Art is useless.
You may find me appallingly uncultured or outrageously stupid for saying that, but read a little closer.
Useless is not a synonym for worthless.
In fact, art is worth so much that it is invaluable. Think about it – you don’t use art; you admire it, love it, are moved by it, fascinated, offended, entertained, saddened, pleasured, angered, inspired, intrigued, motivated by it…In other words, art is stimulation for the emotions.
But art has no immediate practical use. That’s probably why it gets glanced over in divvying out the school budgets and isn’t encouraged as a career unless you’re a prodigy – because it’s not productive. It doesn’t produce anything tangible, and it can be expensive to produce itself (think: movies, fashion, murals, concerts).
We all would be sad to see art go, though, wouldn’t we?
Like I said, art is the stimulation of emotions. It’s a mental release. It is a way to trade emotions without coming right out and saying it (which is sometimes more effective). We, as humans, innately need to express ourselves. Why would we have come up with language if we didn’t need to?
If you look at art for its face-value and purpose, you’re not looking at art at all. You’re looking at some color on a canvas; a graceful shape made out of earthen material; a series of tones and voices strung together; characters on a page; people moving about on a raised floor before a bunch of other people; some organic materials mixed together on a plate: you won’t find a purpose. Really, all the artist did was put materials together, rearranged them. When you look at art for a meaning, for a feeling, for sheer curiosity and wonder, then you’ll see it: the glorious painting; the meticulously crafted sculpture; the moving symphony; the gripping novel; the awe-inspiring piece of theater; the dish that’s to die for…and then you’ll feel it.
Art is not to use; it’s to experience.
Art is not to be valued; it’s to be measured only by how long it sticks with you when you leave it.
Art is not for practicality; it’s for it’s own sake.
If art were for anything but to be beautiful, it wouldn’t be beautiful at all. How can you admire something that has one specific purpose? It’s already interpreted for you. But something beautiful means something to you every time you experience it, whether it’s the same meaning or not, whether it’s the same as someone else’s meaning or not.
We need art just as much as we need everything else. If we want to stay sane, that is. Don’t try to value it – just allow it to connect with you.