Alain de Botton on art - Art for art's sake ?

Published 8 years ago

Channel:  Richard Tomes

Topics: Performing arts

Tags: ALAINARTBOTTONMODERNMUSICPHILOSOPHY

There are two really bad ideas that are hovering in the modern world that inhibit our capacity to draw strength from art.

The first idea is that art ...

There are two really bad ideas that are hovering in the modern world that inhibit our capacity to draw strength from art.

The first idea is that art should be for art's sake. A ridiculous idea.

The idea that art should live in a hermetic bubble and should not try and DO anything with this troubled world. I couldn't disagree more.

The other thing that we believe is that art shouldn't explain itself, that artists shouldn't say what they're up to, because saying it might destroy the spell - we might find it too easy. That's why, a very common feeling when you're in a museum or art gallery (let's admit it) is - 'I don't know what this is about' but if we're 'serious' people we don't admit to that. That feeling of puzzlement is structural to contemporary art.

Religions have a much saner attitude to art. They have no trouble telling us what art is about. Art is about two things in all the major faiths. Firstly it's trying to remind you of what there is to love, and secondly it's trying t...