Just Kids Question #21 - The Goal of Art

by Patti Smith

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Just Kids Question #21 - The Goal of Art

Unread postby Liz » Mon Sep 09, 2013 8:12 pm

Pg. 65:

In my low periods, I wondered what was the point of creating art. For whom? Are we animating God? Are we talking to ourselves? And what was the ultimate goal? To have one’s work caged in art’s great zoos – the Modern, the Met, the Louvre?

I craved honesty, yet found dishonesty in myself. Why commit to art? For self-realization, or for itself? It seemed indulgent to add to the glut unless one offered illumination.


What is the goal of art and how does that relate to or expressed through these words?
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Re: Just Kids Question #21 - The Goal of Art

Unread postby Gilbert's Girl » Tue Sep 10, 2013 2:08 am

Thats a very large question I think, are you doing art for your own pleasure or for the enjoyment of others. But if its for others what are you trying to acheive by showing it, what are you trying to tell people. Not sure its an easy question to answer but I'm sure its the same question that has been asked through time.

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Re: Just Kids Question #21 - The Goal of Art

Unread postby Liz » Tue Sep 10, 2013 10:05 pm

I think it's evolved over time, as with everything. I think art used to be seen as something for others or as a way to praise God or pay homage to "the gods." But I've never looked at it that way in my life. I've mostly done it for myself. I have done it for others - gifts, mural for daughter, wall covering for son, interior decoration, jewelry for adornment, posters for work. But I have no problem with doing it just for the sake of doing it. It can be so cathartic.

To me, if you want to do it, do it. If you want it to be a lucrative pursuit, then maybe you should cater to your target customers.

But I don't think that the act of creating art should be governed in any way.
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Re: Just Kids Question #21 - The Goal of Art

Unread postby RamblinRebel » Wed Sep 11, 2013 9:34 pm

Well, you know it’s funny. In my low points I’ve had very similar thoughts about my own work. I develop software for a living and there are many times when I've asked myself those big picture questions - What’s the point of what I do all day? Am I contributing anything to society, to human kind, to the earth? Will anyone down the road be better off because of what I’m doing? I might be helping a company reduce costs or increase sales, but really, what’s the point of that? Why should I bother? As Patti said, ‘What is the ultimate goal’? It’s those haunting, big-picture, “why are we here”, type of questions…

And I said it’s funny because it’s at those times that I usually start to think I should have been an artist! (I actually wanted to pursue art, but for a wide variety of reasons I didn't and ended up in programming). So I start to think to myself, as an artist, you could maybe inspire someone, maybe make people laugh or feel joyful. Maybe consider something that they might have overlooked. Or maybe invoke an emotion in someone that might lead to an action that actually could make the world a better place. Or if nothing else, maybe just make the world more interesting or more beautiful. And certainly there’s the potential to leave a positive mark in a more permanent way.

So I guess my point is that I don’t think those questions are at all specific to art. I think most of us probably have them from time to time, but if you’re pursuing art, well, in my mind you actually might be able to provide a valid answer. :eyebrow:

I also really like Pablo Picasso’s much different take on it: “The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.” As a consumer of art (music, books, movies, poetry, etc.) boy that’s a really great description of what it does for me. It eases the drudgery of the daily grind, ya know?

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Re: Just Kids Question #21 - The Goal of Art

Unread postby Liz » Wed Sep 11, 2013 11:29 pm

Well, I think we all need software. And it appears to becoming more and more important. My clients (EDA folks) hope for a meeting of the minds between the software guys and the hardware guys for co-design. It is our world today. It is software driven. And it may not have some lofty societal benefit, but we'd all be lost without it. So I appreciate you software guys.
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Re: Just Kids Question #21 - The Goal of Art

Unread postby fireflydances » Sat Sep 14, 2013 10:14 pm

I've been out of town for almost a week and I missed all these lovely questions. Family business, good thing but very intense thing.

In any case, I did a lot of thinking on this particular one and I believe that RamblinRebel really hit the nail on the head. We all experience self doubt about pursuing what we've chosen to spend so much time doing, especially if what we do is our passion. It feels ego-driven and therefore insular and selfish. But if you stand back and consider all of us working in the wide world doing all sorts of things, we are all like flowers in a giant field. The orange flower doesn't question whether another orange flower is necessary. Rather all variation on beauty are worthwhile and contributes to the whole. We are part of something larger, you know? We are fulfilling our humanity.

I loved the Picasso quote about art washing the dust off our souls. I actually think all human disciplines -- art, mathematics, the branches of science, literature -- contribute to the creation of humanity's "vision" of the universe. We are using different vehicles but the human desire to explain, understand, illuminate, and define is always there. This makes every human action worthwhile and necessary. There is no glut of art whether hung on refrigerators or museum walls. Ten thousand years from now someone will do something beautiful and it will be welcome and necessary.
"Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed and some few to be chewed and digested." Sir Francis Bacon, Of Studies

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Re: Just Kids Question #21 - The Goal of Art

Unread postby Buster » Sun Sep 15, 2013 4:56 pm

Kurt Vonnegut wrote, "To practice any art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow. So do it."

I think he's right. And perhaps it illuminates a bit the question, "What is art?" - it is the thing that, when you practice it, makes your soul grow.

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Re: Just Kids Question #21 - The Goal of Art

Unread postby RamblinRebel » Tue Sep 17, 2013 1:06 am

Liz wrote:And it may not have some lofty societal benefit, but we'd all be lost without it. So I appreciate you software guys.
:grin: Thanks, Liz.

fireflydances wrote: I actually think all human disciplines -- art, mathematics, the branches of science, literature -- contribute to the creation of humanity's "vision" of the universe. We are using different vehicles but the human desire to explain, understand, illuminate, and define is always there. This makes every human action worthwhile and necessary.
That's a very interesting perspective. I'm going to ponder that one.
fireflydances wrote:There is no glut of art whether hung on refrigerators or museum walls. Ten thousand years from now someone will do something beautiful and it will be welcome and necessary.
I agree!
Buster wrote:Kurt Vonnegut wrote, "To practice any art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow. So do it."

I think he's right. And perhaps it illuminates a bit the question, "What is art?" - it is the thing that, when you practice it, makes your soul grow.
I really like that, Buster!

There's a lot of nice thoughts on this thread!

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Re: Just Kids Question #21 - The Goal of Art

Unread postby Liz » Tue Sep 17, 2013 1:14 am

RamblinRebel wrote:There's a lot of nice thoughts on this thread!

Indeed! :ok:
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.


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