In defence of the Arts Council

I once knew a monster who said she could not read Proust because there were no figures in Proust with whom she could identify… Theodor W. Adorno, ‘Aesthetics’ (1958-59) Getting an audience to identify themselves in a work – ‘being seen’ – is one of the only reasons why art is commissioned, celebrated or even allowed to exist today. In other words, the 21st century world belongs to Adorno’s monster: we just live in it.  The 20th century’s definition of art, as expressed by another Frankfurt School philosopher Herbert Marcuse, where ‘art is committed to that perception of the world which alienates individuals from their functional existence and performance in