Monthly Archives: February 2015

Story: On the role of art

From Tilda Swinton’s speech spoken at the Rothko Chapel

“I believe that all great art holds the power to dissolve things: time, distance, difference, injustice, alienation, despair. I believe that all great art holds the power to mend things: join, comfort, inspire hope in fellowship, reconcile us to our selves.

Art is good for my soul precisely because it reminds me that we have souls in the first place.

We stand before a work of art and our spirit is lifted by it: amazing that someone is like us!                 We stand before a work of art and our spirit resists: amazing that someone is different!”

(Read the marvelous speech here)

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The anonymity of the artist

Jenny Holzer’s work was originally printed on billboards in the street. Then it was taken up by museums, exhibited with her name, the name of the artist.

‘I have to admit that the move from the street into museums was not the most comfortable one. Anonymity was taken away, but it was an honour to be invited inside. At the very beginning, I thought I was better off on the street, unseen, but it became clear soon enough that I wasn’t fast becoming anything other than an artist, so I finally gave over and allowed myself to make work. Over the years, my work has changed. Going from the street to the museum partly came from the need and desire to be a better artist. In the best of worlds, the work would be seen, and I would remain a shadowy figure. This mindset still affects the sort of work I tend to make: pieces that are glimpsed, that exist for a moment and then in memory.’ interview with Jenny Holzer 


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Words as Art

1108075                                                                              Jenny Holzer


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What makes us pick up the stories we pick up, and what use do we make of them?

‘There is a story about a prisoner at Alcatraz who spent his nights in solitary confinement dropping a button on the floor then trying to find it again in the dark. Each night, in this manner, he passed the hours until dawn. I do not have a button. In all other respects my nights are the same.’

Jenny Offill, Dept. Of  Speculation 

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Untitled and headless, we put them into our own story

counihan gallery_o pintos-lopez_untitled figure 6_2013_web                                                                      Olivia Pintos-Lopez

Untitled figure 6 2013  

Linen, lace, kid leather, thread,

 resin, metal armature, cotton 20 cm

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Fragment made whole


Sophie Kahn, L:Gold, 2014

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The distinction between fiction and non-fiction

The notion that anything can be invented wholly and that these invented things are classified as fiction and that other writing, presumably not made up, is called nonfiction strikes me as a very arbitrary separation of things. We know that most great novels and stories come not from things that are entirely invented, but from perfect knowledge and close observation. To say they are made up is an injustice in describing them. I sometimes say that I don’t make up anything—obviously, that’s not true. But I am usually uninterested in writers who say that everything comes out of the imagination. I would rather be in a room with someone who is telling me the story of his life, which may be exaggerated and even have lies in it, but I want to hear the true story, essentially.

Paris Review interview with James Salter

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The enchantment of the story teller

She’d gone to Vassar.

“You went to Vassar? Where is Vassar?”

“It’s in Poughkeepsie.”

“What made you pick Vassar?”he said.

“Actually, I’m supposed to be smart. Not supposed to be,” she said, “I actually am.”

She loved Vassar, she said, it was like an English park, the old brick buildings, the tall trees. They used to live as if it belonged to them, they came to class in their pyjamas. For dinner though, you had to wear white gloves and pearls. There was a girl named Beth Ann Rigsby. She wouldn’t wear them, nobody could make her do anything. They wouldn’t let her go to dinner. You must wear your white gloves and pearls they told her. So she came down in her pearls and white gloves and nothing else. Eddins was enthralled. He gazed at her.

James Salter, All That Is 

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