We need art that resists commodification: art that is handmade

Problems like poverty, disease, and homelessness are so pervasive that they seem to require large-scale solutionsā€”and therefore many people assume that the only artistic response of value has to come through art that utilizes mass media and pop genres to get the word out on a sufficient scale. This is an understandable but misguided notion. It plays directly into the way that social justice itself has been turned into a commodity: some instant uplift, a soaring rock ballad, and a small financial donation. In the face of this we need art that resists commodification: art that is handmade, art that penetrates beneath the surface of things and demands much, rather than skimming across the sentimental surface. If the needs that justice cries out about are deep and enduring, then the art we create should be just as deep and enduring. Only that kind of art can move people to make the sort of sacrifice justice would have them make.

“Poetic Justice” by Gregory Wolfe