Art and Pleasure

Q: Can I expect to get pleasure from art, like I get from music?

A: Pleasure is indeed one thing one can obtain from art, although some artists are consciously trying to give pleasure, while others reject it, and attempt to arouse other emotions, stir political feelings, or even evoke pain.

But art is an acquired taste; as with many drugs, it takes a while to become addicted. If pleasure is what you are looking for, try seeking out the art that gives you the most, then, if you feel you can handle it, gradually increase the dosage by looking at even more. You may find that works which previously gave you a real kick begin to pall; then you start seeking stronger stuff, ultimately finding satisfaction in works which you previously never would have thought pleasurable.

The experience of loving art is also directly parallel to the love of music—give it some effort, then you find yourself drawn in. This will vary by individual temperament—many people never know what they are missing, or in spite of exerting effort, they never really get it. Others become totally obsessed. Then there are those who get satisfaction from hating it—it takes all kinds…

by Andrew Werby