A work of art is an end in itself, in the sense that it serves no purpose beyond man’s contemplation of it. When one differentiates art from other human products, this fact is an essential. A scientific treatise, a machine, a busy signal on the telephone are a means to a utilitarian goal; a novel, a statue, a symphony are not.
The materialist mentality typically concludes that art is a frill, an indulgence unrelated to reason or to man’s life in this world. The spiritualist mentality, in full agreement, takes off for points unknowable: he concludes that art is the prerogative of a mystic elite oriented to a supernatural dimension.
In opposition to both views, Objectivism holds that art does have a purpose, …
Read the rest in Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand.