Petites Pensées

Be stronger than the society.

Art is the logical conclusion to Western thought.

Greatness in art was never achieved without a concept of greatness.

Greatness in art is the juxtaposition of talent, desire, knowledge and luck. But success in art is something very different.

Artists should make less art - but make better art.

People will not admit it, but they hate artists and want them to be shrinking, meek little souls. To hell with them.

The rape of Iraq by America and the consequent theft of museum works and the horrific despoilation of archeological sites is one of the worst disasters in the history of art and culture since the burning of the library at Alexandria. You paid for it. When will we leave these people alone?

Effective images in art tend to be read as 2 dimensional or 3 dimensional gestalts (at any one moment in time), and not in between the two.

Mediocrity is the barrier 99.99999% of people place in front of what is great in art.

Anti-intellectualism in the San Francisco Bay Area accounts for perhaps half of the ineffectiveness of art in this region. One may add a generally low spiritual IQ. And curiosity. And visual illiteracy. Added together an art world is almost impossible and in fact does not exist.

Ignore anyone who refers to your art as "product". Or to your quest as a "career", and your audience a "market", unless it is you - in which case give up art.

Art galleries pander to the top 1/100th of 1 percent of the population, regarding income. Therefore, the art they show essentially must satisfy the corporate elite and the misanthropic conceits of the very rich - and thereby overwhelmingly is the enemy of real art.

The true artist creates art to satisfy an inner fire, to help humanity, to overcome mental and emotional barriers, one's own class, ethnic, gender and geographic limitations - and to understand the connection of all things with all things.

Artists should strive to walk with the great artists, rather than serve any temporal masters. Speak with Michelangelo, not with Berggruen. Walk with Bartok, and not with Wall Street. Study Rembrandt not war. Kahlo not mammon.

Moral correctness has little to do with aesthetic correctness. While a moral sensibility (usually generosity of spirit) underlies all art, it is not its raison d'etre. What was Homer's morality? Yet can you say he was not a great poet?

No great artist ever consciously killed another human being, unless Caravaggio is a great artist. Sophocles fought as a hoplite for the Athenian army but whether he killed in battle is unknown. Jackson Pollock in fatally crashing his car killed a young woman riding in the back seat. There must be many other "gray" areas of action and intention in such artists' lives.

A lack of a sense of history is fatal to an artist, as is a lack of taste. Yet these issues one never hears discussed among artists. Are we this ignorant? Does the shoe fit?

Van Gogh's despair was the despair of a wonderful and fabulous mind brought down by the society in which he found himself. One cannot blame such despair. The situation is not really better today. One look at the people to be found in the art world is often enough to send one running (perhaps screaming) in the other direction.

Manet's puzzlement at the hatred his work inspired in fools is curious. He really believed his work was a natural response to art and reality as he saw it. And so it was. That was why it was hated (and why many fools today still do not love his art).

I read once that Marcel Duchamp predicted that the curse of the modern world was the crushing mediocrity of the growing middle classes. And so it is. Let us also add the even wealthier classes who embrace an often even more self-indulgent and vapid sensibility toward art.

Leonardo not only tried to fly, he was one of the first mountain climbers, conceived of and tried to produce plastic and was one of the first to actually attempt to harness solar power. Today he would probably be reduced to a software game developer.

Art is not a specific call to any one moral position. It tends toward greater and greater consciousness (only if one truly believes in it) which allows the artist to see the higher position on most moral questions.

The average viewer spends all of 6 seconds in front of the average work of art when visiting a museum, I am told.

To be in touch with art means to work to be in touch with oneself. To be in touch with oneself is to protect oneself from exploitation by those who would manipulate your consciousness for their own purposes. Our "mainstream" culture and its corporate-owned media are corrupt and exist to maintain and extend our empire at the expense of everything else.

Art allows the creator and perceiver to view the world from a perspective not attainable in any other way, or in any other discipline, religion or mystical practice. Art can comment upon all other disciplines, religions and practices, moving in and out of them at will. It is a meditation that requires action and realization outside of itself.

S. I. Newhouse is a traitor to American culture, but who's keeping track? You may ask why.

The Bay Area will probably never develop a great artist. It cannot see and will not support such a phenomenon.

To believe in art is to believe in your own power as both a creator and as a viewer.

Skill can be crucial, but is not necessary if the spirit of the artist is true and can find its way without the use of excessive manual skill.

Giotto was the first great Western visual artist since ancient times, a hiatus of perhaps 1200 years. To ignore his work is to miss and be blind to much that is utterly fabulous.

Art can exist in physical objects, which can lose their power, yet can mysteriously regain it in later, more evolved eras.

Life is meaningless, but art derives its meaning locally, among living people, for living people. This makes it worthwhile even in the face of our indifferent universe.

Because great art is sophisticated, it has very little support in the world, and is always in danger of disappearing entirely.

Americans tend to be materialistic and selfish. This is not the way of real art, and contributes to the degradation of the culture of art in this society. Unfortunately, however, with the huge increase in the number of artists, the art world tends more and more to resemble the average, corporate world. And Hollywood.

While very many people are very intelligent, their intelligence often is used merely to generate money and power based on money. This renders them vulnerable to an incredibly low consciousness in other areas, such as in art where they often appear nearly retarded. Their intelligence, education and training is like a mask which the artist can easily look around to see the often pathetic soul behind.

The greatest art is as great as any other great work of art. There is an absolute level, or efficacy of art beyond which it is probably not possible to travel. This absolute greatness transcends all time and space and while there are people to perceive it, people of taste and consciousness, all the great works of art will continue to have meaning.

I respect people who understand that awareness particularly in art, is a constant process of development, cultivation and even struggle. Much as in political, intellectual and religious movements, consciousness through art, as expressed in art, requires energy, focus, and a certain delight in the difficulty which understanding demands.

To be initiate in the greatness of art, which is nothing less than the greatness of the human spirit communicated to other evolved spirits, is to be initiate into a club anyone may join, without fanfare, dues, diplomas, rituals or other formal or institutional credentials (for what degree did Phidias or the artists of Lescaux have?). Yet joining is not necessarily belonging in a certain sense.

The true few who actually possess the greatest insight tend to be unknown because their insight is knowable only to themselves (others likely not being able to appreciate it) except for 'the happy few' who may find kindered souls and share with them this exquisite understanding. That is unbelievably and tragically rare. In other words, the great increase in the number of artists has not resulted in a greater number of great works of art.

Marcel Duchamp and Piet Mondrian are the greatest artists of the 20th Century in the visual arts. Greater even than Picasso, Matisse or any of the American artists. And Duchamp has become the preeminently influential artist of the late 20th Century.

That art is irrelevant to the basis of American culture is that culture's fatal flaw, and for which the American experiment itself is doomed to irrelevance in time future. If not already.

Technology does not necessarily create culture, it may merely fill time for smaller minds. At best, technology can create more access to art for more people, but leading horses to water or people to art does not mean they will drink or think.

Some say that being a white American male means one has it all. This is partly true. It is also partly bullshit. In approaching the art world, one sees that for some being male is preferable in an artist, for others it does not matter, while for some it pre-disqualifies one from participation. I have some ethnic and gender support in the art world because of the predominance of white males there, but really there's no political support, no cultural support, and I am not wealthy. I have left off making money to instead make art. My work is utterly independent in the barrenness of a materialistic, aesthetically illiterate society - that is the real problem. In art it isn't enough to merely complain of problems or barriers and yet these exist. Overcoming sometimes means believing thre is a culture to overcome for.

Is there anything in Western culture beyond art? Most people, if they are honest would say money. Others would say God, and they are more interesting. Others would say others, and are more interesting still. I would agree with the person who said what is important in life is to love someone and some thing. Art is a most sublime form of love for others, because the artist cares enough to distill for the world the best possible experiences, perhaps for the rest of time. It is a form of love and generosity to aspire to.