Ian you bring a number of salient points and I am certain your post will influence some reflection and discussion with us all. On the other finish of the spectrum, Walter Benn Michaels, a contemporary critic and cultural theorist (although he would certainly object to the latter title), famously claims in his essay Against Theory ,” coauthored with Steven Knapp, that the which means of an artwork is only ever exactly what the author intended, no more, no significantly less.
The intentional which means of the Author-God was a myth, and the birth of the reader” was to replace it. Though Barthes was writing about literature, his ideas were adopted by many other theorists who thought the very same could be stated of art in general.
So, in summary, for the most element, I do quite agree with the view that most art does not attempt to convey a particular which means from the artist to the viewer, I do not agree with universalizing the conclusion to the point of suggesting that it is can not or does not take place.
On the other hand, crafts and design are at times deemed applied art Some art followers have argued that the difference between fine art and applied art has far more to do with value judgments made about the art than any clear definitional distinction.
This led to Romantic rejections of this in favor of pictures of the emotional side and individuality of humans, exemplified in the novels of Goethe The late 19th century then saw a host of artistic movements, such as academic art , Symbolism , impressionism and fauvism amongst others.