For a long time now, there has been a belief that art is useless and adds no value to society. Back in the 19th century when the world started embracing modernism, there was a strong belief that art was to bring some fundamental changes to the world. This was to impact positive orientation among the youths and change the perception of the world. It is for this reason that museums were conceived and established (Simmons, 1973). The society believed that visual art was vital in bringing the mankind together and ultimately benefit the society. This facilitated the establishment of museums because they were the best ways of bringing art to greater numbers of people. As time goes by, the idea that art was beneficial to the society lost credence gradually and the opposite idea took the centre stage. People began to despise art as its effects were not felt as earlier perceived. This was further backed by the fact that during the world wars, people expected art to come into play and help save the nations from the horrific and extreme wars but that did not materialize. This proved that indeed art had no effect on the society at all. This is because the two great wars made the society the worst place to be in as opposed to the expectation that art would make the society better (Painter, 2002).
A little history perusal indicates that more often what seem immoral initially a times do become the norm in the society. This justifies the artistic expression in society. People have often declare art impotent in affecting the society as a way of defending free expression for the last century (Painter, 2002). This is because the change in society is brought by millions of people not just a few individuals who may access the museum thus making absolutely difficult for the art to affect the world. Equally important, claiming that art has no effect on the society was used in defence of free speech. People believed that it doesnt hurt to have some art that are offensive to others. This was the driving phrase behind framing art as a useless tool in the world.
Many years ago, art was seen as a luxury of no proper use to majority of the people therefore making sense that art was indeed useless. Today, the world is well informed and majority of the population feel well fed and secure. These majority believe that art is very useful as it helps them satisfy their advanced needs in the society. Notably, this does not imply that art is a necessity that someone cannot live without. Viewing art in this perspective makes major know arts such as music, film and literature among others very important in the society. They help in satisfying the more advanced needs of individuals thus giving them the morale to basic survival and security needs. With these developments in the art industry, people stopped viewing art as useless long time ago and went ahead to drop the ancient belief that art is useless (Flynn, 2007).
Art is useless, and the uselessness can be seen in very many different ways. For instance, art does not instructor influence an action to be taken in any way. For a wide field such as art, it should be able to influence people to perform an action or do something such as the way other fields such as science, psychology or sociology influence people to think and do something. Art is considered by many people to be sterile, and the note of its pleasure is said to be sterility. For one to notice an artistic impression in anything, they must first contemplate following the work of art with activity to get the meaning of the work of art. Art focuses mainly on the impressions of a person on their personal front and does not depend on the opinion of the masses (Jahn, 1975). This shows that the field of art is selfish because it centres on personal impressions. What a person considers to be artistic may not be to another person, clearly showing art is only at the eyes of a person.
The uselessness of the work of art is likened to the uselessness of a flower that blossoms ones then die, and people forget it. As flower blossoms for its joy, the work of art also develops for its joy and that is what makes people like it in the first place. A person can tell whether they like a piece of art within the very few minutes of meeting the piece of art. Even though artists may sell art pieces, it is never about that art rather it is about misuse whereby the seller uses the piece of art to achieve something like monetary value.
In conclusion, its in order to point out that as much as many argued in the past that art is useless, art is not absolutely useless in the contemporary society. Art brings people together through friendships, love and companionships. People make friendship by having a common passion and this is facilitated by art as it help fulfil social needs (Flynn, 2007).
Flynn, Marella (10 January 2007). "October art walk aims to raise money, awareness for breast cancer". Flagler College Gargoyle. Retrieved 21 February 2013.
Jahn, Gary R. (1975). "The aesthetic theory of Leo Tolstoy's What is Art?". Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 34 (1): 59.
Painter, Colin. Contemporary Art and the Home. Berg Publishers, 2002. p. 12. ISBN 1-85973-661-0
Simmons, Ernest (1973). What is Art? in Tolstoy. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul. p. 178.
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