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December 03, 2007

Art Utility

One of the defining characteristics of fine art as opposed to applied art is the absence of any clear usefulness or utilitarian value. However, this requirement is sometimes criticized as being class prejudice against labor and utility. Opponents of the view that art cannot be useful, argue that all human activity has some utilitarian function, and the objects claimed to be "non-utilitarian" actually have the function of attempting to mystify and codify flawed social hierarchies. It is also sometimes argued that even seemingly non-useful art is not useless, but rather that its use is the effect it has on the psyche of the creator or viewer.

Art is also used by art therapists, psychotherapists and clinical psychologists as art therapy. Art can also be used as a tool of Personality Test. The end product is not the principal goal in this case, but rather a process of healing, through creative acts, is sought. The resultant piece of artwork may also offer insight into the troubles experienced by the subject and may suggest suitable approaches to be used in more conventional forms of psychiatric therapy.

Spray-paint graffiti on a wall in Rome.
Spray-paint graffiti on a wall in Rome.

Graffiti art and other types of street art are graphics and images that are spray-painted or stencilled on publicly viewable walls, buildings, buses, trains, and bridges, usually without permission. This type of art is part of various youth cultures, such as the US hip-hop culture. It is used to express political views and depict creative images.

In a social context, art can serve to boost the public's morale. Art is often utilized as a form of propaganda, and thus can be used to subtly influence popular conceptions or mood. In some cases, artworks are appropriated to be used in this manner, without the creator having initially intended the art to be used as propaganda.

From a more anthropological perspective, art is often a way of passing ideas and concepts on to later generations in a (somewhat) universal language. The interpretation of this language depends upon the observer’s perspective and context. So conversely the very subjectivity of art demonstrates its importance in facilitating the exchange and discussion of rival ideas, or to provide a social context in which disparate groups of people might congregate and mingle.

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