Why have art?

29 May

No, this isn’t some philosophical question about mankind’s quest for aesthetic pleasures; it’s really more the result of some bad planning on my part.  I’m moving to a new apartment this weekend, and although I don’t have time to really research a new post I have been thinking about art quite a bit recently.

I’m sure at some point in time in your life you’ve put something up on your wall – a family picture, a favorite movie, musician, maybe an actual piece of art.  What exactly were you trying to say with that Abbey Road poster on your dorm room wall?  The obvious answer is, “I like the Beatles,” but why stick a picture of them on your wall?  Why not just listen to them on repeat?  Here’s the thing – the same reasons why you put that poster up on your wall are also the same reasons why art was first created.  We want to surround ourselves with things that are beautiful, familiar, thought-provoking, or all of the above.  If we can think about why we have art, the questions about a particular work that seemed so complicated before can become a bit easier.

What we put on our walls is part of our identity.  Me?  So far the only thing I’ve decided for my new place is that a James Bond poster is going over my couch.  I like 1960’s design, and I’m a huge Bond fan.  I suppose you could also say that I’m trying to project some sort of hip, international swinger vibe, and maybe I am.  I like to think I’m not that pretentious, though.  All I can hope to find is something to decorate my space that I can connect to in some way.  At least I can spend my time perusing a poster website instead of commissioning an artist to paint frescoes on the wall.  The reasons for it may be the same, but acquiring art has at least gotten easier over the centuries.

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