The Suppression of the Social in Design: Architecture as War

One thing that struck me as interesting, but not unusual, was the comment about art being a good investment because “it gave access to those levels f the social hierarchy that allowed for increased accumulation.” The interesting thing about this is the people creating the art are the ones who are the most part poor, but the ones that eventually end up with the art are for the most part rich. In this scenario, it appears that those who possess art are wealthy because they have the money to spend. What if an artist never sold his/her work? The artist would have a lot of unique artwork, but not be rich. Even more so, the artist would be even poorer with all that artwork than if he sold it and had no artwork. The interesting thing in the reading is the wealth of the person possessing the artwork determines if the art is a sign of social success.

When the Enlightenment broke apart the whole that consisted of art, science, ethics, and politics, social order came into being. The reason for this seems to be quite simple. Before the Enlightenment, “one became what one was born to become.” After the break, each of these groups had social orders correlating to the primary class that occupied these positions. Science and politics were more occupied by wealthier more educated people and therefore, the profession of these groups was more prestigious. Art was less prestigious merely because it was similar to a skilled trade or manual labor. The thing that I took from this is similar to the difficulty in archiving something that is separate but equal. Because science, ethics, art, and politics were all different categories, it is only human instinct to give these categories a rank. If two things are thought of, people examine the differences and decide from there, which is better. In the case of post Enlightenment, art was considered a lower class profession because of the reinforcement of artists being poor and the rich collecting their art. It appeared in this society that the artists were serving the higher classes by making them art.

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