The Purpose of Art

While Reading Portrait of Jennie I came across a quote which immediately struck me: “Art should belong to the masses.”…”Art can have meaning only to the creative spirit itself.”(50) I am concurrently doing a study of Pablo Nerudas Odas Elementales which in their very nature seem to coincide with the “Art should belong to the masses” idea. They are a collection of Odes to every day things, but through metaphor they transcend the very things they are describing. It is fascinating to see Arne Kunstler seemingly contradict himself in the same way that Morris’ interviewees do in Gates of Heaven. Personally I believe that art is both personal and for the masses. It is hard to imagine that anyone will ever react the same way from, or draw the same emotion from a piece of art. Our experiences are too different. As we can see with Morris’ playing with metaphor and symbol in Fast, Cheap and Out of Control, it is hard to imagine that anyone will draw the exact same relationships from watching a film. As we watch films, we all correlate them to our lives, whether it be rejecting its contents as being outside our realm, or empathizing with the characters or attributes of the film. In this way only the original creator of the art will feel it in its intended form, everyone else will feel shades of this, but we will add and subtract to this drawing from our own experience. In our relationship with works of art they become alive. Just like we were wondering what makes Little Women so powerful and current across generations, and how Nathan wondered about why Jennie, which he did not consider to be his best work, was so highly regarded. Sometimes a work of art achieves a status beyond the capabilities of the artist. “If you analyze it to much, life can become meaningless” but in the same token you need to analyze life to a degree to give it meaning… art is the same way.
Pablo Neruda

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