"The time is perhaps not altogether too green for the vile suggestion that art has nothing to do with clarity, does not dabble in the clear and does not make clear, and more than the light of day (or night) makes the subsolar, -lunar, and -stellar excrement. Art is the sun, moon, and stars of the mind, the whole mind."
"As between these two, the need that in its haste to be abolished cannot pause to be stated and the need that is the absolute predicament of particular human identity, one does not presume to suggest a relation of worth. Yet the distinction is perhaps not idle, for it is from the failure to make it that proceeds the common rejection as "obscure" of most that is significant in modern music, painting and literature."
"Allusion has been made to [Proust's] contempt for the literature that "describes," for the realists and naturalists worshipping the offal of experience, prostrate before the epidermis and the swift epilepsy, and content to transcribe the surface, the façade, behind which the Idea is prisoner."
"When the object is perceived as particular and unique and not merely the member of a family, when it appears independent of any general notion and detached from the sanity of a cause, isolated and inexplicable in the light of ignorance, then and only then may it be a source of enchantment."
"The situation is that of him who is helpless, cannot act, in the event cannot paint, since he is obliged to paint. The act is of him who, helpless, unable to act, acts, in the event paints, since he is obliged to paint."
"We all agree now--by "we" I mean intelligent people under sixty--that a work of art is like a rose. A rose is not beautiful because it is like something else. Neither is a work of art. Roses and works of art are beautiful in themselves. Unluckily, the matter does not end there: a rose is the visible result of an infinitude of complicated goings on in the bosom of the earth and in the air above, and similarly a work of art is the product of strange activities in the human mind."
"Technology, like art, is a soaring exercise of the human imagination. Art is the aesthetic ordering of experience to express meanings in symbolic terms, and the reordering of nature--the qualities of space and time--in new perceptual and material form. Art is an end in itself; its values are intrinsic. Technology is the instrumental ordering of human experience within a logic of efficient means, and the direction of nature to use its powers for material gain. But art and technology are not separate realms walled off from each other. Art employs techne, but for its own ends. Techne, too, is a form of art that bridges culture and social structure, and in the process reshapes both."
"The greater the decrease in the social significance of an art form, the sharper the distinction between criticism and enjoyment bythe public. The conventional is uncritically enjoyed, and the truly new is criticized with aversion."
"The man who, from the beginning of his life, has been bathed at length in the soft atmosphere of a woman, in the smell of her hands, of her bosom, of her knees, of her hair, of her supple and floating clothes, ... has contracted from this contact a tender skin and a distinct accent, a kind of androgyny without which the harshest and most masculine genius remains, as far as perfection in art is concerned, an incomplete being."
"Often, while contemplating works of art, not in their easily perceptible materiality, in the too-clear hieroglyphs of their contours or the obvious meaning of their subject, but in the soul with which they are endowed, in the atmospheric impression that they convey, in the spiritual light or darkness which they pour into our souls, I have felt entering into me a kind of vision of the childhood of their creators. Some little sorrow, some small pleasure of the child, inordinately inflated by an exquisite sensibility, become later on in the adult man, even without his knowing it, the basis of a work of art.... Genius is nothing but childhood clearly formulated, newly endowed with virile and powerful means of self-expression."