Art for Art’s Sake

Mrs Driver and I had a discussion on our way home from watching the Fun Lovin’ Criminals last night. It started out as the usual ‘the world is a little bit/lot fucked up…’, generally something we agree on, however we diverged when it came to what’s to be done about it.
I have been thinking a lot about art, or more specifically the way in which art can transform our lives by showing us new possibilities (or even impossibilities). Art enables us to see lives lead differently. I argued, therefore, that art is the agent of change and that is where we should seek new ways to live. Mrs D, on the other hand, felt that ‘just singing a song about something’ changes nothing and the only way real change comes is through politics and so that is where new societal models and frameworks would emerge.
I now suspect that the answer is somewhere in between. We need artists to be the visionaries but we need politicians to actually do something with them that we might all benefit from.
My concern with this is that there is little room for radical change as the ideas that get picked up are framed and controlled by the structure from which they were conceived and the longer this goes on the more constrained and limited options become until we end up with only one idea (a bit like the UK political scene at the moment) nuanced in the way in which one is politically drawn – left or right.