Art for Art’s Sake

Notes on Creativity theme of the week:
To what end?

Ars Gratia Artis (Art for Art's Sake) in MGM logo

Take a moment to compare these three quotes from artists on the purpose of art. Consider which one resonates most with you:

Works of art, in my opinion, are the only objects in the material universe to possess internal order, and that is why, though I don’t believe that only art matters, I do believe in Art for Art’s sake.
– E. M. Forster, 1879-1970

Art for art’s sake is an empty phrase. Art for the sake of truth, art for the sake of the good and the beautiful that is the faith I am searching for.
– George Sand, 1804-1876

I mean, art for art’s sake is ridiculous. Art is for the sake of one’s needs.
– Carl Andre, 1935-

I would love to have witnessed a debate of these three, no-holds barred, to see which would come out on top. In truth, each purpose has best suited different works of art at different points in time.

I am not convinced that it is possible to have art purely for art’s sake. Intended or not, art always meets an end outside itself. Even if an artist means only to paint a green circle just to have it there, it elicits a response from viewers, consciously or not. They may love it, hate it, think of a childhood memory because of it… Art always does something.

Realizing that our work will have an effect beyond our control on ourselves and on others can inspire us- what we create matters.

Image source


Today’s 4 Minute Writer  


“It’s totally a pregnant lady. How can you not see it?”

“You’re paranoid, Judy, it’s just an avocado cut in half.”

“No, Blaine, look. See, the top is slender like the head, and then it balloons out like a pregnant lady, and the pit in the middle is the baby. It’s so freaking obvious!”

“Judy, you’re losing it. It’s a fruit. It grows on trees. People pick it, cut it, and eat it. Now just pick it up and eat it.”

“I’m not eating a pregnant lady.”


“You yelled at me. Blaine, how could you!”

“I’m sorry.”

“No you’re not. You think I’m crazy.”

“Yes, I am sorry, and yes, I do think you’re crazy. The two are not mutually exclusive.”

“It’s your baby in me that’s making me that way then, if that’s how I am.”

“Ok, it’s my fault. I can go with that. Just eat the darn thing. Come on, Judy, it’s good for you.”

Scoops out a piece onto a spoon. 
Mouth full she spits out, “I feel like a cannibal. Are you happy now?” 

Image source

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Filed under Creativity, Writing

8 responses to “Art for Art’s Sake

  1. OOOH! I’m looking forward to frequent visits here. Something tells me that this blog will be a source of great post-topics for my own.

    I will also look up the book mentioned about serious writing on your “About” page! Thanks for the reference. If you have not read it, and you probably have, I cannot recommend more highly the book by one of my favorite writers, Anne LaMott called “Bird By Bird.” Not only is it a great inspiration to writers, but also to any aspiring artist of any medium.

    Sounds like fun, and I will put you on my blog roll, and perhaps even submit something on this week’s theme!


    • Hi Paula, welcome to the site. Thanks for your kind words- I look forward to exchanging ideas with you on this site and on yours.
      I did at one point have an Anne LaMott book lent to me, but time lapsed without my reading it and I had to give it back. I didn’t even have blogging as an excuse for lack of time to read back then!
      I will have to get a blogroll up myself one of these days soon. I’m still poking my way around the blogosphere at the moment, building up my draft list. So interesting the way one site leads to another, then to another, and somehow so many appear to be connected by fewer than six degrees of separation.

    • V

      I agree .. .Anne Lamott is fantastic and one of my favourites. I’ve read only a couple and the last one being “Operating Instructions”. She is such a great writer!

      • That’s three votes for Anne- you, Paula, and the friend who lent me the book. Does Anne have a blog I can read? 🙂
        Right now I’m reading G.K. Chesterton’s Orthodoxy. Wow, to have a brain like that! I’m slowly making my way through it, as it does take some time to absorb all his ideas. I just finished a wonderful chapter on how pretty much everything he needed to learn he learned through fairy tales as a young child. He has a way of turning things on their head and revealing that this is truly the way things are.

  2. I love the avocado dialog! Ha! A nice blend of humor and appreciation for the part our imagination plays in our lives. I have half an avocado in the fridge. Thank you for reminding me. I think I’ll have a slice of the pregnant lady on my sandwich. Blessings to you…

  3. Catherine

    Thanks for sharing such a wonderful story with us. You have raised my imaginations!

    I look forward to reading more interesting articles written by you:)


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