Trying to generalize the goal of every work of art is unfathomable. I am sure there are some artist’s in society of today and the past that hoped to improved society by some means through their work, but all of them? Every piece of art has different goals that the artists intend, but sometimes the effects of art are not what the artist had intended. So saying that the idea of art is to improve society does not have such a black and white answer. Yes, there are millions of various pieces of work that can be seen as improving society, however what about those other pieces? The ones that do nothing but harm society instead of benefiting it. The goal of art is to tell a story, recreate the past, or imagine the future along with a hundred other goals. As Richardson states “If in a picture the story be well chosen, and finely told (at least) if not Improv’d, if it fill the mind with Noble, and instructive ideas, I will not scruple to say ’tis an excellent picture.” With every piece of art created, nor matter the artist, audience or direct intent, the picture becomes a story. Sharing aspects of society, the artist or just the world, art has so many “intents,” improving society is just one of the many.
After 9/11, many artists starting expressing themselves in a variety of forms. In these various forms, one can see the intent as being to improve society. The painting not only tells a story, but becomes a symbol of faith and the United States of America. The New York City firefighters putting up the American flag amidst the ruble and chaos represents unity and the strength of the United States of America to battle through. Instances like this, so beautifully represented in art benefit society in a variety of ways. So many emotions come from the creation and appreciation of a painting like this, however others are not so educationally stimulating.
Rap has never been one of my main choices for music, however I do have a certain appreciation for it. Most rap tell stories, people coming from nothing, not letting the man get you down, and so on. However what of those certain pieces of rap that have a crude side. Talking about sex, bragging about money, sexism and murder, just a few of the topics I’ve heard blaring from my speakers. My distaste originates from Three 6 Mafia’s “Lick my Nuts”, which I was listening with a friend when my mother burst in calling it “trashy” among other selected words. Songs like this, pictures depicting such things, they do not benefit society. Sure, we would like to see that they are showing us what not to do, but in a way they are idolizing these ways of life. Songs like this, do absolutely nothing for society.
The goal of Art is to tell a story, whether or not the artists intends it to be. Whether or not those various works are able to improve society are another problem all together. Art like its meaning is all a matter of interpretation, those interpretations varying from work to work.