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The purpose of art is to inform and delight.


Through poetic connections feeling is heightened and the spectator is made more active. He becomes a participant in the process of discovering life, unsupported by ready-made deductions from the plot or ineluctable pointers by the author.

The method whereby the artist obliges the audience to build the separate parts into a whole, and to think on, further than has been stated, is the only one that puts the audience on a par with the artist in their perception of the film. And indeed from the point of view of mutual respect only that kind of reciprocity is worthy of artistic practice.

It makes no difference to me how the public receives and interprets my films. I make films in such a way as to create a certain spiritual state in the viewer. As a result he cannot remain unchanged after watching the film. But what the viewer thinks about my film's style is unimportant to me.

Viewers search for meanings as if this was some sort of a charade. I know of no work of art whose meaning would be clear to the degree demanded by some. When they listen to music, read a novel or watch a play they frequently encounter fragments they don't understand. It's a normal state of the relationship toward a work of art. But when they go to the cinema—they demand complete clarity, total understanding. I am against discrimination in art. Clarity is not most important.

The world created by an artist is as complex as the world that surrounds him.

Andrei Tarkovsky

Director of Ivan's Childhood

The eye and brain edit things out, so you only see the things you're interested in.

The camera sees what it wants to see, but it's not exactly what the eye wants to see. It's like having another eye that you hold in your hand, but it's an interesting, different kind of eye.

David Byrne

How photos became fine art

I think about photographs as being full, or empty.

You picture something in a frame and it's got lots of accounting going on in it--stones and buildings and trees and air--but that's not what fills up a frame.

You fill up the frame with feelings, energy, discovery, and risk, and leave room enough for someone else to get in there.

Joel Meyerowitz

The creative photographer sets free the human contents of objects; and imparts humanity to the inhuman world around him.

Clarence John Laughlin

Autumnal Tint

Objects are concealed from our view, not so much because they are out of the course of our visual ray as because we do not bring our minds and eyes to bear on them; for there is no power to see in the eye itself, any more than in any other jelly.

We do not realize how far and widely, or how near and narrowly, we are to look.

The greater part of the phenomena of Nature are for this reason concealed from us all our lives.

The gardener sees only the gardener’s garden.

Here, too, as in political economy, the supply answers to the demand.

Nature does not cast pearls before swine.

There is just as much beauty visible to us in the landscape as we are prepared to appreciate,—not a grain more.

The actual objects which one man will see from a particular hill-top are just as different from those which another will see as the beholders are different.

The scarlet oak must, in a sense, be in your eye when you go forth.

We cannot see anything until we are possessed with the idea of it, take it into our heads,—and then we can hardly see anything else.

Henry David Thoreau

Thoreau, H. D. (1862, October).

Autumnal Tints. The Atlantic Monthly,


Complete Poem

Art Is a Cat

The closest I've come to getting a handle on all this is something painter Eric Fischl has talked about.

Imagine calling two pets, one a dog, the other a cat.

Asking a dog to do something is an amazing experience.

You say, "Come here, Fido," and Fido looks up, pads over, puts his head in your lap, and wags his tail.

You've had a direct communication with another species; you and Fido are sharing a common, fairly literal language.

Now imagine saying, "Come here, Snowflake" to the cat.

Snowflake might glance over, walk to a nearby table, rub it, lie down, and look at you.

There's nothing direct about this. Yet something gigantic and very much like art has happened.

The cat has placed a third object between you and itself.

In order to understand the cat you have to be able to grasp this nonlinear, indirect, holistic, circuitous communication.

In short, art is a cat.

Jerry Saltz

Saltz, J. (2006, September 7). The Whole Ball of Wax, Can Art Change the

World? A Holistic Theory.

Village Voice.

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