quote by Robert Smithson

A vacant white room with lights is still a submission to the neutral. Works of art seen in such spaces seem to be going through a kind of esthetic convalescence.

— Robert Smithson

Most Powerful Esthetics quotations

Half the fun of the travel is the esthetic of lostness.

Whenever I see a photograph of some sportsman grinning over his kill, I am always impressed by the striking moral and esthetic superiority of the dead animal to the live one.

I don't just write music to esthetically satisfy somebody.

The reason I write music is that I feel it's a vehicle or channel which leads to your true self, your essence.

I do not care to be esthetically tickled in a fancy theater surrounded by an audience drenched in the confident perfume of culture. I can't afford it.

If, in our haste to 'progress,' the economics of ecology are disregarded by citizens and policy makers alike, the result will be an ugly America. We cannot afford an America where expedience tramples upon esthetics and development decisions are made with an eye only on the present.

We must give as much weight to the arousal of the emotions and to the expression of moral and esthetic values as we now give to science, to invention, to practical organization. One without the other is impotent.

To me documentary photography means making a picture so that the viewer doesn’t think about the man who made the picture. At its esthetic core is very old tradition in art: naturalism. And its purpose is to document all facets of social relationships.

When we deal with cities we are dealing with life at its most complex and intense. Because this is so, there is a basic esthetic limitation on what can be done with cities: a city cannot be a work of art.

Professionalism in art has this difficulty: To be professional is to be dependable, to be dependable is to be predictable, and predictability is esthetically boring - an anti-virtue in a field where we hope to be astonished and startled and at some deep level refreshed.

I am certain that most composers today would consider today's music to be rich, not to say confusing, in its enormous diversity of styles, technical procedures, and systems of esthetics.

What a difference! Under the esthetic sky, everything is buoyant, beautiful, transient! when ethics arrives on the scene, everything becomes harsh, angular and infinitely boring

Art is the human disposition of sensible or intelligible matter for an esthetic end.

Music needs the juxtaposition of opposites to achieve its drama, so harshness and dissonance are simply part of the material a musician can use to create a musical work. All one thing is a bore - all dissonance, or all fatuous consonance. George Winston and Guns and Roses are two sides of the same worthless coin in my esthetic world.

What does one save for, anyhow? For a few tired hours at the end of life when one sits and counts dollars? Or do we save so that those last years will not be mentally barren or esthetically shabby? I try to save a few things to furnish my mind decently, on the theory that no auctioneer can get in there to sell off all the furniture.

The four great motives for writing prose are sheer egoism, esthetic enthusiasm, historical impulse, and political purpose.

Are you an artist? Look about you. Is there a physical tool whose use you have mastered, a part of your body that responds utterly to your control? Is your motive esthetic? If so, you are an artist. If not, you are probably a writer.

Art is the human disposition of sensible or intelligible matter for an esthetic end.

The revolutionary spirit is mighty convenient in this, that it frees one from all scruples as regards ideas. Its hard absolute optimism is repulsive to my mind by the menace of fanaticism and intolerance it contains. No doubt one should smile at these things; but, imperfect Esthete, I am no better Philosopher. All claim to special righteousness awakens in me that scorn and anger from which a philosophical mind should be free.

Being an artist is like being an athlete.

You have to be in there every day, keeping in shape. You have to be fearless. You have to be confident, and if you start getting thrown by criticism or esthetic terminology, you're going to fall off the balance beam and hit your head and do some injury.

Except for the woman, nothing interests the eye of the American man more than the automobile, or seems so important to him as an object of esthetic appreciation.

We don't recount our dreams; we construct them with the materials of reality. We aren't looking for God, psychic truth or authenticity, but for esthetic effect. That's why I baptized our movement Structural, or Esthetic, Onirism. Dreams and music were our models.

I use the camera as a dumb copying device that only serves to document whatever phenomenon appears before it through the conditions set by a system. No esthetic choices are possible. Other people often make the photographs. It makes no difference.

It's partly the fault of the institutions of education.

But it's partly the decision to be relieved of responsibility. Literature is simply the most focused form of the demands on the evolution of the species. It imposes a certain responsibility, moral, ethical and esthetic responsibility, and the species simply doesn't want to oblige.

In general, in America, every discourse in literature in 15 minutes degenerates into a conversation about ethics, morality and this and that. The Holocaust and the consequences of it. Well, I find it terribly boring, predictable and unimportant, because what matters about literature is esthetic achievement.

The essence of kitsch is the confusion of ethical and esthetic categories;

kitsch wants to produce not the "good" but the "beautiful."

We seem to be afflicted by a widespread and eroding reluctance to take any stand on any values, moral, behavioral or esthetic.

The writer who develops a beautiful style, but has nothing to say, represents a kind of arrested esthetic development; he is like a pianist who acquires a brilliant technique by playing finger-exercises, but never gives a concert.

I don't think esthetic schools are important.

What is important is the use that is made of them, or whatever the individual writer does.

We with my husband [Joseph Millar] are often the first reader for one another's work, and we often also have the last word. We trust each other. We have our past working life in common, our recombined families, as well as our life as teachers, and we read much of the same literature and have similar esthetics, so there's a simpatico there. But we do disagree and that can be fruitful, even if it's not so great in the moment.

Take myself as a good-will ambassador.

I'm great - I'm taking myself as a character - for the intellectuals and the man on the street. I'm great where Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. leaves off. I'm not so good with high society, in either North or South America, because I'm highly unconventional. Perhaps I bewilder people by being at once the esthete, the intellectual and the vulgarian.

The case for democracy is not esthetic.

Surely knowledge of the natural world, knowledge of the human condition, knowledge of the nature and dynamics of society, knowledge of the past so that one may use it in experiencing the present and aspiring to the future--all of these, it would seem reasonable to suppose, are essential to an educated man. To these must be added another--knowledge of the products of our artistic heritage that mark the history of our esthetic wonder and delight.

I wish it were O.K. in this country to look one's age, whatever it is. Maturity has a lot going for it, even in terms of esthetics. For example, you no longer get bubblegum stuck in your braces.

A statue of Apollo in a museum does not seem naked, but attach a tie to its neck and it will strike us as indecent ... The text is one of the components of an artistic work, albeit an extremely important component ... But the artistic effect as a whole arises from comparisons of the text with a complex set of ontological and ideological esthetic ideas.

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