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Arts and Culture The Social Order For decades, Western culture has been reluctant to assign an inherent value or a purpose to art—even as it continues to hold art in high esteem.
Though we no longer seem comfortable saying so, our reverence for art must be founded on a timeless premise: In what way might art be good for us? The answer, I believe, is that art is a therapeutic instrument: While several predominant ways of thinking about art appear to ignore or reject this goal, their ultimate claim is therapeutic as well.
We are conscious that, individually and collectively, we may grow complacent; art can be valuable when it disrupts or astonishes us. We are particularly in danger of forgetting the artificiality of certain norms. It was once taken for granted, for instance, that women should not be allowed to vote and that the study of ancient Greek should dominate the curricula of English schools.
When Sebastian Errazuriz created dollar signs out of ordinary street markings in Manhattan, his idea was to jolt passersby into a radical reconsideration of the role of money in daily life—to shake us out of our unthinking devotion to commerce and to inspire, perhaps, a more equitable conception of wealth creation and distribution.
One would completely misunderstand the work if it were taken as an encouragement to work harder and get rich.
Yet the shock-value approach depends upon a therapeutic assumption.
Shock can be valuable because it may prompt a finer state of mind—more alert to complexity and nuance and more open to doubt. The overarching aim is psychological improvement. Shock can do little for us, though, when we seek other adjustments to our moods or perceptions. We may be paralyzed by doubt and anxiety and need wise reassurance; we may be lost in the labyrinth of complexity and need simplification; we may be too pessimistic and need encouragement.
Shock is pleasing to its adherents in its assumption that our primary problem is complacency.
Ultimately, however, it is a limited response to impoverished thinking, timid or ungenerous reactions, or meanness of spirit. Another way of addressing these shortcomings is to pursue a deeper understanding of the past.
We also gain insight into how the painter imagined the past; the ceremony depicted took place over years before the picture was painted. We learn something about the economics of art—the image is part of a series commissioned by a wealthy commercial fraternity. In a less scholarly way, the richness with which a past era becomes visually present allows us to imagine what it would have been like to clatter across the wooden bridge, to be rocked along the canals in a covered gondola, and to live in a society in which belief in miracles was part of the state ideology.
We value historical information of this kind for various reasons: But these efforts lead back, eventually, to a single idea:Business and ethics essay journal reviewed review help about me examples essays grade 10 no to war essay yemen civil art in society essay media rich music is art essay life and love relationship essays respect.
Essay about my life experience kitchen. This list of one word art journal prompts will hopefully help you inspire to create fun pages all year round AND is now updated for with a FREE printable – so you can now take this list with you everywhere!
Have faced an art writing assignment, and do not know how to handle it correctly? Buy a custom essay from our art essay writing service you can fully rely upon. To consider art from a therapeutic point of view is not to abandon profundity but to embrace it and to return art to a central place in modern culture and modern life.
John Armstrong is a philosopher and senior advisor to the vice chancellor at the University of Melbourne; he is the coauthor, with Alain de Botton, of Art as Therapy, published. Database of FREE arts essays - We have thousands of free essays across a wide range of subject areas.
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