Art is useless

It has no purpose. It helps let go of the need to find a purpose. It’s a free-fall into purposelessness. It is art.

Art is masochistic. Art is selfish. Art is an escape. Art’s inspiration is called the Muse. The Muse looks a lot like suffering.

Art divides people. If it doesn’t, it has failed in its uselessness.

There are no certificates, no celebrations, no after-parties. Loneliness is where art goes to feast.

Your favorite book will be lampooned. What you think a bizarre artwork will sell for millions. You will walk past the most beautiful designs without much of a glance. The most ordinary music will sound better than anything you have heard. Art is the real singularity.

If art is useless, why do artists continue to make art?

Because they don’t know anything else. Knowing anything else feels like betrayal.

Art feels best when it’s over. This feeling lasts until the artist begins to miss the struggle and wants to go back to work the next day. This is the process ad-infinitum. There’s no greatness or virtue to this. It’s creating more uselessness because staring at the waste feels vain for a few short minutes every day.

None of this matters to the audience.  The audience looks at the art and tries to see how it can be useful to them. Some try to understand what the artist must have gone through while s/he was creating the art. This is futile. Art is an indecipherable emotional self-portrait. And what the audience makes of it is rarely the intention of the art.

For a long time, Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa was just another obscure painting hanging on to the walls of kings. The most famous painting in the world didn’t become famous until it was stolen from the Louvre in 1911. A wholly pathetic way to start seeing the value of art.

In and of itself, the painting meant little. The heist made a great story. And at the same time, people uncovered the genius of the artist who painted it.

You could take the real thing and put it in a local museum – call it a replica and its value with evaporate. It’s like the famous violist playing on the streets to no one’s interest. Art can be orphaned in no time.

A work of art is useless as a flower is useless. A flower blossoms for its own joy. We gain a moment of joy by looking at it. That is all that is to be said about our relations to flowers. Of course man may sell the flower, and so make it useful to him, but this has nothing to do with the flower. It is not part of its essence. It is accidental. It is a misuse. – Oscar Wilde

I wish I could tell you I have a grand plan for writing all this. I wish I could tell you I write pointlessly complex prose because there’s a deeper meaning to it. It’s none of that. The real answer is, I don’t know. It’s the best ‘I don’t know’ I know. It’s a curiosity surrounding the emptiness of an object rather than the object itself.

We all have multiple levels of uselessness on what we do with our lives. Still, we would like to believe what we are doing is useful. Art transcends this.

Because art starts at the useless. It helps the artist freely produce without being burdened by the need to prove anything. Art does not solve problems.

Art imitates evolution. It’s slow and never fully fathomable. Art is useless. The redemption takes centuries.

Posted in Art

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