The Nature Of The Beast

It's well known 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". If within the last century art concieved as an autonomous activity has come to be invested with an unprecedented stature - the nearest thing to sacramental human activity acknowledged by secular society - it is because one of the tasks of art has assumed is making forays into and taking up positions on the frontiers of consciousness (often very dangerous to the artist as a person) and reporting back what's there...The exemplary "modern" artist is a broker in madness.

~Susan Sontag "The Pornographic Imagination"