Written before the 21st century had really demonstrated its commitment to war and the interests of the 1%. It’s surprising how little the questions have changed.
An American lady travelling to Paris in 1913 – the kind of American lady who will still be travelling to Paris in 2013 – asked Ezra Pound what he thought art was for. Pound replied: “Ask me what a rose bush is for.”
Europe was on the edge of war. Do rose bushes matter in a war? What can art do for us now, in the likelihood of another war?
I know there is a sneaking feeling, even among art lovers, that art is a luxury. While pictures, books, music and theatre are not quite handmade luggage or perfume, most people would not admit that art is essential. The endless rows over funding centre on an insecurity about the role of art in society. Nobody doubts that hospitals and schools must be paid for by all of us. Mention art, and the answer seems to be that it should rely on the marketplace; let those who want it pay for it.
Read on http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2002/nov/25/art.artsfeatures1