clap clap blog: we have moved

Friday, October 17, 2003
Somewhat random point:

I think the reason we have arguments like this is because, ultimately, no one's ever come up with a satisfactory answer for the fundamental question of what, exactly, the purpose or use of art is. Sure, the process of art is sometimes conceived of as having theraputic value, but that's just the process, regardless of the outcome. And sure, sometimes pieces of art are sold for large sums of money. But art partisans likely reject both of these valuations, as they conflict with our communal standards; art-as-therapy requires us to judge all art equally, or to judge it based on its effect on the artist's pysche, and art-as-product makes the value of a piece determined by the market rather than a more abstract critical taste. I think, at our heart, we can all agree with both of these; while I do think megapop is good, partially because of its mass appeal, I'm unwilling to say that Luke Haines' art is invalid because it's not widely known. Art-as-therapy doesn't explain why a painting is in a museum and, say, a hand puppet or a diary isn't; art-as-product doesn't explain a book that costs $5.99 in paperback, like Moby Dick, is, as an experience rather than an object, supposed to be more valuable than a $20 blender. What is the use of art?

It's a question I've given a lot of thought to--like, two years or so, and maybe that'll all come out sometime, but I need to read more Wittgenstein. Suffice to say it's related to politics and speech and a lot of the kind of things I talk about here when I get in my theoryhead cups. Just an abstract teaser for something that may never appear, but the question is worth asking.

Today is Lethem-day, so not much from me until the review is complete.