Quotes of Note

Below are some of the memorable and thought-provoking quotations I have gathered together during my (ongoing) reading of art history, art criticism and theory.

“It’s wanting to know that makes us matter” – Tom Stoppard, Arcadia

“art’s primary role is not as an asset class and it’s not necessarily about being an urban-regeneration catalyst. Its most important role is to make meaning” – Grayson Perry, Playing to the Gallery P111

“Learning about things, learning how to appreciate them, is just as creative an activity as making” – Ken Stradling

“All art is at once surface and symbol. Those that go beneath the surface do so at their peril. Those who read the symbol do so at their peril. It is the spectator, and not life, that art mirrors” – Oscar Wilde

“An image never stands alone. It belongs to a system of visibility that governs the status of the bodies represented and the kind of attention they merit. The issue is knowing the kind of attention prompted by some particular system” – Jacques Ranciere, The Emancipated Spectator

“Art doesn’t speak unless it’s spoken to” – Marlene Dumas, Waiting Rooms (need T.V)

“art has to provide us with more than a spectacle, more than something devoted to the delight of passive spectators, because it has to work for a society where everybody should be active” – Jacques Ranciere, The Emancipated Spectator

“the camera modified the way in which individuals are governed and the extent of their participation in the forms of governance” – Ariella Azoulay, The Civil Contract of Photography

“The task of the art historian today would entail a re-engagement with the discipline’s most fundamental dilemma: the uncanny power of artistry or artifice to both fabricate and problematise mooted social realities and institutions; to both empower and disempower; to delight and thwart, simultaneously entertain and contain” – Coda, Plato’s Dilemma and the Tasks of the Art Historian Today P509

“Art does not reproduce the visible; it makes visible” – Paul Klee

“Each form is the frozen temporary image of a process. Thus, any work merely represents a way station in the process of becoming, and not a frozen goal” – Lissitzky, Proun Space

“One can never experience art through descriptions. Explanations and analyses can serve at best as intellectual preparation. They may, however, encourage one to make a direct contact with works of art” – Moholy-Nagy, The New Vision P12

“Art is the senses’ grindstone, sharpening the eyes, the mind and the feelings”  Moholy-Nagy, The New Vision P76

“Every true history is contemporary history” – Benedetto Croce

“Exhibitions should develop a life of their own, more like a conversation between curator and artist than an arrangement of their work to suit a pre-existing idea” – Hans Ulrich Obrist, Ways of Curating P87

“The role of the curator is to create free space, not occupy existing space … The crux of this work is to build temporary communities, by connecting different people and practices, and creating the conditions for triggering sparks between them” – Hans Ulrich Obrist, Ways of Curating P154

“Curators work with ideas as much as objects, developing thoughts through their conjunction and alignment of works. This is a matter of theatre and choreography, as well as art history. As onlookers, we invent our own narratives, take our own soundings and find our own sightless. Variety is key – the museum must cater for all kinds of audiences and readings” – Adrian Searle, Tate Modern’s Switch House Review in The Guardian 14.06.16

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