Non-visual art: Laura Gascoigne argues for a restoration of the visual

Fritz Balthaus: Pure Moore

The traditionalist lament for loss of skill is a distraction. The modernists were right about that: skill on its own is not enough. The first step on the road to recovery is to reinstate the visual as the sole and proper domain of art. Once it is generally agreed that art’s impact is essentially visual, the skills to make it so will resurface.

It’s a paradox that we keep visual art in museums, when it’s the only branch of art for which there is no muse. Of the nine Greek muses, there was one for history – Clio – and one for astronomy – Urania – neither of which disciplines we now regard as arts. There was one for tragedy – Melpomene – and