20th-century Artist Quotes
I've never claimed that this is investment art. When we first started out, all the art colleges and universities across the country would sort of badmouth what we were doing. It's funny that a lot of them now are sending us letters saying, 'We may not totally agree with the way you paint, but we appreciate what you're doing, because you're sending literally thousands of people into art colleges.'
The blackbirds are in this book, they're both pro the kids and against the kids. Just like fate. Sometimes it goes your way. Sometimes... and also a blackbird is from my passion for Schubert songs and his blackbirds and his birds of doom or birds of good. … some people were baffled that in the last big picture of that book, there's a crucifix on the wall of the children's house. Everybody assumes the hero and heroine are Jewish and the mother is Jewish. They're not. They're not. — That was my point. Those kids were in the wrong place at the wrong time. And all children were in the Holocaust. Everybody was in the Holocaust. So, I made sure my hero and heroine were not Jewish children. That was too easy. That was too easy.
The old art depicted space as uniform and enclosed. The new art perceives space as organic and open. The old art was an object. The new art is a system. The configuration of the movement is more important than the shape of the object. The message of a kinetic and luminic work is the light and movement it produces. It has no other message. It has no meaning besides movement.
There is no unity or organization or even aesthetic unity [in Abstract Expressionism / New York School (art)], but we do have a very strong bond in our defense, but we also are strongest in our own individual identity. Our effort, I think, is all shooting off in independent directions. And the artists themselves will not admit to the existence of the New York School. They won't admit to any classification, and most of those painters known as Abstract Expressionists are the first to say they are not.
I've painted for a very long time, but I don't get tired or bored by it; I love to do it. If I don't paint one day, I don't feel well physically or mentally. My eyes bother me when I don't paint. But when I paint a full day, I feel satisfied and everything seems to be OK. I would never stop, never retire. I don't see how people can retire; I don't understand that. My brother Moses died while he was painting. He was actually working on a painting, and the last words he said were to the model: "Phoebe, don't frown." Then he died. He worked to the very last minute.
I was in a slightly befuddled state by this time and the potent combination of watery beer and whiskey was bringing on a severe attack of drawing, as always happens when I start seeing unusual faces through a haze of controlled drinking. My body becomes a protective casing and lets me observe through the two keyholes on the front of my head.
The observer usually will see what his fears and hopes and learning teach him to see. But if he can escape these demands that hold up a mirror to himself, then perhaps some of the implications of the work may be felt. But whatever is seen of felt it should be remembered that for me these paintings had to be something else. It is the price one has to pay for clarity when one's means are honoured only as an instrument of seduction or assault.