The Four Motivations
Art has the power to transform our experience of the world by challenging our preconceptions. As explorers, innovators, or seers, artists have the ability to lead us to worlds unknown. While all artists create art for the purpose of communication, art critics generally agree that there are generally four motivations for creating art.

(1) To Document History
Long before the evolution of the technologies that we are accustomed to, artists had the role of recording events of their day. The likenesses of kings and queens, events on a battlefield, or day-to-day activities in one’s town or home would need to be recorded/documented to provide an account for future generations, similar to the motivation of photo and video journalists today.

 


 

An example of art serving as an historical document is
Duane Michals’ image entitled This Photograph is My Proof, 1974. It  functions as a testimony to a past relationship with his girlfriend.

 

Beneath the image is the statement scrawled by Michals: “This photo is my proof.

There was that afternoon, when things were still good between us, and she embraced me, and we were so happy. It has happened. She did love me. Look, see for yourself!” Obviously, Michals is insecure and either to convince the audience or even himself that he is lovable, he created this document. Also, due to the fact that the image contains a photograph, further verifies the actuality of that moment when “she did love me.”