Ad Reinhardt

Quotes of Ad ReinhardtEdit

1940 - 1955Edit

  • What greater challenge today.. ..to disorder and insensitivity; what greater propaganda for integration than this emotionally intense, dramatic division of space? [quote in 1943, discussing the art of Piet Mondrian ]

In: Abstract Expressionism, Davind Anfam, Thames and Hudson Ltd London, 1990, p. ?

  • It’s been said many times in world art writing that one can find some of painting’s meaning by looking not only at what painters do, but what they refuse to do.
    • In: Contemporary American Painting, University of Illinois, Urbana 1952, p. 226
  • And today many artists like myself refuse to be involved in some ideas. In painting – for me – no fooling-the-eye, no window-hole-in-the wall, no illusions, no representations, no associations, no distortions, no paint-caricaturing, no dream pictures of dripping, no delirium trimmings, no sadism or slashing, no therapy, no kicking-the-effigy, no clowning, no acrobatics, no heroics, no self-pity, no guilt.. ..no abstraction of everything, no nonsense, no involvements, no confusing painting with everything that is no painting.
    • In: Contemporary American Painting, University of Illinois, Urbana 1952, p. 226-227

1956 - 1967Edit

  • 'Study the old masters. Look at nature. Watch out for armpits'. [in 1956, Reinhardt is quoting Paul Cézanne here freely]
    • In: Pax, no. 13, 1960; as quoted in Abstract Expressionism: Creators and Critics, ed. Clifford Ross, Abrahams Publishers, New York 1990, p. 150
  • My painting represents the victory of the forces of darkness and peace over the powers of light and evil. [1957, reacting on a remark of Picasso ]
    • In: Pax, no. 13, 1960; as quoted in Abstract Expressionism: Creators and Critics, ed. Clifford Ross, Abrahams Publishers, New York 1990, p. 151
  • Voyaging into the night, one knows exactly where, on a known vessel, an absolute harmony with the elements of the unreal. [1959, reacting on a remark of Robert Motherwell ]
    • In: Pax, no. 13, 1960; as quoted in Abstract Expressionism: Creators and Critics, ed. Clifford Ross, Abrahams Publishers, New York 1990, p. 152
  • The one thing to say about art is that it is one thing. Art is art-as-art and everything else is everything else. Art as art is nothing but art. Art is not what is not art.
  • There is nothing there. What you see is not what you see. What you see is nothing. Nothing but shapes, lines, colors. What you see is whats in your mind. What you see is something somebody told you to look for. Look out for anything you see! Watch it! Watch out! Take care! Don’t leap before you look out.
    • In: the 'Ad Reinhardts Papers', Archives of American Art, microfilm no. N/69-103, frame no. 268
  • Who said last, 'A cleaner New York-school is Up To You?'
    • In: the 'Ad Reinhardts Papers', Archives of American Art, microfilm no. N/69-103, frame no. 285

'Art-as-Art Dogma' part II, (1964)Edit

'Art-as-Art Dogma', (1964) part II; (as quoted in Abstract Expressionism: Creators and Critics, ed. Clifford Ross, Abrahams Publishers, New York 1990, p. 150 - 158)
  • The one thing to say about art is that it is one thing. Art is art-as-art and everything else is everything else. Art-as-art is nothing but art. Art is not what is not art.
    • p. 152
  • The one object of fifty years of abstract art is to present art-as-art and as nothing else, to make it into the one thing it is only, separating and defining it more and more, making it purer and emptier, more absolute and exclusive – non-objective, non-representational, non-figurative, non-imagist, non-expressionist, non-subjective. The only and one way to say what abstract art or art-as-art is, is to say what it is not.
    • p. 154
  • The one question, the one principle, the one crisis in art of the twentieth century centers in the uncompromising 'purity' of art, and in the consciousness that art comes from art only, not from anything else.
    • p. 155
  • The one place for art-as-art is the museum of fine art. The reason of the museum or fine art is the preservation of ancient and modern art that cannot be made again and that does not have to be done again. A museum of fine art should exclude everything but fine art, and be separate of museums of ethnology, geology, archaeology, history.. .Any disturbance of a true museum's soundlessness, timelessness, airlessness, and lifelessness is a disrespect.
    • p. 155
  • The one thing to say about art and life is that art is art and life is life, that art is not life and life is not art. A 'slice-of-life' art is no better or worse than a 'slice-of-art' life. Fine art is not a 'means of making a living' or a 'way of living a life', and a artist who dedicates his life to his art or his art to his life burdens his art with his life and his life with his art. Art that is a matter of life and death is neither fine nor free.
    • p. 155
  • The art of 'figuring' or 'picturing' is not a fine art. An artist who is lobbying as a 'creature of circumstances' or log rolling as a 'victim of fate' is not a fine master artist. No one ever forces an artist to be pure.
    • pp. 156-157
  • The one art that is abstract and pure enough to have the one problem and possibility, in our time and timelessness, of the 'one single grand original problem' is pure abstract painting. Abstract painting is not just another school or movement or style but the first truly unmannered and untrammeled and un-entangled, styleless, universal painting. No other art or painting is detached or empty or immaterial enough.
    • p. 157
  • The one standard in art is oneness and fineness, rightness and purity, abstractness and evanescence. The one thing to say about art is, its breathlessness, lifelessness, deathlessness, contentlessness, formlessness, spacelessness, and timelessness. This is always the end of art.
    • p. 158

after 1967 - posthumousEdit

  • vagueness is a 'romantic' value.. ..an emphasis on geometry is an emphasis on the 'known', on order and knowledge.
    • In: Abstract Expressionist Painting in America, W.C, Seitz, Cambridge Massachusetts, 1983, p. 107
  • The artists is responsible for his history and his nature, his history is part of his nature.
    • In: Gerhard Richter, Doubt and belief in painting, Robert Storr, MOMA, New York, 2003, p. 32 note 1.

Quotes about Ad ReinhardtEdit

  • If you don’t know what Reinhardt’s paintings are about, you don’t know what painting is about [after Reinhardt's death in 1967].
    • Frank Stella (1967); as quoted in Abstract Expressionism, David Anfam, Thames and Hudson Ltd London, 1990

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