Art Is Its Own Purpose

I am in the midst of a project right now that, I am certain, will be the purest artistically motivated thing I do. Not for me, mind you. I’m being motivated by the promptly paid invoices.

The artist at the center of this, however, is creating something based solely on his internal imperative. He has a concept, and he has arrived in his life at the fortunate place of being able to hire an army of people to construct that concept. I’ll share more with you later, but the lid is pretty tight on it until after the public debut.

Here’s the overall conception: he has become disgusted with the modern world’s relentless pursuit of easy and fast. In response, he is creating 35 different large-scale projects (and I do mean truly large) that are all inherently hard. Hard to design, hard to execute, and impossibly difficult to grasp and understand as an observer. They are projects that invite you to spend some time in the midst of them, knowing from the very beginning that there isn’t enough time in your life to even observe the entire project, let alone understand it.

Nothing is for sale. Nothing is entertaining, except incidentally. There is nothing in this project that does not begin and end with the artist’s aesthetic conception. It is, for better or worse, the purest piece of art that I’ve ever encountered.

I’ve been remembering this quote, that I think is from the introduction to Rimsky-Korsakov’s book on orchestration, but it’s also possible that I just made it up and have been attributing it to him.

“Art is its own purpose. If it assumes any other purpose, then it descends into mere politics and commerce.”

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