PRINT Summer 1978

Servant of Time

THE ETHICAL INTEREST OF ART resides in its demonstrating the necessity for choosing. Artists who attempt to eliminate choice, or to reduce it to a few simple operations, eliminate an all-important element of psychological interest and create objects which find no echo in our moral lives. Now the justification of irresponsibility is an immensely popular position. Consequently, the programs and propaganda of such artists arouse widespread interest and millenarian hopes. But their work invariably disappoints: it cannot be made to matter, since choice—even humble preference—is absent. Not mattering enough to one person (the artist), it finally doesn’t matter to anyone. A sense of the absolute rightness of the thing is missing. And that quality of rightness is a function of judgment, which is a faculty developed through the exercise of choice.

Behind choice, behind preference, there looms,

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