There is no purpose which art serves, not any which it is intended to serve. Art plays and is meant to play an enormous diversity of roles in human life. Works of art are instruments by which we perform such diverse actions as praising our great mean and expressing our grief, evoking emotion and communicating knowledge. Works of art are objects of such actions as contemplation for the sake of delight. Works of art are accompaniments for such actions as hoeing cotton and rocking infants. Works of art are background for such actions as eating meals and walking through airports… The purposes of art are the purposes of life.
Nicholas Wolterstorff, Art in Action, 4
Surely it is time for us to break out, to start over, to somehow find a way of approaching art which no longer focuses successively on artist and work and receiver, but instead holds all these in view simultaneously, and does so in such a way as to answer the call, now increasingly heard, to take account of the social embeddedness of whichever of these one has in the center of one’s attention: artist, work, receiver. I suggest that we approach art from the angle of the social practices of art.
Nicholas Wolterstorff, “Philosophy of Art After Analysis and Romanticism,” 158.