The value of art is a hotly debated topic, and one that directly affects us as artists. We can view the value of art as being both its monetary value and its value to society. During this week, I've been sharing with you ideas from Ben Shahn's book "The Shape of Content" because I find that his analyses are important to me during this period in my career as an artist. Here's what Shahn says about the value of art:
"It is not the degree of communicability that constitutes the value of art to the public. It is its basic intent and responsibility. A work of art in which powerful compassion is innate, or which contains extraordinary revelations concerning form, or manifests brilliant thinking, however difficult its language, will serve ultimately to dignify that society in which it exists. By the same argument, a work that is tawdry and calculating in intent is not made more worthy by being easily understood. One does not judge an Einstein equation by its communicability, but by its actual content and meaning." Once again, we return to the intention of the individual artist in order to give value to the work. How many of us paint in order to reveal our relationship with this world, and how many paint only for praise/fame and income? If I read Shahn's idea correctly, it looks like we artists are directly responsible for imparting value to our work.