Anger towards Art

One need only search out a layman’s internet forum discussing art made after the nineteenth century to find the vitriol of contemporary society for anything that does not make itself known through agreed-upon terms and functions. Just as those works of art may be considered useless, their strangeness still offers glimpses into something unknown or undocumented by meticulous categorization. Concerning this receding shelters of imaginative thought, Horkheimer & Adorno explain in Dialectic of Enlightenment the ideological causes for this philosophical witchhunt within the culture industry: “But the hiding places of mindless artistry, which represents what is human against the social mechanism, are being relentlessly ferreted out by organizational reason, which forces everything to justify itself in terms of meaning and effect. It is causing meaninglessness to disappear at the lowest level of art just as radically as meaning is disappearing at the highest” (114).

When art presents a reflection of reality that upsets the masses due to its seeming irrationality, does this not point to the irrationality of reality itself as it exists now? This is not an apology for bad art, but an apology for imagination in a world where the first thing said to an artist during an introduction is, “What kind of job can you do with art?”

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