message'. In that way, like it or not, Andy Warhol's art can be viewed as a significant achievement, because it helps us understand that we are, in a very real sense, only what we create. And from this perspective, we can begin to appreciate the 'value' of art we may not even like! But, that said, there are still certain principles by which we can measure the 'expertise' of an artistic creation, and which ultimately contribute to it's perceived esteem and value. Tune in next week for more ...

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