Art is an active verb.
For thousands of years art had a purpose: its beauty and power to move human soul were used as an integral part of ritual and religion, as a means of maintaining social order, and even to achieve political domination(eg. glorifying a leader or the heroism of a clan).
It was also decorative and no one saw anything wrong with it.
Unfortunately, the original rebellion of the avant-garde degenerated into extravagance for the sake of extravagance, into a pseudo avant-garde art, which having no purpose, had no real meaning and no beauty. No one understands it, and only fools eager to speculate buy it, following critic's advise. An outlandish model with an empty head, marching down the runaway dressed in absurdities, it has nothing to say to anyone.
A backlash against this was inevitable, and has in fact begun: the return of the technicians of art, of the painter-craftsmen. This return to basics is a positive development because it :
1.cancels the now sterile pseudo avant-garde.
2. ushers in a return of good craftsmanship, snubbed by the pseudo-avangardists
3. Brings back the idea that an art object sholud be beautiful.
But this is not enough, because it does not respond to the needs of the modern world. By itself, it offers nothing new, no answers to the problems the human spirit is facing today. Merely beautiful pictures can’t resolve ecological crisis which is threatening our planet, nor can they offer a vision of the future, and provide hope and moral strength to millions of desperate people in search of a new way of thinking.ust return to being useful again, though without losing the freedom it has gained in this century-being useful is not being subservient.
Subvert the machine.
Our society is soaked with falsehoods like a sponge with dirty water, and the advertising industry is the falsehood of falsehoods, a monstrous machine coercing people to buy unnecessary things by exploiting, especially and most ironically, art to spread false concepts.
We should subvert this machine, turn it back on itself. Let's publicize true, useful ideas, employing art as a means of reaching people, not cheating them, of bringing people together, not indulging in chest-thumping exercises that claim this brand, that candidate or those gadgets are the best when we know they are not. Everyone knows they are not. It's become a convention. No one is really fooled.
Publicize ideas. Publicize ways of changing. Publicize what our instincts tell us is true, not what everyone knows is false. The famous-infamous United Colors of Benneton ad campaign, with its artistic and politically charged photographs, gives a hint of what is possible: no product descriptions are given, no claims of superiority are made-there is only a visual statement, and the company's name. Who was exploited, the art or the company?
Public Service advertising, for everything from vaccination campaigns to theatrical productions-also publicize ideas, rather than products, often launched or endorsed by a company or a group of companies. The next logical step should be easy.
Pollution, for example, is one of our worst problems. A lot of lip service is paid to recycling, but no really serious effort is made to change things. Innovative companies offer various recycling ideas on the market, but too many financial and business interests are ranged
I make art out of garbage. Why not use this in a publicity campaign for recycling? The beauty, humor, and mystery of the art itself, together with the underlying fact that is made from scrape, from old newspapers and magazines, is a statement, with which the industry can be identified. And the statement isn't small: one of my works, Pandemonioum, recently exhibited to thousands of people at Milan's Lingotto Fair exhibition, stands 30 by 4 meters. All that's required is an agency with the right motivation and sensitivity to see the potential-and organise it. My mobile art gallery on a bicycle provoks great attention wherever it appers.
Artists can continue to be artists, and commercial firms to struggle for a market, while the agency links them to a common purpose.