The Nature of Art

What's the point of art? There isn't just one point. The following is an attempt to categorize art based on its purpose.

Information. Stories tell us about how the world works. For instance, "Guernica" tells us about war.
Emotion. When listening to music, I often choose my song based on what mood I'm in or what mood I want to be in.
Entertainment. Apart from any intellectual or social benefit, a movie can pass time enjoyably.
Design. The way my phone fits in my hand or how my backpack feels on my shoulders is a certain type of practical beauty. Similarly, an object or process can be designed so that certain behaviors are intuitive (what should a door look like if you want people to open it by pushing? How should it look different if you want them to pull it open?).
Identity. Some people want to be unique, so they'll wear a tshirt with something weird on it. Some people want to identify with a community, so they wear the same shirt as everyone else (ie, an event shirt or a uniform).
Production. The fact that someone produced a piece of art is itself valuable. On the one hand, kids might join a band rather than a gang -- production is a social act. On the other hand, a society might pride itself in being rich enough that people can produce art rather than just food -- production of art is extravagant.
Recognition. The fact that a society recognizes something as art contains meaning. The types of artists we put in museums indicates the types of things we respect.

These elements can work together. For instance, a protest song might contain information about a broken system and evoke anger at it.

I was inspired to write this because of my own disaffection with much of the content of traditional art museums. Take the example of a portrait. It gives me little information except for what the artist was interested in and, perhaps, what the person looked like (or wanted to look like). That could be interesting if I wanted to answer a particular historical or sociological question and looked for a specific type of painting, but neither of those are relevant when I'm wandering through an art museum. Things that happen over time (songs, movies, games, books) are much more emotionally evocative and entertaining for me than pictures or statues. Questions of design aren't relevant since paintings aren't products that I use. Identity isn't relevant until I buy a piece of art (or a copy). If I were to buy a poster for my room, it would likely have a political or philosophical message (which are big parts of my identity). I'm not sure what identity a Van Gogh on my wall would evoke aside from "art lover." Most of the people who produced the art are long dead, and most of the recognition goes to people or ideas that no longer benefit from more recognition.

To satisfy me, a piece of art or an art museum should satisfy at least one of the purposes that I outline.