„I don’t listen to what art critics say. I don’t know anybody who needs a critic to find out what art is.“

Last update May 7, 2019. History
Jean-Michel Basquiat photo
Jean-Michel Basquiat7
American artist 1960 - 1988

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„You know who critics are?— the men who have failed in literature and art.“

—  Benjamin Disraeli British Conservative politician, writer, aristocrat and Prime Minister 1804 - 1881

Source: Books, Coningsby (1844), Lothair (1870), Ch. 35. Compare: "Reviewers are usually people who would have been poets, historians, biographers, if they could; they have tried their talents at one or the other, and have failed; therefore they turn critics", Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Lectures on Shakespeare and Milton, p. 36. Delivered 1811–1812; "Reviewers, with some rare exceptions, are a most stupid and malignant race. As a bankrupt thief turns thief-taker in despair, so an unsuccessful author turns critic", Percy Bysshe Shelley, Fragments of Adonais.

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„A public that tries to do without criticism, and asserts that it knows what it wants or likes, brutalizes the arts and loses its cultural memory.“

—  Northrop Frye Canadian literary critic and literary theorist 1912 - 1991

"Quotes", Anatomy of Criticism: Four Essays (1957), Polemical Introduction
Context: A public that tries to do without criticism, and asserts that it knows what it wants or likes, brutalizes the arts and loses its cultural memory. Art for art's sake is a retreat from criticism which ends in an impoverishment of civilized life itself.

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„Whether people accept this music or not, I don’t give a damn. I know how good—and right—the group is. We all sell out to a point. And don’t get me wrong, I like living comfortably and having a nice car. But if money determines your art, then what’s the point?“

—  John McLaughlin guitarist, founder of the Mahavishnu Orchestra 1942

On the criticism of his acoustic band Shakti, after temporarily retiring his electric period with the Mahavishnu Orchestra, as quoted in Jerome, Jim. "John McLaughlin Pulls the Plug on His Guitar, but He's as Electrifying as Ever", People Magazines. 21 June 1976. http://people.com/archive/john-mc-laughlin-pulls-the-plug-on-his-guitar-but-hes-as-electrifying-as-ever-vol-5-no-24/

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„You don’t make art out of good intentions.“

—  Gustave Flaubert French writer (1821–1880) 1821 - 1880

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„I don’t distinguish between magic and art.“

—  Alan Moore English writer primarily known for his work in comic books 1953

De Abaitua interview (1998)
Context: I don’t distinguish between magic and art. When I got into magic, I realised I had been doing it all along, ever since I wrote my first pathetic story or poem when I was twelve or whatever. This has all been my magic, my way of dealing with it.

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„Criticism is easy, and art is difficult.“

—  Philippe Néricault Destouches French playwright 1680 - 1754

La critique est aisée, et l'art est difficile.
Glorieux, II, 5, reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 150.

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„Very few people know why art sells so high. I don’t even know.“

—  Ai Weiwei Chinese concept artist 1957

Ai Weiwei, interview in “ Change http://www.pbs.org/art21/watch-now/episode-change,” Episode 1, Season Six, Art: 21—Art in the Twenty-First Century, PBS, April 2012.
2010-, 2012

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„.. poor art for poor people [his critic on social realism art in America]“

—  Arshile Gorky Armenian-American painter 1904 - 1948

Source: posthumous, Astract Expressionist Painting in America, p. 6

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„What strange arts necessity finds out.“

—  Christopher Marlowe English dramatist, poet and translator 1564 - 1593

Venus, Act I, scene i, line 169
Dido (c. 1586)

„A few months ago I read an interview with a critic; a well-known critic; an unusually humane and intelligent critic. The interviewer had just said that the critic “sounded like a happy man”, and the interview was drawing to a close; the critic said, ending it all: “I read, but I don’t get any time to read at whim. All the reading I do is in order to write or teach, and I resent it. We have no TV, and I don’t listen to the radio or records, or go to art galleries or the theater. I’m a completely negative personality.”
As I thought of that busy, artless life—no records, no paintings, no plays, no books except those you lecture on or write articles about—I was so depressed that I went back over the interview looking for some bright spot, and I found it, one beautiful sentence: for a moment I had left the gray, dutiful world of the professional critic, and was back in the sunlight and shadow, the unconsidered joys, the unreasoned sorrows, of ordinary readers and writers, amateurishly reading and writing “at whim”. The critic said that once a year he read Kim, it was plain, at whim: not to teach, not to criticize, just for love—he read it, as Kipling wrote it, just because he liked to, wanted to, couldn’t help himself. To him it wasn’t a means to a lecture or an article, it was an end; he read it not for anything he could get out of it, but for itself. And isn’t this what the work of art demands of us? The work of art, Rilke said, says to us always: You must change your life. It demands of us that we too see things as ends, not as means—that we too know them and love them for their own sake. This change is beyond us, perhaps, during the active, greedy, and powerful hours of our lives, but during the contemplative and sympathetic hours of our reading, our listening, our looking, it is surely within our power, if we choose to make it so, if we choose to let one part of our nature follow its natural desires. So I say to you, for a closing sentence: Read at whim! read at whim!“

—  Randall Jarrell poet, critic, novelist, essayist 1914 - 1965

“Poets, Critics, and Readers”, pp. 112–113
A Sad Heart at the Supermarket: Essays & Fables (1962)

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„Abandoned by philosophy, politics, and sociology, historical determinism continues to hold out in formalist art criticism.“

—  Harold Rosenberg American writer and art critic 1906 - 1978

Source: Art on the Edge, (1975), p. 62, "Olitski, Kelly, Hamilton: Dogma and Talent" : On Jules Olitski, Ellsworth Kelly and Richard Hamilton

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