Where the Old Masters created an illusion of space into which one could imagine walking, the illusion created by a Modernist is one into which one can look, can travel through, only with the eye.
The difficulty of carrying on a leisure-oriented tradition of culture in a work-oriented society is enough in itself to keep the present crisis in our culture unresolved.
The main trouble with avant-garde art and literature, from the point of view of fascists and Stalinists, is not that they are too critical, but that they are too "innocent," that it is too difficult to inject effective propaganda, that kitsch is more pliable to this end.
The peasant finds no "natural" urgency within himself that will drive him toward Picasso in spite of all difficulties. In the end the peasant will go back to kitsch when he feels like looking at pictures, for he can enjoy kitsch without effort
Where Picasso paints cause, Repin paints effect. Repin predigests art for the spectator and provides a short cut to the pleasure of art that is necessarily difficult in genuine art. Repin, or kitsch, is synthetic art.
Photography is the most transparent of the art mediums devised or discovered by man. It is probably for this reason that it proves so difficult to make the photograph transcend its almost inevitable function as document and act as a work of art as well.
All profoundly original art looks ugly at first.
If you want to change your art, change your habits.
The dissolution of the pictorial into sheer texture, into apparently sheer sensation, into an accumulation of repetitions, seems to speak for and answer something profound in contemporary sensibility.
I don't get into 'becauses.' When you come into a studio you see a number of works. My habit is to go to the one I like most. If you start to say, 'because,' you get into art jargon.
Realistic, naturalistic art had dissembled the medium, using art to conceal art; Modernism used art to call attention to art.
With an 'advanced' artist, it's not now possible to make a portrait.
Art is a matter strictly of experience, not of principles and what counts first and last in art is quality, all other things are secondary.
You like it, that's all, whether it's a landscape or abstract. You like it. It hits you. You don't have to read it. The work of art-sculpture or painting-forces your eye.
The reality of art is disclosed only in experience, not in reflection upon experience.
When you don't like something the words come more readily.
A poor life is lived by any one who doesn't regularly take time out to stand and gaze, or sit and listen, or touch, or smell, or brood, without any further end in mind, simply for the satisfaction gotten from what is gazed at, listened to, touched, smelled, or brooded upon.
Decoration is asked to be 'merely' pleasing, 'merely' embellishing, and the 'functional' logic of Modernism leaves no room, apparently, for such 'mereness.' This is part of the pity of Modernism, one of the sacrifices it enjoins...
Kitsch is Mechanical and operates by formulas.
Kitsch is deceptive. It has many different levels, and some of them are high enough to be dangerous to the naive seeker of true light.
The superior artist is the one who knows how to be influenced.
Nothing could be further from the authentic art of our time than the idea of a rupture of continuity. Art is - among other things - continuity, and unthinkable without it.
It's as though aesthetic value, quality, could be preserved only by concentrating on 'absolute' or 'autonomous' art: thus on visual art... that held and moved and stirred the beholder as sheer decoration could not.
It has become apparent that art can have a startling impact without really being or saying anything startling — or new. The character itself of being startling, spectacular, or upsetting has become conventionalized, part of safe good taste.
Complete honesty has nothing to do with 'purity' or naivety. The full truth is unattainable to naivety, and the completely honest artist is not pure in heart.
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