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More Than a Rock by Guy Tal

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15Art for People’s Sake

Art for art’s sake is a philosophy of the well-fed.

—Frank Lloyd Wright

There is a school of thought in art that rallies behind the banner “art for art’s sake,” claiming that art should exist independent of meaning and purpose, use or message. In other words, art—a product of humans—should not be expected to have any bearing on, or utility for, humans; its value is inherent in it simply existing.

Ironically, the expression originally was coined as a form of rebellion against art placed in the servitude of political, religious, and other elite groups, though its meaning has since been co-opted to serve a different kind of elite: that of fashionistas, academics, and financial interests seeking to control and to profit from ...

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