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  • "[Art is] a human activity having for its purpose the transmission of the highest and best feelings to which men have risen. "
  • ~ Leo Tolstoy, Russian novelist, 1828 – 1910
  • "Any young person who has studied Heidegger; or seen Ionesco’s `plays’; or listened to the `music’ of John Cage; or looked at Andy Warhol’s `paintings’- has experienced that feeling of incredulous puzzlement: But this is nonsense!… if it made sense, it could be evaluated. The essence of modern intellectual snobbery is the `emperor’s new clothes’ approach. Teachers, critics, our self-appointed intellectual elite make it quite clear to us that if we cannot see the superlative nature of this `art’- why, it merely shows our ignorance, our lack of sophistication and insight. Of course, they go beyond the storybook emperor’s tailors, who dressed their victim in nothing and called it fine garments. The modern tailors dress the emperor in garbage.. "
  • ~ Ron Merrill, American writer, died 1998
  • "When a work lifts your spirits and inspires bold and noble thoughts in you, do not look for any other standard to judge by: the work is good, the product of a master craftsman. "
  • ~ Jean de la Bruyere, French writer, 1645 – 1696

Insane World

Visual art is a leading indicator of the way in which society is moving, and one of the most obvious and visible signs that sanity has lost its way. Blank white canvases; photographs of men having sex with each other; paint haphazardly thrown onto a canvas and called art – these are representative of “modern art.”

One of the greatest frauds of modern times is the idea that art should be difficult to understand, and that a sign of sophistication and intelligence is understanding what is incomprehensible to the uninitiated. The result is a farce: Those who wish to appear sophisticated pretend to see meaning where there is none.

Living Sanely

Art has a definite purpose: to show what people can and should be. The best art – whether literature, visual, or music – inspires us to be our best. Art is a way of integrating our values; saying in one picture what, as the saying goes, it would take 1,000 words to explain.

In this sense, the best art affects us in an immediate and emotionally captivating way. Great art reaffirms our most important values; mediocre art confuses; bad art degrades us. The best art lifts us up; the worst art shows contempt for the idea that there is any “up.”


Find art that inspires you to be your best self.

Read Our Forum for Living Sanely In An Insane World

Chapter 23 of 35

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