Art, in reference to the “Myth of Progress”

I found it quite interesting that Wessels mentioned art in the final chapter of The Myth of Progress, considering most of the texts we read in our class tend to refer consistently (and only) to science.  From what I gained from the passage, Wessels claims that art is a reflective act, one that more people in our society should engage in for their personal sakes and for the sake of the community.

Because of Democracy and materialism, art has become far more common and attainable for nearly any individual, unlike in the past. Creating  paintings and sculptures were reserved for those who were extremely educated in regards to mark making, composition;  individuals who had an extreme privilege to be schooled in the art of painting or sculpture virtually their whole life. Artists were rare and revered in the vast majority of previous eras of mankind, their art even more so. The masses were not able to draw or sculpt, nor even look at a master artist’s work for the most part, especially in eras which were heavily influenced by feudalism.

The current Capitalism of America has actually helped to bring art to individuals. Now, high quality bristol boards, acrylic and oil paints, canvas, clay, film, cameras, ect., are all common to see in art supply stores or even supermarkets such as Target (not the high quality paper, canvases and paints, mind you, merely the cheap stuff for kids) where anyone with some sort of income could purchase them easily. Although our current society lacks any reborn Michaelangelo, many individuals can now make art because of their own initiative and inspiration, whenever they’d like and whatever they’d like. Many different styles have flourished, and in turn, an obscene amount of art and artists have as well.

This is extremely beneficial to modern society. Humans have overcomplicated daily life in a way that causes more stress than ever, and art is the perfect attainable release for individual thoughts and expression. In creating your own artwork, you have a temporary disconnection from a detached society, one that is just as effective and at least as meaningful as taking a walk in the wilderness.

-Michelle Williamson


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