Q:

What is nonfunctional art?

A:

Quick Answer

Nonfunctional art is art that serves no utilitarian purpose. It is in direct contrast with functional art, which has both an aesthetic value and a utilitarian purpose.

Know More
What is nonfunctional art?
Credit: Paper Boat Creative Digital Vision Getty Images

Full Answer

Sometimes found in unlikely places, functional art could include items such as sofas, books or lighting fixtures. This type of art takes usable objects and incorporates high-minded aesthetic sensibilities.

Nonfunctional art, on the other hand, is everything else. Marchel Duchamp's readymades serve as functional art's diametrical opposites: Duchamp took utilitarian objects such as urinals and stripped them of their utility. The readymades became art pieces through conceptual edict rather than innate artistic merit. Though collectors may keep functional art pieces on a display shelf, the works are intended to serve a purpose.

Nonfunctional art also encompasses paintings, sculptures and all manner of fine art. These pieces usually seek to engage with the viewer on an intellectual, emotional or aesthetic level. The exploration of these sensibilities, rather than their utilitarian merits, determines the artworks' worth.

Functional art objects are also popular collector's items, even when they have lost their utilitarian value. Objects such as ancient Chinese vases are valued more for their aesthetic merits than their usefulness. The delineation between fine art and functional art began to collapse with the rise of the Bauhaus movement in 1919, and institutions such as the Museum of Modern Art continue to interrogate the division between nonfunctional art and functional art.

Sources:

  1. artspace.com

Is this answer helpful?

Similar Questions

  • Q:

    What is the difference between fine art and applied art?

    A:

    The main difference in fine art and applied art is that fine art is intended to create beauty and pleasure in looking while applied art is intended to be an aesthetic approach to performing a specific duty. Fine arts are able to be seen and can be produced for the sole purpose of pleasing the senses while applied arts are the act of doing something proactive.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is art appreciation?

    A:

    Art appreciation involves having an understanding of all of the qualities that comprise a great work of art. Art appreciation classes can be enjoyed by everyone from art experts to complete novices.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What does "medium" mean in art?

    A:

    In art, "medium" refers to the physical objects used by artists to convey messages to audiences through the senses. Mediums used by artists vary widely, and range from tools including paints, brushes, pencils and pastels used by traditional artists, to instruments, voice and electronics used in the auditory arts. Additionally, sculptors use raw materials like wood, paints, clay and plastics to create figurines and sculptures.

      Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is tribal art?

    A:

    Artifacts and objects created by indigenous peoples living in tribal communities are referred to as tribal art. Examples include totemic art made by the First Nations tribes of the Pacific Northwest, African masks and the stone statues on Easter Island.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore