THROUGHOUT the centuries, arguments have raged over the...

salmagundi

June 12, 1992

THROUGHOUT the centuries, arguments have raged over the question of what is art. Here are some of the answers given by artists themselves.

"I feel that art has something to do with the achievement of stillness in the midst of chaos. A stillness which characterizes prayer, too, and the eye of the storm. I think that art has something to do with an arrest of attention in the midst of distraction."

-- Saul Bellow.

"What was any art but an effort to make a sheath, a mould in which to imprison for a moment, the shining, elusive element which is life itself?"

-- Willa Cather.

"Our feeling for a work of art is rarely independent of the place it occupies in art history."

-- Andre Malraux.

"Nature and art, being two different things, cannot be the same. Through art we express our conception of what nature is not."

-- Pablo Picasso.

"Art almost always has its ingredient of impudence, its flouting of established authority, so that it may substitute its own authority, and its own enlightenment."

-- Ben Shahn.

"In art, all who have done something other than their predecessors have merited the epithet of revolutionary; and it is they alone who are masters."

-- Paul Gauguin.

"A work of art has an author and yet, when it is perfect, it has something which is essentially anonymous about it."

-- Simone Weil.

"The essence of all beautiful art, all great art, is gratitude."

-- Friedrich Nietzsche.

"Art when really understood is the province of every human being. It is simply a question of doing things, anything, well. It is not an outside, extra thing."

$ -- Robert Henri.

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