I sometimes feel that art is the intellectual’s religion. Some artists think that art will save them, that they will be immortalized through their art, they will live on through their art. But the truth of the matter is, art doesn’t save you. Art to me has always been entertainment for intellectuals. Mozart of Rembrandt or Shakespeare are entertainers on a very, very high level. It’s a level that brings a great sense of excitement, stimulation and fulfillment to people who are sensitive and cultivated. But it doesn’t save the artist. I mean, it doesn’t profit Shakespeare one iota that his plays have lived on after him. He would have been better off if he was alive and his plays were forgotten.
When you’re younger, you think, I will be an artist and it will save me. Maybe you don’t think in those words, but the thought is there somehow. In Stardust Memories I used the term ‘Ozymandias Melancholia’. That’s a symptom I’ve invented that describes that phenomenon specifically, the realization that your works of art will not save you and will mean nothing down the line. Eventually, there won’t be any universe, so even all the works of Shakespeare and all the works of Beethoven will be gone.
- Woody Allen [x]