I read someplace that the idea for an Artist Statement started in the early 1950s. While I havenít done any research on the varsity of this, if true, the original idea behind the Artist Statement was probably tied to McCarthyism. For those who donít know, McCarthyism was named after the late and evil spirited US Senator Joseph McCarthy, who accused a vast number of people, particularly including artists, of being communists or communist sympathizers. Notable in his attacks was a complete lack of evidence to support the many accusations he made. At the following link is a short blurb on the topic of McCarthyism: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McCarthyism
If true, this suggests that the Artists Statement was born as a way to proclaim that the artist was not, essentially, an enemy of the State.
From then, the AS has grown to become somewhat of a puff piece about the artist, typically serving the interest of marketing related goals.
No matter the real or perceived purpose, the real oddity is that some have come to have high expectations (and high anxiety) about their AS. In the end (imho) it is little other than an industry accepted marketing ploy.