Does Art Have to Have Meaning? Can Art be Meaningless?

Meaning is a two-fold aspect of art, in which both the creator and the spectator are involved. First, the difference between meaning and purpose must be outlined, as artwork does not necessarily have purpose. Purpose involves action, while meaning is the message portrayed alone. For example, the meaning of blank-canvas art is one of minimalism, which may involve the meaning of appreciation of simply objects, appreciation of one’s surroundings, or even simply mockery. There, is, arguably, no purpose to such minimalist art, as without means of method lacks motivation in taking action on a particular message. A piece of artwork is always intentional on the part of the artist, and with intention naturally comes meaning. Even in being meaningless, there is meaning, which is precisely that. In Jackson Pollock’s splatter paintings, the lines seem to be arranged in meaningless disarray. However, though there may not be a particular order or specified placement in which the blots and lines are scattered about the canvas, Pollock manages to make these pieces of art appeal to a many. This is skill, and this: order within chaos; is the general meaning that he attempts to convey in his artworks. Whenever the audience is experiencing artwork, there is always meaning to it. This is because there is always a filter that adds personal input to raw sense perception. There are always different takes on a piece of artwork. An extreme in music would be secular music of the renaissance, in which secular music was deemed as unholy by the Catholic Church, while the non-christian common-folk would regard it as lively music about love and other ceremonies. In short, in art both sides- the author and the audience; in both creating art and experiencing art, there must be meaning. It is impossible for something to be called art that is lacking in either one side or the other, that is to say that all art must have both meaning of the creator and public interpretation.


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