While described by Stefan Sagmeister as something, compared to design, that doesn't have to work, art often does, and in surprising ways. Jonah Lehrer, who spoke at the IdeaFestival shortly after the publication of Proust was Neuroscientist, illustrated a number of ways, for example, that artists had anticipated discoveries later made by science.
Art and the brain are made for each other.
The nature of the discovery is different, of course. Proust, were he alive today, wouldn't synthesize the next miracle drug, but like all lasting art, his work offered something even more vital - insight into the human condition, the not-quite-the-sum-of-its-chemistry first-person experience we all share.
Art may not offer one-size answers, but, well done, it will inevitably raise meaningful questions.
Think about that as you read the following quote from Alice Gray Stites, director, artwithoutwalls, who spoke on the this spring in Stockholm at a TEDx event in the U.S. embassy, and had this to say about how contemporary art functions: