The slogan "art for art’s sake" arose in the 19th century with the core ethos being that art, true art is divorced, separated, alien from function, any and all functions.
But with this philosophy, there is room for critique, after all nothing is created in a bubble and artists are influenced by their society and as such so are their works.
Does art always have a message? Should it?
Many Marxist thinkers would argue art must have a meaning and purpose but even non-Marxists have levied criticism at this school of thought.
Is Art for Art’s sake a philosophy that is unfairly maligned? Is it a cynical defense from critique?
I think it’s also interesting to explore when we define that someone is to be considered an artist. As we age it’s much more difficult to explore things separated from fiction but as children there is a much more free exploration of art that is disconnected from our adult analysis. Is this something we are only able to harness in childhood? If so, is “art for arts sake” something we are trying to reconnect with in adulthood? – Denise Zubizarreta1 month ago
If one were to write about this topic, I believe they would absolutely need to mention Oscar Wilde. In the preface to Picture of Dorian Gray, he writes that "all art is quite useless". By trying to give a spin to the word "useless" -- and make it a word that doesn't necessarily have a negative connotation -- he responds to the idea that art should have a purpose, and instead suggests that it can simply be purposeful for its aesthetic qualities. I therefore don't believe that "art fort art's sake" is merely a cynical defense from critique. It simply asks you to critique it under different criteria! – chloew1 month ago