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JOSEF ALBERS ON ART 


Learn to see and to feel life. Cultivate imagination.

Because there are still marvels in the world. Life is a mystery and always will be.

Art is to create and not to revive. To revive: leave that to the historians, who are looking backward.

There is no difference between science and art when it comes to creativeness, productiveness, to come to conclusions and to formulations.

Abstraction is real, probably more real than nature. I prefer to see with closed eyes.

Simultaneous contrast is not just a curious optical phenomenon — it is the very heart of painting. Repeated experiments with adjacent colors will show that any ground subtracts its own hue from the colors which it carries and therefore influences.

In visual perception a color is almost never seen as it really is — as it physically is. This fact makes color the most relative medium in art.

If one says "red" —- the name of a color — and there are fifty people listening, it can be expected that there will be fifty reds in their minds. And one can be sure that all these reds will be very different.

Independent of harmony rules, any color "goes" or "works" with any other color, presupposing that their quantities are appropriate.

Whether something "has color" or not is as hard to define verbally as are such questions as, "What is music?" or "What is musical?"

The aim of our studies is to prove that color is the most relative means of artistic expression.

I've handled colour as a man should behave. You may conclude that I consider ethics and aesthetics as one.

The role of art for me is the visualization of attitude, of the human attitude towards life, towards the world.

Art problems are problems of human relationship.


ROTHKO IN HIS OWN WORDS 


It was with the utmost reluctance that I found the figure could not serve my purposes. But a time came when none of us could use the figure without mutilating it.

The progression of a painter's work as it travels in time from point to point, will be toward clarity...toward the elimination of all obstacles between the painter and the idea...and the idea and the observer. To achieve this clarity is inevitably to be understood.

Since my pictures are large, colorful and unframed, and since museum walls are usually immense and formidable, there is the danger that the pictures relate themselves as decorative areas to the walls. This would be a distortion of their meaning, since the pictures are intimate and intense, and are the opposite of what is decorative.

I’m not an abstractionist. I’m not interested in the relationship of color or form or anything else. I’m interested only in expressing basic human emotions: tragedy, ecstasy, doom, and so on.

It is a widely accepted notion among painters that it does not matter what one paints as long as it is well painted. This is the essence of academicism. There is no such thing as good painting about nothing.

The fact that people break down and cry when confronted with my pictures shows that I can communicate those basic human emotions...the people who weep before my pictures are having the same religious experience I had when painting them. And if you say you are moved only by their color relationships then you miss the point.

I paint very large pictures. I realize that historically the function of painting large pictures is painting something very grandiose and pompous. The reason I paint them, however — I think it applies to other painters I know — is precisely because I want to be very intimate and human. To paint a small picture is to place yourself outside your experience. However you paint the larger picture, you are in it.


THERE'S NO PLACE 


"I don't have any great love for Chicago.
What the hell, a childhood around Douglas Park isn't very memorable.
I left Chicago a long time ago."
—Benny Goodman

"The desert is so pretty, especially at sunset.
And the Mexican food over there is outstanding, you know.
But we wanted to play jazz, so...."
—Art Farmer

"Man, they gave me a key to the city!
Can you imagine, going back to Indiana and getting the key to the city?
That made me feel pretty good."
—Freddie Hubbard

BELIEVE IT 


"Everything you can imagine is real."
—Pablo Picasso

"Anything I can see in my mind, I can create. 
I just have to focus."
—Green Lantern

"When your aural imagination is strong enough,
and you can sing it vividly—loud—in your mind,
then you can play it."
—Hal Galper

MASKS 


"Man is least himself when he talks in his own person.
Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth."
—Oscar Wilde

"We are so accustomed to disguise ourselves to others
that in the end we become disguised to ourselves."
—François de La Rochefoucauld

"We all wear masks, and the time comes when we cannot
remove them without removing our own skin."
—Andre Berthiaume

LIFE 


"Dream as if you'll live forever.
Live as if you'll die today."
—James Dean

"May you live as long as you wish
and love as long as you live."
—Robert A. Heinlein

"May you live to be 100 and may the
last voice you hear be mine."
—Frank Sinatra

ART IS 


"All art is autobiographical.
The pearl is the oyster's autobiography."
—Federico Fellini

"Art is either plagiarism or revolution."
—Paul Gauguin

"Art is the only way to run away
without leaving home."
—Twyla Tharp
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