“Art for art’s sake is a philosophy of the well-fed.” Frank Lloyd Wright (from Brainyquote)
Creating art that is aimless loses the meaning and purpose of art. Much of the art of the 20th Century fits into the category of art for art’s sake. It has no meaning, no goal and very little value to the human soul. 20th Century art has been about art for art’s sake. Some has been about what the artist can do with paint or objects. Other art was about thumbing the nose at what is art. The Dada movement is one such movement. Abstract Expressionists were all about what they could do with paint. Andy Warhol was about Andy Warhol. Art became novelty driven. The well-fed have been running the art world for much of the past one hundred years. The art of the well-fed has lost all its nutritional value.
Art can be and is uplifting, edifying and nourishing to the human soul. The novelty- driven miss this key point. Truly fine art reaches inside and touches the depths of the soul. It feeds the spirit. “I propose that art is nutrition for the human spirit,” says the writer of Swordarts.com. If this statement is true, what have we been fed for the last one hundred years in art? Abstract Expressionism may be nourishment but is it good nourishment. Is Dada healthy fruits and vegetables or junk food? If we “are what we eat” then what have we become in the art world?
As art disperses from the traditional centers for art and out into the vast networks of local and regional art galleries, festivals and fairs, it has become better food for the soul. Many artists are making a point to be soul-nourishing in their art. “Our intention is make art for the soul to make the beholder feel good and for the beholder to enjoy,” is the stated intent on the website, Intentional Art for the Soul. It seems absurd to think Andy Warhol, Jackson Pollack and their contemporaries ever intended to help the beholder “feel good.” Many 20th Century artists fed viewers a steady diet of junk food. It tastes great at the time but has little long-term benefit. Now is the time to throw off the junk food and go for a nice big pot of nourishing art soup.