“Last year I abstained
this year I devour

without guilt
which is also an art”
— Margaret Atwood, Last Year I Abstained

“Art is in the mind, say its protectors, not in the crotch. Is this sanitizing of art truth or compulsive hand washing?” — Robert Stoller, Erotics/Aesthetics

“I am an American artist, and I have no guilt.” — Patti Smith, Babelogue

“All contents of consciousness are ineffable. Even the simplest sensation is, in its totality, indescribable. Every work of art, therefore, needs to be understood not only as something rendered, but also as a certain handling of the ineffable. In the greatest art, one is always aware of things that cannot be said, of the contradiction between expression and the presence of the inexpressible. Stylistic devices are also techniques of avoidance. The most potent elements in a work of art are, often, its silences.” — 

Susan Sontag, ‘On Style’, in Against Interpretation and Other Essays (1966)

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“The artist, in my opinion, is a monstrosity, something outside of nature.” — Gustave Flaubert

“I challenge any art lover to love a canvas as much as a fetishist loves a shoe.” — Georges Bataille - “L’esprit moderne et lejeu des transpositions,” Documents, 1930

“For the function of art is never to illustrate a truth—or even an interrogation—known in advance, but to bring into the world certain interrogations (and also, perhaps in time, certain answers) not yet known as such to themselves.” — 

Alain Robbe-Grillet, “The Use of Theory”

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“The painter is condemned to please. By no means can he transform a painting into an object of aversion. The purpose of a scarecrow is to frighten birds from the field where it is planted, but the most terrifying painting is there to attract visitors. Actual torture can also be interesting, but in general that can’t be considered its purpose. Torture takes place for a variety of reasons. In principle its purpose differs little from that of the scarecrow: unlike art, it is offered to sight in order to repel us from the horror it puts on display. The painted torture, conversely, does not attempt to reform us. Art never takes on itself the work of the judge. It does not interest us in some horror for its own sake: that is not even imaginable. […] When horror is subject to the transfiguration of an authentic art, it becomes a pleasure, an intense pleasure, but a pleasure all the same.” — Georges Bataille, The Cruel Practice of Art

Art exists because reality is neither real nor significant.

J.G. Ballard

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