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Only conservatives believe that subversion is still being carried on in the arts and that society is being shaken by it... Advanced art today is no longer a cause – it contains no moral imperative. There is no virtue in clinging to principles and standards, no vice in selling or in selling out.
With Dada I … have in common a certain mistrust toward power. We don't like authority, we don't like power, To me art is a form of manifest revolt, total and complete. It's a political attitude which doesn't need to found a political party. It's not a matter of taking power; when you are against it, you can't take it. We're against all forms of force which aggregate and crystallize an authority that oppresses people. Obviously this is not a characteristic of my art alon-it's much more general, a basic political attitude. It's a clear intention, more necessary today than ever, to oppose all forms of force emanating from a managing, centralising political power.
Genius can probably run on ahead and seek out new ways. But the good artists who follow after genius — and I count myself among these — have to restore the lost connection once more. A pure studio art is unfruitful and frail, for anything that does not form living roots — why should it exist at all?
Art has a double visage: it looks before and after. Romance is its forward-looking face. The germ of growth is in romanticism. Formalism, on the other hand, consolidates tradition; gleans what has been gained and makes it facile to the hand or the mind; economizes the energy of genius.
Great nations write their autobiographies in three manuscripts—the book of their deeds, the book of their words, and the book of their art. Not one of these books can be understood unless we read the two others; but of the three, the only quite trustworthy one is the last. The acts of a nation may be triumphant by its good fortune; and its words mighty by the genius of a few of its children: but its art, only by the general gifts and common sympathies of the race.