Jonathan Richardson whole-heartedly believed that the idea of art and its effects would greater improve society. I agree to an extent in what Richardson says about art and its goals. He says if men were art lovers the three main things that the public would gain are “the reformation of our manners, the improvement of our people, and the increase of our Wealth, and with all these of our honour and power” (Richardson p.41). I think that the goal of art is to move people or make them think in a different way than they are used to. So in many ways I agree with the three points Jonathan makes. I think it can help us look at our society and change our perspective or “manners” towards certain things. Which in turn can improve our people as a whole. It also can increase our “wealth” of knowledge for the world around us, which makes us more “powerful” and “honorable”. Richardson makes a lot of sense when talking about how art can affect society. I feel my views are very comparable about art, especially during this time. They did not have Internet or billboards or social media so things like art could have a lot of impact at this particular time. That is why I think Richardson found it so important for people to take time to view and read about art because there is always a deeper meaning that could benefit society.
Two pieces of contemporary art that I chose to are movies. The Blind Side and Project X are two movies that jump out at me when thinking about their impact on society. The Blind Side is the piece that moves me because of the overall lesson and story told. A family that is well off takes in an underprivileged kid from the ghetto and helps him live a life that he could never have imagined. The movie is all about acceptance, breaking social boundaries, and never giving up. I think Richardson would agree with me and stick to his beliefs that a piece of art like this would benefit society and make it a better place. It increases our manners of accepting people we aren’t used to, as well as showing us how being honorable can improve people. I think Richardson would really enjoy this piece.
The other movie I chose, Project X, I feel very different about. This movie is all just about a kid whose parents go away and he throws a massive party. The movie is basically an hour-long music video full of sex and drugs with no real story or conflict. I think this movie is damaging to our society, by making it seem like these are good ideas and values that have no side effects. I think Richardson would be ashamed to see this movie and know that it is in the publics’ hands. This to me is not even considered art and I believe Richardson would agree that this is does not benefit society and its people in any way. If anything it hurts it, by showing bad reforms of manners and no honor at all. To me these two movies are very contrasting and I think Jonathan Richardson would have similar views to me if he had seen them.