A Brief Series of Quotes

Jordan Awan

It is through art, and through art only, that we can realize our perfection. 
—Oscar Wilde


…the demand for perfection is always a sign of a misunderstanding of the ends of art.
–John Ruskin


An artist’s only concern is to shoot for some kind of perfection, and on his own terms, not anyone else’s.
—J.D Salinger


We must surrender the idea that this perfection that we see in the mind or before our eyes is obtainable or attainable….The function of art work is the stimulation of sensibilities…
—Agnes Martin


The function of art when it is genuinely effective, is to give us a chance to break free with old habits, and loose the shackles of reasonable social behavior, the better to retreat down dark passageways and rejoin that part of ourselves which moves towards us with a savage laugh.
—Roger Cardinal


The purpose of art is not the release of a momentary ejection of adrenalin but is, rather, the gradual, lifelong construction of a state of wonder and serenity.
—Glenn Gould


A canvas is an arena in which to act.
—Jackson Pollock


The art process, then, is not simply countless, uncontrolled free expressions, but it is the result of historical understanding and experience formed into a freely expressed clarified judgment.
—Burne Hogarth


Art doesn’t give satisfaction. Art poses problems. Art gives questions. Art inflicts sadness.
—Thomas Hirschhorn


A worker or painter should enjoy his work, else the observer will not enjoy it. 
—Robert Henri


Painting is so difficult and torturing. Last night I burned six canvases along with the autumn leaves.
—Claude Monet


I have a predilection for painting that lends joyousness to a wall. 
—Pierre-Auguste Renoir


What he does is fearful. He will never make anything of it.
—Edouard Manet, on Pierre-Auguste Renoir


Every obstacle smashes me. 
—Franz Kafka


For art and joy go together, with bold openness, and high head, and ready hand … 
—James McNeill Whistler


I have coveted everything and taken pleasure in nothing.
—Guy De Maupassant's epitaph


My aim in life is to make pictures and drawings, as many and as well as I can... 
—Vincent van Gogh


I wish to die painting. 
—Paul Cezanne


Life is so horrible that one can only bear it by avoiding it. And that can be done by living in the world of art. 
—Gustave Flaubert


Art is the proper task of life. 
—Friedrich Nietzsche


What kept life manageable was art, and specifically the practice of art, a practice that Gorky turned into an art, a kind of yoga of learning, looking, focusing, doing, redoing, humbly, pridefully, hourly, daily. Creation was salvation. That sounds romantic, but why put it any other way? 
—Holland Cotter


Is there anything more stupid than to be eager to go on carrying a burden which one would gladly throw away, to loathe one's very being and yet to hold it fast, to fondle the snake that devours us until it has eaten our hearts away?
—Voltaire


Above all else, it is about leaving a mark that I existed: I was here. I was hungry. I was defeated. I was happy. I was sad. I was in love. I was afraid. I was hopeful. I had an idea and I had a good purpose and that’s why I made works of art.
—Felix Gonzalez-Torres


I photograph to see what something will look like photographed.
—Garry Winogrand


It is absurd to look for perfection.
—Camille Pissarro


It's always necessary to seek for perfection.
—Pablo Picasso


In order to go on living one must try to escape the death involved in perfectionism.
—Hannah Arendt


I’m not sure that art and theory were ever that close to begin with.
—Robert Storr


What a fine comedy this world would be if one did not play a part in it.
—Denis Diderot