First of all, art is everywhere. No one lives without it. Anything manufactured had some stage in its development called the ‘art’, all forms of advertising involve art, and there’s art in what you’re sitting on, in what you’re wearing, and in whatever you’re looking at now. Artists at some level designed everything we see except the trees and grass. Only some of it is finally actually called ‘art,’ but if there ever was a line it’s been well trespassed.
What’s good or bad art is a difficult distinction. Today let’s consider a nutritional model derived from our community-wide, newly-minted food consciousness, just for its ready-made template. If art was food, someone would argue that some things are good for you and some aren’t, and people would talk about it, read about it, and think about it a lot. All in all, nutritional awareness has been a positive development for our general health, and in the end will be beneficial for all. However, seeing what we ‘see’ through a similar lens is still up the road aways.
You have to give up a certain amount of attention to make art work at all. The colored lights from the TV are just movement to your cat, but you see people, guns, explosions -- maybe even feel a minor jolt of adrenalin, there on the couch. We are visual creatures with the ability to interpret meaning from flat images, and when we engage with visual art we get glossier or we feel depleted, depending on what we’re looking at, let’s say good or bad.
Take pornography. Does the avid fan actually have an improved love-life and are they more likely to convey wit and self-possession at social gatherings, are they more able to concentrate and apply full attention to the task at hand? I wouldn’t know the answer, but I think I can anticipate what nine out of ten of these same folks would say. That’s a cheap example, but what about advertising which uses art to seduce us into buying stuff, and which can, in itself, be borderline porn. Advertising is everywhere inescapable. In visual terms, it’s a fast food world and we’re all on the go, victims of convenience.
There are those who will tell you that people who have healthy diets with fresh fruit and vegetables don’t need the vitamin supplements, but if you’re only consuming big macs better fortify with one-a-days. Or, if you prefer organic, try original art which elongates the attention span, fortifies self awareness, and once owned provides a point of stability and duration in the churning of tables and chairs you’re going to be calling home for the rest of your life. This product is easily available from a variety of outlets, but a word of warning: the labels are all bogus, so you’re on your own deciding what to buy. Compromised government agencies make up daily requirements to reward their buddies. Everyone knows this.
It’s a wide-open fresh market even if you only consider art created in your own area, and you shop by what looks good that day. What you’re seeking is the sort of produce which continues to ripen for as long as you have it, which radiates awareness and commitment if that’s what went into it, and which in time becomes intimately familiar without disappearing. Will it improve the owner’s love-life, inspire wit and conviviality, or make their work day seem more rewarding? I wouldn’t know the answer to that either, but I’d be willing to bet that more than one out of ten would say it did.