"A primary function of art and thought is to liberate the individual from the tyranny of his culture in the environmental sense andto permit him to stand beyond it in an autonomy of perception and judgment."
"All great art, and today all great artlessness, must appear extreme to the mass of men, as we know them today. It springs from theanguish of great souls. From the souls of men not formed, but deformed in factories whose inspiration is pelf."
"If the Revolution has the right to destroy bridges and art monuments whenever necessary, it will stop still less from laying its hand on any tendency in art which, no matter how great its achievement in form, threatens to disintegrate the revolutionary environment or to arouse the internal forces of the Revolution, that is, the proletariat, the peasantry and the intelligentsia, to a hostile opposition to one another. Our standard is, clearly, political, imperative and intolerant."
"In contrast to the flux and muddle of life, art is clarity and enduring presence. In the stream of life, few things are perceivedclearly because few things stay put. Every mood or emotion is mixed or diluted by contrary and extraneous elements. The clarity of art--the precise evocation of mood in the novel, or of summer twilight in a painting--is like waking to a bright landscape after a long fitful slumber, or the fragrance of chicken soup after a week of head cold."
"Art, if one employs this term in the broad sense that includes poetry within its realm, is an art of creation laden with ideals, located at the very core of the life of a people, defining the spiritual and moral shape of that life."
"As for work, without it, without painstaking work, any writer or artist definitely remains a dilettante; there's no point in waiting for so-called blissful moments, for inspiration; if it comes, so much the better--but you keep working anyway."
"These was all nice pictures, I reckon, but I didn't somehow seem to take to them, because if ever I was down a little, they alwaysgive me the fan-tods. Everybody was sorry she died, because she had laid out a lot more of these pictures to do, and a body could see by what she had done what they had lost. But I reckoned, that with her disposition, she was having a better time in the graveyard."
"There is nothing here [Civita Vecchia] to see. They have not even a cathedral, with eleven tons of solid silver archbishops in theback room; and they do not show you any moldy buildings that are seven thousand years old; nor any smoke-dried old fire-screens which are chef d'oeuvres of Rubens or Simpson, or Titian or Ferguson, or any of those parties; and they haven't any bottled fragments of saints, and not even a nail from the true cross. We are going to Rome. There is nothing to see here."
"I have got enough of the old masters! Brown says he has "shook" them, and I think I will shake them, too. You wander through a mile of picture galleries and stare stupidly at ghastly old nightmares done in lampblack and lightning, and listen to the ecstatic encomiums of the guides, and try to get up some enthusiasm, but it won't come."
"When I see that the nineteenth century has crowned the idolatry of Art with the deification of Love, so that every poet is supposed to have pierced to the holy of holies when he has announced that Love is the Supreme, or the Enough, or the All, I feel that Art was safer in the hands of the most fanatical of Cromwell's major generals than it will be if ever it gets into mine."
"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."