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e-book Is There A Point to Art?

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But there are real talents and real ideas too. The critic's task is to identify what is good and defend it come hell or high water — and to honestly denounce the bad.


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Art history can help in this task by enriching your perspective. Writing can give you a flexibility in how and when you want to engage. But engage we must. Engage we will.

What Is a Vanishing Point in Art?

Topics Art and design Jonathan Jones on art. Art blogposts. Reuse this content. Order by newest oldest recommendations. Show 25 25 50 All. Threads collapsed expanded unthreaded. Loading comments… Trouble loading?

What’s the point of pointless art?

Elliot, Four Quarters. Still Point is a gallery for the senses as much for the mind. It is an invitation to encounter light and shadow, the interplay between order and non-order, to hope or pray with the eyes, and imagine with other imaginations.

Artists shape cultural identities. They form questions and create space for others to sit with them.

Art that isn’t good for anything can often be very good indeed

Still Point offers artists a place to exhibit and to be seen. If an artist turned up who had the ability to produce not fantasy which deals in tawdry illusions but works of genuine imagination which deal in beautiful images or metaphors that draw us towards truth , he would be welcome in the city.

Good art, then, will cause the audience to fear what is in fact bad; to admire what is in fact admirable; to desire what is in fact good. If the educational and developmental value of art depends upon its capacity to reveal reality, why not just fund overtly reality-revealing disciplines like science instead? If rogue desires interfere with our ability to perceive reality, then art has a distinctive pedagogical role to play.

It would have been better if he had used an example of something we actually think bad, rather than of something merely perceived by the artist or his society to be so. Think of your own example instead. An unsatisfiable desire would normally be repressed into the unconscious—from where it might wreak havoc on our ability to perceive and act.

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In sublimation, this potentially disruptive power is defused by being redirected—via symbolic substitution—towards something thought of by the artist and his society as attainable and good. Through art, we find symbols for our feelings. Plato was right to worry about the potentially stultifying effects of art. But art need not be a fantasy-satisfying diversion from reality. As Aristotle, Freud, and Collingwood suggest, it can be instead a reality-revealing educator of desire. By offering symbolic substitutes for what are otherwise rogue reality-obscuring drives or desires, it has the potential to clarify our perception and eliminate our deepest motivational conflicts.

But whether or not we agree that true desires will always be for ethically good ends e. In these cases, we need symbolic substitutes to help re-direct and appease desire, in order for us to see reality aright.


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  7. Arts funding is regularly under threat. The sciences tend to be thought of as revelatory of reality; the arts as a poor relation, providing mere entertainment through fantasy at best.


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    Above all, if we want to develop people and enable learning, we need both.