Sometimes I say outrageous things. One such thing is: Art doesn't matter
. Now, I say this out of petulance. I get annoyed by the overwrought sacralization of art. The sacralization of art is just a high-minded species of material attachment, and is only slightly less awful than the sacralization of, say, Jaguar XJ8s.
But I am not one of those who think that humans should, properly, disdain
material things (art included). That's the other, equally wrong extreme. God made the world — He materialized it — for reasons we may not know, but we know they were His
reasons and therefore they were good. The material world is not a trap. Our body is not a restrictive vessel but a constituent part of us; it is entirely co-equal with our reason, soul, and will.
The problem with material attachment is that one has forgotten the source
of material things. Listen to St. Augustine:
Suppose brethren, a man should make a ring for his betrothed, and she should love the ring more wholeheartedly than the betrothed who made it for her... Certainly, let her love his gift; but, if she should say, "The ring is enough, I do not want to see his face again," what would we say of her... The pledge is given her by the betrothed just that, in his pledge, he himself may be loved. God, then, had given you all these things. Love Him who made them.
Art itself is a gift of God. It is a product of the creative capabilities He gave us; it is an echo of His Creation. When, however, one asserts an almost supernatural and seemingly independent excellence about art, one has begun to love the ring and forget the face of one's Betrothed.