Does art have a purpose?

Recently I got a text from a friend that said “What is the purpose of art?”

I wrote back quickly and said that I thought it did not have a purpose.

Then two things happened. I read about Christo’s new massive installation in Italy and how he once said,

“I will not do any piece of art that has a purpose. I want to create pure poetry and not propaganda.”

And then I did an interview with a woman who started an organization that brought artists into hospitals to design installations to make the environment more palatable to patients. (click here to listen)

I think there are many ways to understand the original question that was asked. To say that art does not have a purpose is also like saying art is useless, which has been said before in a similar context.

This week I am thinking how art can be useless and useful at the same time. Both are noble and worthy of recognition.

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