Relative merits and demerits of art for arts sake and art for life sake?Give conclusion at the end and supporting your arguments with three references.

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In terms of assessing the strengths or weaknesses in the creation of art, one has to be mindful that taking either to an extreme creates challenges.  If one takes the creation of art for arts sake to a zealous extreme, one might devalue the transformative and powerful nature art has on life and society.  If individuals see art as something that lives outside of social context or contingency, a real "teachable moment" is lost and individuals believe that there can be no connection between art and the world outside of it.  At the same time, if individuals view art as something that is to be created strictly in the realm of life and contingency, then there is a chance to reduce everything to that.  In the process, individuals begin to see things "that might not be there."  When there is a forged or forced link to social circumstances that might not be present, the focus of art is lost and its message skewed.

krishna-agrawala | Student

Art for art's sake generally refers to the practice adopted, or at least claimed to be adopted, by artist whereby they create their work such as paintings, sculpture, poems or music, just for the joy and satisfaction of creating them. Artist who believe in art for art's sake are supposed to be driven by an inborn urge to create irrespective of whether or not such works will fetch them any monetary or other materialistic benefits. Also they are not concerned about whether other people like their creations.

When feeling is genuine and strong, the artist is driven by his inner urge to create, and it does not matter to him or her if these works are valued by others or not. For example paintings of Vincent van Gogh did not receive much recognition during his life time, and he died a very poor man. But this absence of public acceptance did not stop him from continuing to paint. In such case it enables the artist to hold on his own in spite of neglect and even ridicule from the commonplace public, and ultimately leave behind something very precious for the whole society.

However, many time this concept of art for art's sake gives rise to pseudo art and pseudo intellectualism. Some real worthless works of arts are created by artists for the specific purpose of making money, which are then skillfully marketed as being expressions of some sublime inner thoughts of the artist. Such practices lower the standards of art, and make it difficult for real good artists without the skills of marketing to gain acceptance and recognition.

This practice of the pseudo art is not limited to artists but also to so called art lovers and patrons of art. Rich people may buy expensive paintings and flaunt the their price tag more than display the painting themselves.

Also some mediums like literature and cinema which are powerful means of entertainment and also education and social reforms suffer because of misuse of the concept of art for art's sake. Often writers and film makers claiming to follow only their inner urge, produce and promote works that profess to follow high ideals but fail to make any impact on the public mind because of their poor quality.