quotations about art
It is the glory and good of Art,
That Art remains the one way possible
Of speaking truths, to mouths like mine at least.
ROBERT BROWNING, The Ring and the Book
The work of art is a scapegoat surplus product, a dispensable cliche of form and meaning, having only the value the spectator--the symbol of society at large--gives it as he encounters it in the no man's land of the gallery or museum. He victimizes it and is victimized by it; he is ambivalent about it as it is in itself. It has a certain amount of authority, yet no more than he gives it by channeling his life-energy in its forms. In other words, it forces him to recognize his own authoritarian style, i.e., his tendency to treat his own identity as a finished form, but at the same time possessed of an energy that contradicts that form by reaching for other identities. The work of art teaches the spectator that he too is communal cliche and unfinished expression.
DONALD BURTON KUSPIT, Redeeming Art: Critical Reveries
The great artist when he comes, uses everything that has been discovered or known about his art up to that point, being able to accept or reject in a time so short it seems that the knowledge was born with him, rather than that he takes instantly what it takes the ordinary man a lifetime to know, and then the great artist goes beyond what has been done or known and makes something of his own.
ERNEST HEMINGWAY, Death in the Afternoon
The difference between Art and Life is that Art is more bearable.
CHARLES BUKOWSKI, Notes of a Dirty Old Man
All art is at once surface and symbol. Those who go beneath the surface do so at their peril.
OSCAR WILDE, The Picture of Dorian Gray
It was the job of art to bring true feelings alive. To shock people into awareness.
MICHAEL CRICHTON, Next
Computers creating art is an upsetting concept mostly because of what it means about humans.
JASON LEE MILLER, "Automated Content Will Unmake Existence"
Art is not Nature, art is Nature digested. Art is a sublime excrement.
GEORGE MOORE, Confessions of a Young Man
While our art cannot, as we wish it could, save us from wars, privation, envy, greed, old age, or death, it can revitalize us amidst it all.
RAY BRADBURY, preface, Zen in the Art of Writing
Art is not a copy of the real world; one of the damn things is enough.
VIRGINIA WOOLF, attributed, Languages of Art
Artists recognize other artists as soon as the pencil begins to move.
DAN SIMMONS, The Rise of Endymion
Take a quart of nature, boil it down to a pint, and the residue is art.
AUSTIN O'MALLEY, Keystones of Thought
Every artist dips his brush in his own soul and paints his own nature into his pictures.
HENRY WARD BEECHER, Proverbs from Plymouth Pulpit
Art is the concrete artifact of faith and expectation, the realization of a world that would otherwise be little more than a veil of pointless consciousness stretched over a gulf of mystery.
STEPHEN KING, Duma Key
Art functions pyramidally: all new achievements are based on the utilization of everything that has been accumulated below, at the foundations of the pyramid. Revolutions do not occur here; this field, more than any other, is governed by evolution. And we must know what has been done before us in the field of verbal art. This does not mean that you must follow in trodden paths: you must contribute something of your own. A work of art is of value only when it is original, both in content and in form. But in order to leap upward, it is necessary to take off from the ground. It is essential that there be a ground.
YEVGENY ZAMYATIN, The Psychology of Creative Work
The job of mass entertainment is to cajole, seduce and flatter consumers to let them know that what they thought was right is right, and that their tastes and their immediate gratification are of the utmost concern of the purveyor. The job of the artist, on the other hand, is to say, wait a second, to the contrary, everything that we have thought is wrong. Let's reexamine it.
DAVIE MAMET, interview, Salon, 1997
An artist cannot speak about his art any more than a plant can discuss horticulture.
JEAN COCTEAU, Newsweek, May 16, 1955
Art -- the one achievement of man which has made the long trip up from all fours seem well advised.
JAMES THURBER, Collecting Himself
An artist cannot fail; it is success to be one.
CHARLES HORTON COOLEY, Life and the Student
The difference between the first and second-best things in art absolutely seems to escape verbal definition -- it is a matter of a hair, a shade, an inward quiver of some kind -- yet what miles away in the point of preciousness!
WILLIAM JAMES, letter to Henry Rutgers Marshall, Feb. 7, 1899