Twelve Artist Statements #12


1) “I remember suddenly coming on a cubist Picasso at the end of a small room at Paul Rosenberg’s Gallery. It must have been a 1915 painting- it was what seemed to me then, completely abstract. And in the centre there was an absolutely miraculous green- very deep, very potent and absolutely real. In fact, none of the actual events in one’s life have been more real than that…”

-Ben Nicholson quoted in Francis Bacon: Anatomy of an Enigma (Constable: 2008), by Michael Peppiatt, pg. 65.

2) “To understand a work of art, it must be seen and perceived, not worded. Words can be used to place art historically… But the actual understanding of a work of art only comes through the process by which it was created- and that was by perception.”

-David Smith, from David Smith: A Centennial (Guggenheim Museum Publications: 2006), pg. ix.

3) “I prefer to think of my work as: between categories. Between Time and Space. Between painting and music. Between the music’s construction, and its surface.”

-Morton Feldman, from The New York Schools of Music and Visual Arts (Routledge: 2002), edited by Steven Johnson, pg. 179.

4) “Anyone who does not make his own rules is an ass.”

-Edgard Varèse, from Varèse: Astronomer in Sound (Kahn & Averill: 2003), by Malcolm MacDonald, pg. xi.

5) “Nothing can destroy the word, it will always remain on record, just as a book cannot be destroyed by burning it.”

-Man Ray, from Man Ray: American Artist (Da Capo Press: 2000), by Neil Baldwin, pg. 181.

6) “To make the contrast between [John] Coltrane and Sonny [Rollins], which generally we’re obliged to make, Coltrane created new vocabulary, while Sonny developed the existing material- I think there’s a comparison there between him and me.”

-Lee Konitz, from Lee Konitz: Conversations on the Improviser’s Art (The University of Michigan Press: 2007), by Andy Hamilton, pg. 92.

7) “For me the most powerful Surrealist image is, I must admit, that which displays the highest degree of arbitrariness- which takes longest to translate into practical language either because one of its terms is mysteriously missing, or because it promises to be sensational and then appears to fizzle out, or because it promises to be sensational and then appears to fizzle out, or because it suddenly narrows its field, or because it is hallucinatory by nature, or because it finds in itself some ridiculous formal justification, or because it quite naturally makes the abstract masquerade as concrete, or because it implies the negation of some elementary property or, finally, because it touches off laughter.”

-André Breton, quoted in Marcel Brion, Modern Painting, trans. S. Hood (London: Thames and Hudson, 1958), pp. 35-36.

8) “Composition consists principally of injecting a system of links into naïve musical ideas.”

-György Ligeti, from György Ligeti: Music of the Imagination (Northeastern University Press: 2003), by Richard Steinitz, pg. 167.

9) Wouldn’t it be marvelous to develop a study center similar to those Frank Lloyd Wright set up in Arizona and Wisconsin for young people to study architecture, so that what you began and accomplished in music may be continued?

“I am not a teacher.”

-Duke Ellington in response, from Music Is My Mistress (Da Capo Press: 1973), by Duke Ellington with assistance from Stanley Dance, pg. 460.

10) “In the early fifties, no matter what modern-dance group one danced with, it was a privilege on paid for; paid for by outside work, any kind one could get that would allow time for daily classes and rehearsals and the infrequent performance. Rarely was anything paid beyond a token fee. In those days, because the dancers (and, of course, the choreographers) themselves subsidized modern dance- not the NEA, NYSCA, the Ford Foundation, Exxon, Phillip Morris, or any other establishment Santa Claus- the climate was radically different. The passion to dance was what sustained them.”

-from Chance And Circumstance: Twenty Years With Cage And Cunningham (Alfred A. Knopf: 2007), by Carolyn Brown, pg. 56.

11) “We experience more than we can analyse.”

-A. N. Whitehead, quoted in Richard Serra: Writings Interviews (University of Chicago Press: 1994), by Richard Serra, pg. 8.

12) “In terms of existing, everything is equal.”

-Donald Judd, from MoMA Highlights (Museum of Modern Art: 1999), edited by Harriet Schoenholz Bee, pg. 289.