A Brief Series of Quotes
It is through art, and through art only, that we can realize our perfection.
…the demand for perfection is always a sign of a misunderstanding of the ends of art.
An artist’s only concern is to shoot for some kind of perfection, and on his own terms, not anyone else’s.
We must surrender the idea that this perfection that we see in the mind or before our eyes is obtainable or attainable….The function of art work is the stimulation of sensibilities…
The function of art when it is genuinely effective, is to give us a chance to break free with old habits, and loose the shackles of reasonable social behavior, the better to retreat down dark passageways and rejoin that part of ourselves which moves towards us with a savage laugh.
The purpose of art is not the release of a momentary ejection of adrenalin but is, rather, the gradual, lifelong construction of a state of wonder and serenity.
A canvas is an arena in which to act.
The art process, then, is not simply countless, uncontrolled free expressions, but it is the result of historical understanding and experience formed into a freely expressed clarified judgment.
Art doesn’t give satisfaction. Art poses problems. Art gives questions. Art inflicts sadness.
A worker or painter should enjoy his work, else the observer will not enjoy it.
Painting is so difficult and torturing. Last night I burned six canvases along with the autumn leaves.
I have a predilection for painting that lends joyousness to a wall.
What he does is fearful. He will never make anything of it.
—Edouard Manet, on Pierre-Auguste Renoir
Every obstacle smashes me.
For art and joy go together, with bold openness, and high head, and ready hand …
—James McNeill Whistler
I have coveted everything and taken pleasure in nothing.
—Guy De Maupassant's epitaph
My aim in life is to make pictures and drawings, as many and as well as I can...
—Vincent van Gogh
I wish to die painting.
Life is so horrible that one can only bear it by avoiding it. And that can be done by living in the world of art.
Art is the proper task of life.
What kept life manageable was art, and specifically the practice of art, a practice that Gorky turned into an art, a kind of yoga of learning, looking, focusing, doing, redoing, humbly, pridefully, hourly, daily. Creation was salvation. That sounds romantic, but why put it any other way?
Is there anything more stupid than to be eager to go on carrying a burden which one would gladly throw away, to loathe one's very being and yet to hold it fast, to fondle the snake that devours us until it has eaten our hearts away?
Above all else, it is about leaving a mark that I existed: I was here. I was hungry. I was defeated. I was happy. I was sad. I was in love. I was afraid. I was hopeful. I had an idea and I had a good purpose and that’s why I made works of art.
I photograph to see what something will look like photographed.
It is absurd to look for perfection.
It's always necessary to seek for perfection.
In order to go on living one must try to escape the death involved in perfectionism.
I’m not sure that art and theory were ever that close to begin with.
What a fine comedy this world would be if one did not play a part in it.