Art & Cultural Relevance

What is the relevance of the visual, or rather, the fine arts in American culture today? Yes corporations and businesses like to hang it on their walls and place it in the entry ways to let people and prospective clients know that they themselves are culturally adept and savvy possibly.

But does this define what art is? Mere decoration?

I pose that this is merely an example of human’s innate need for beauty, an involuntary desire to look upon and contemplate beauty itself hoping to at some point find closure to life’s big questions; who are we? where did we come from? why am I here? what happens when we die? People often look at artwork, when it is done successfully, with the same or very similar contemplative gaze as one has when admiring a beautiful summer sunset, a crystal clear midnight sky laden with shining stars and slowly moving satellites, or the snow-capped mountains from the warm sanctuary of the green grassed valley.

With this in mind the fine arts have a massive and exuberant task, one filled to the brim with doubt that is juxtaposed with exploratory optimism and anticipation for delving into the unknown to make it known for all. So to answer the cynic’s question, “What’s the point (of art)?”, to pursue answers to life’s big questions and when understood in whole or in part communicate this understanding in the form of art. An artwork might appear to be “abstract” but upon a little intellectual investigation one might leave with a better understanding and/or purpose of his/herself.


-Robert Alsobrook


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