Pearls from artists* # 472
*an ongoing series of quotations – mostly from artists, to artists – that offers wisdom, inspiration, and advice for the sometimes lonely road we are on.
A remark by Kurt Anderson suggests how the Internet discourages patient gazing: “Waiting a while to get everything you want… was a definition of maturity. Demanding satisfaction right this instant, on the other hand, is a defining behavior of seven-year-olds. The powerful appeal of the Web is not just the ‘community’ it enables but its instantane-ity… as a result… delayed gratification itself came to seem quaint and unnecessary.” A survey commissioned by the Visitor Studies Association reveals the impact of impatience. On average, the survey found, Americans spend between six and ten seconds looking at individual works in museums. (Is it just a coincidence that six to ten seconds is also the average time browsers perch on any given Web page?) Yet how many hours a day do we spend absorbed by one or another electronic screen? For the Los Angeles artist Ed Ruscha (born 1937) brief encounters won’t suffice. When somebody asked, “How can you tell good art from bad?” Ruscha replied, “With a bad work you immediately say, ‘Wow!’ But afterwards, you think, ‘Hum? Maybe not.’ With a good work, the opposite happens.” Time is lodged at the heart of Ruscha’s formula, as the artwork becomes part of our temporal experience. In order to know what is good, we need to take a breather. Even to know what is bad, we need to pause.
Arden Reed in Slow Art: The Experience of Looking, Sacred Images to James Turrell
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Pearls from artists* # 194
* an ongoing series of quotations – mostly from artists, to artists – that offers wisdom, inspiration, and advice for the sometimes lonely road we are on.
I did sculpture because what interested me in painting was to bring some order to my brain. It was a change of means. I took to clay as a break from painting; at the time I’d done absolutely everything I could in painting. Which means it was still about organizing. It was to put my sensations in order and look for a method that really suited me. When I’d found it in sculpture, I used it for painting. To come into possession of my own brain: that was always the goal, a sort of hierarchy of all my sensations, so that I could reach a conclusion.
One day, visiting Carriere at his house, I told him that. He replied: “But, my friend, that’s why you work. If you ever managed it, you’d probably stop working. It’s your reason for working.”
In painting – in any oeuvre – the goal is to reconcile the irreconcilable. There are all kinds of qualities in us, contradictory qualities. You have to construct something viable with that, something stable. That’s why you work your whole life long and want to keep on working until the last moment… as long as you haven’t admitted defeat or lost your curiosity, as long as you haven’t settled into a routine.
Chatting with Henri Matisse: The Lost 1941 Interview, Henri Matisse with Pierre Courthion, edited by Serge Guilbaut, translated by Chris Miller
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