Tag Archives: politics

marsh sketch / debunking a famous quote

Do you remember that famous quote, “Art should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable.” ?

sounds like b-s to me. It makes me think they want art to be political and that is not the main reason for art.

When I was in art school my wise teachers told us art serves 3 purposes, decoration, illustration and self expression. Self expression being the least important. It’s only the huge egos of the modern art world that think they can change society with a painting. And who cares about my self expression? I don’t have that kind of ego. I blame my parents. You might want to thank them. If an art viewer is savvy enough to analyze my paintings, there’s plenty of information in there about me. I can’t keep self expression out of it. I don’t need to deliberately make paintings expressing my moods.

Now, let’s say I know a disturbed person. Am I going to show them Starry Night and think that will comfort them? If I want to comfort someone who is disturbed I’ll find out what’s bugging them and try to find a real practical solution. If I showed Starry Night to a disturbed person and asked them if that comforts them they might say yes because they think I want to hear a yes. Then they go right back to their problems and forget Starry Night instantly.

What if I had some resentment to people who are comfortable? I don’t, but that would be political and if someone’s comfortable why should I try to ruin that for them. They’re not hurting me.

I don’t care really, if art metaphorically stomps on some high muckety muck’s toes. Whatever. I only want to say, if a quote sounds stupid, stop repeating that nonsense. Make art for illustration or decoration. Making the comfortable disturbed is a weak kind of art.