"I wish all the foolish days of my life which I have spent at American watering-places thinking I was amused at five changes of dress a day, dinner parties with the thermometer at 90 degrees, etc., could have been given to Ghent and Bruges. What relics of a grand and poetical and useful race! What visions of history! What gems of art and architecture! Why, just one look at the Hotel de Ville in Ghent, with its facade of richest flamboyant Gothic and one of its sides in the Italian Renaissance, is worth two balls at Delmonico's."
"Both art and physics are unique forms of language. Each has a specialized lexicon of symbols that is used in a distinctive syntax.Their very different and specific contexts obscure their connection to everyday language as well as to each other. Nevertheless, it is noteworthy just how often the terms of one can be applied to the concepts of the other. "Volume," "space," "mass," "force," "light," "color," "tension," "relationship," and "density" are descriptive words that are heard repeatedly if you trail along with a museum docent. They also appear on the blackboards of freshman college physics lectures. The proponents of these two diverse endeavors wax poetic about elegance, symmetry, beauty, and aesthetics. While physicists demonstrate that A equals B or that X is the same as Y, artists often choose signs, symbols, and allegories to equate a painterly image with a feature of experience. Both of these techniques reveal previously hidden relationships."
"Much of modern art is devoted to lowering the threshold of what is terrible. By getting us used to what, formerly, we could not bear to see or hear, because it was too shocking, painful, or embarrassing, art changes morals."
"Critics of visual arts and of music describe in words--that is to say, a system of signs other than those made by brushes on canvas or chisels into stone or notes of music--those characteristics of painting or sculpture or music which can be described or analysed. Visual artists and composers can disregard critics on the ground that the medium of verbal criticism bears so indirect a relation to the medium in which they make something. Poets are in a different situation. With the development of so-called scientific methods of criticism they are made ever conscious that criticism of poetry is in the same medium of work as the art which they practise. "Close analysis" is useful to critics and readers. But for the poet there is the danger of disintegration of poetry into paraphrase, examination of technique, influences, all analysed in the language of criticism."
"Like the international avant-garde, rock-and-roll is the creative product of a rebellious youth culture trying to reach a mass audience. Its artists embrace technological innovation. Their lives and personal styles are often counterculture. Many rock groups have appropriated creative strategies of modern art history: Some stage acts can be seen as Neo-Dada performance, others have lifted ideas from the Surrealists, the Situationists, and other art groups. Although pop music has its individual stars like Elvis and Madonna, most rock musicians, like the international avant-garde, work collaboratively, in bands. But however much a rock-and-roll group may initially appeal to a specific youth subculture, its potential for vast global audiences is different from that of fine art, which remains within the arcane reaches of high culture."
"Every work of art should give utterance, or indicate, the awful blind strength and the cruelty of the creative impulse, that is why they must all have what are called errors, both of taste and style."
"The critic lives at second hand. He writes about. The poem, the novel, or the play must be given to him; criticism exists by the grace of other men's genius. By virtue of style, criticism can itself become literature. But usually this occurs only when the writer is acting as critic of his own work or as outrider to his own poetics, when the criticism of Coleridge is work in progress or that of T.S. Eliot propaganda."
"I should say that the most prominent scientific men of our country, and perhaps of this age, are either serving the arts and not pure science, or are performing faithful but quite subordinate labors in particular departments. They make no steady and systematic approaches to the central fact.... There is wanting constant and accurate observation with enough of theory to direct and discipline it. But, above all, there is wanting genius."
"Art can never match the luxury and superfluity of Nature. In the former all is seen; it cannot afford concealed wealth, and is niggardly in comparison; but Nature, even when she is scant and thin outwardly, satisfies us still by the assurance of a certain generosity at the roots."