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Twelve Artist Statements #9 | Ken Vandermark - musician & composer

Twelve Artist Statements #9

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1. “My artist friends have always respected what I’ve done, but in the end they produce some kind of permanent object. In a sense we don’t have anything to show for the work we’ve done because what we really do is produce time; we create time.”

-Peter Brötzmann, conversation with Ken Vandermark in Molde, Norway on July 19, 2007.

2. “The greatest adventures, especially in the brutal and policed period, take place in the mind.”

-Robert Motherwell, from The New York School, A Cultural Reckoning (University of California Press, 1972), by Dore Ashton, pg. 162.

3. “Everything we need to work with is around us, although most of it is initially confusing. To find order in what we experience we must first inventory the total experiences, then temporarily set aside all irrelevancies. I do not invent my thoughts. I merely separate out some local patterns from a confusing whole. The act is a dismissal of pressures. Flight was the discovery of the lift- not the push.”

-Buckminster Fuller, from from Buckminster Fuller, Anthology For A New Millennium (St. Martin’s Griffin, 2002), edited by Thomas T. K. Zung, pg. 40.

4. “Art cannot be taught, but the way to art can be taught.”

-Max Beckmann, from Max Beckmann, Self-Portrait In Words (University of Chicago Press, 1997), edited and annotated by Barbara Copeland Buenger, pg. 322.

5. “The artist should reflect the tempo of his time.”

-Max Roach quoted from the liner notes to his album, Percussion Bittersweet, released on Impulse! records during 1962.

6. “I consider criticism to be necessary. It makes no difference whether it comes from a layperson or a professional; its influence, for good and ill, is a fact that it would be absurd to ignore. All friction with the outer world is instructive, and this includes criticism.”

-Max Beckmann, from Max Beckmann, Self-Portrait In Words (University of Chicago Press, 1997), edited and annotated by Barbara Copeland Buenger, pg. 189.

7. “The [International Design Science] Institute’s modest influence was a commentary on the resistances of the times and what [Alfred North] Whitehead called the inertia of empty categories and dead ideas. With minor instances of support from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and isolated friends, the Institute was never able to rally the financial resources to implement its mission. In some ways, alas, it confirmed Bucky’s deepest conviction that the evolutionary design of the universe rested on solitary, particular, individual inventiveness and sustaining power, and the universe could not be forced or bargained with and was indifferent to the games we play to control or subordinate others.”

-Dr. Glenn A. Olds, from Buckminster Fuller, Anthology For A New Millennium (St. Martin’s Griffin, 2002), edited by Thomas T. K. Zung, pg. 64.

8. “Without music I may feel blind, atrophied, incomplete, inexistent.”

-Duke Ellington from Music Is My Mistress (Da Capo Press reprint of Doubleday & Company edition, 1973), by Edward Kennedy Ellington, pg. 213.

9. “[T]he visible world in combination with our inner selves provides the realm where we may seek infinitely for the individuality of our own souls. In the best art this search has always existed. It has been, strictly speaking, a search for something abstract. And today it remains urgently necessary to express even more strongly one’s own individuality. Every form of significant art from Bellini to Henri Rousseau has ultimately been abstract.”

-Max Beckmann, from Max Beckmann, Self-Portrait In Words (University of Chicago Press, 1997), edited and annotated by Barbara Copeland Buenger, pg. 314.

10. “What I do is what I mean.”

-Morton Feldman from Morton Feldman Says, Selected Interviews and Lectures 1964-1987 (Hyphen Press, 2006), edited by Chris Villars, pg. 58.

11. “The feints and dodges of many abstract expressionists are well documented in the proceedings of the Club, and in numerous memoirs. The idea was to have no part of the dogmas that had nourished the modern tradition. Rhetoric, verbal or visual, was suspect; for where there is none, there is no school, and if there is no school, there are no limits. Their rhetoric was that of no rhetoric, and no one exemplifies this better than [Willem] de Kooning, who has shifted his ground and contradicted himself publicly with the deliberate intention of throwing off the rhetoricians. As [Edwin] Denby says about de Kooning’s attitude toward theory: ‘He grasped the active part and threw away the rest.’”

-from The New York School, A Cultural Reckoning (University of California Press, 1972), by Dore Ashton, pg. 4.

12. “I wish they’d stop trying to describe the music as American or European. In every case it was simply the work of individuals.”

-Evan Parker, conversation with Ken Vandermark in London, England on October 25, 2007.