Milton Glaser is a graphic designer. His talk on "Art and Propaganda" was delivered at a symposium at the City University of New York Graduate Center on 15February. I'm generally uncomfortable with statements about the "purpose" of art, because I think that thinking of art in those terms can lead to some pretty uncomfortable places, but this quote from Glaser's talk is worth holding on to:
It's from Horace, the Roman philosopher and critic, who wrote, "The purpose of art is to inform and delight." I've been thinking about the purpose of art all my life and Horace helped me to arrive at an understanding. Art is a survival mechanism for the human species. Otherwise, it never would have lasted so long.
Glaser goes on to illuminate and expand on the implications of Horace's dictum and how dangerous it is when "inform" is changed to "persuade". Good stuff, and well worth a few minutes of your time.