What is the purpose of visual art?
This is a question that Alain de Botton and John Armstrong’s generous book Art as Therapy grapples with. Ultimately, the authors make a case for art that provides emotional, spiritual. even moral support for its viewers.
I found the book remarkable in that it helped me articulate both my love of art but also my ambivalence with the art world and the ways in which art is consumed, particularly in New York City, where coolness seems to be an overarching aspect to both art and artist. The idea that art can be more than an investment or an historical artifact or a piece of provocation—that it can (and should and often does) provide solace or remind you about the absurdity of life, or just make you feel less alone— renewed my faith.
What if, as Botton and Armstrong theorize, we arranged museums to “work in line with the concerns of our souls, bringing together those objects which, regardless of their origins in space and time, address the troubled areas of existence?”
I would love to see experience designers who work across multiple platforms and disciplines take on this task. Interested in exploring a collaboration on this sort of topic? Contact me.