The Purpose of Art

June 6, 2010 |  by

There’s an easy way to tell – is something art, or is it entertainment?

Entertainment, at its best, makes us feel. It gives us experiences. But the experiences aren’t really ours – they’re someone else’s imposed onto us. In fact as entertainment consumers, that’s exactly what we want. To take a ride in someone else’s life. This was obvious after seeing Iron Man 2. I left the theater, fully locked and loaded. I could have robbed a bank.

Art has a different goal. Great art – music, painting, graffiti, whatever – leads us to our own experience. Art merely gives us a thread. But if we follow it – it brings us to our own imagination, our own inspiration…ourselves. In a way, art is an incomplete picture. It’s unfinished on purpose. It’s designed for us to complete the picture through our own experience. Just remember when a work of art really touched you. It awakened something at your core.

It made you more.

Entertainment gives us the whole picture, the big shebang. We don’t have to do anything. The “morning after” Iron Man, I wasn’t any different. It took me up – then dropped me back to where I was.

Art is incomplete. It holds back. It makes us do a bit of work.

It makes us discover.

Ourselves.

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1 Comment


  1. This is the best interpretation I’ve read, Nathan Jaye helped us to see the divide like water and land. It’s so true we tend to intermigle the two. There is a Chinese proverb – “Travelling 10,000 miles trumps reading 10,000 books.” Think of the time, say, we read about a daring adventure to the Mount Everest, didn’t we wish that we too could be there breathing the fresh air and touching the clouds? What a difference that would make!!! Or, when we read a book about a historical moment, didn’t we wish we could’ve witnessed the event, and also maybe, just maybe, we could’ve altered the course. So……let’s dive in and experience the world around us.

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