11/04/2013 08:32 am ET Updated Jan 23, 2014

Alain De Botton: Art For Life's Sake

Art enjoys such financial and cultural prestige that it's easy to forget the confusion that persists about what it's really for. Questions like "What is this painting about?" or "Why should this old sculpture matter to me?" have a way of sounding impudent and crass. Nice people generally don't ask such things, except in the privacy of their hearts, on their way down the concrete steps of white-walled galleries.

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