It is well know that when people venture into the far reaches of consciousness, they do so at the peril of their sanity, that is , of their humanity. But the ‘human scale’ or humanistic standard proper to ordinary life and conduct seems misplaced when applied to art. It oversimplifies. If within the last century art conceived as an autonomous activity has come to be invested with an unprecedented stature- the nearest thing to a sacrament human activity acknowledged by a secular society – it is because one of the tasks art has assumed is making forays into and takin cup suppositions on the frontiers of consciousness (often very dangerous to the artists as a person) and perorating back what’s there. Being a freelance explorer of spiritual dangers, the artist gains a certain license to behave differently from other people; matching the singularity of his vocation, he may be decked out with a suitably eccentric life style, or he may not. His job is inventing trophies of his experiences – objects and gestures that fascinate and entrall, not merely (as prescribed by older notions of the artist) edify or entertain. His principal means of fascinating is to advance one step further in the dialectic of outrage. He seeks to make his work repulsive, obscure, inaccessible; in short, to give what is, or seems to be, not wanted. But however fierce may be the outrages the artist perpetrates upon his audience, his credentials and spiritual authority ultimately depend on the audiences’ sense (whether something known or inferred) of the outrages he commits upon himself. The exemplary modern artist is a broker in madness.
Sontag, Susan. (1969). The Pornographic Imagination. pp. 35-73. Styles of Radical Will. London: Martin Secker & Warburg Ltd. London. pp. 44-45