Clement Greenberg quotes

  • Where the Old Masters created an illusion of space into which one could imagine walking, the illusion created by a Modernist is one into which one can look, can travel through, only with the eye.
    -- Clement Greenberg

    #Eye #Space #Looks

  • All profoundly original art looks ugly at first.
    -- Clement Greenberg

    #Art #Work #Looks

  • If you want to change your art, change your habits.
    -- Clement Greenberg

    #Art #Want #Habit

  • Part of the triumph of modernist poetry is, indeed, to have demonstrated the great extent to which verse can do without explicit meaning and yet not sacrifice anything essential to its effect as art. Here, as before, successful art can be depended upon to explain itself.
    -- Clement Greenberg

    #Art #Successful #Sacrifice

  • The avant-garde poet or artist tries in effect to imitate God by creating something valid solely on its own terms.
    -- Clement Greenberg

    #Artist #Creating #Trying

  • The dissolution of the pictorial into sheer texture, into apparently sheer sensation, into an accumulation of repetitions, seems to speak for and answer something profound in contemporary sensibility.
    -- Clement Greenberg

    #Profound #Texture #Answers

  • Once efficiency is universally accepted as a rule, it becomes an inner compulsion and weighs like a sense of sin, simply because no one can ever be efficient enough, just as no one can ever be virtuous enough. And this new sense of sin only contributes further to the enervation of leisure, for the rich as well as the poor. The difficulty of carrying on a leisure-oriented tradition of culture in a work-oriented society is enough in itself to keep the present crisis in our culture unresolved.
    -- Clement Greenberg

    #Leisure #Culture #Carrying On

  • You like it, that's all, whether it's a landscape or abstract. You like it. It hits you. You don't have to read it. The work of art-sculpture or painting-forces your eye.
    -- Clement Greenberg

    #Art #Eye #Sculpture

  • I don't get into 'becauses.' When you come into a studio you see a number of works. My habit is to go to the one I like most. If you start to say, 'because,' you get into art jargon.
    -- Clement Greenberg

    #Art #Numbers #Jargon

  • Art criticism, I would say, is about the most ungrateful form of 'elevated' writing I know of. It may also be one of the most challenging.. if only because so few people have done it well enough to be remembered.. but I'm not sure the challenge is worth it.
    -- Clement Greenberg

    #Art #Writing #People

  • The paradox in the evolution of French painting from Courbet to Cezanne is how it was brought to the verge of abstraction in and by its very effort to transcribe visual appearance with ever greater fidelity.
    -- Clement Greenberg

    #Effort #Cezanne #Evolution

  • It has become apparent that art can have a startling impact without really being or saying anything startling — or new. The character itself of being startling, spectacular, or upsetting has become conventionalized, part of safe good taste.
    -- Clement Greenberg

    #Art #Character #Impact

  • When you don't like something the words come more readily.
    -- Clement Greenberg

  • For every good art critic there may be ten great artists.
    -- Clement Greenberg

    #Art #May #Very Good

  • The main trouble with avant-garde art and literature, from the point of view of fascists and Stalinists, is not that they are too critical, but that they are too "innocent," that it is too difficult to inject effective propaganda, that kitsch is more pliable to this end.
    -- Clement Greenberg

    #Art #Views #Avant Garde

  • Complete honesty has nothing to do with 'purity' or naivety. The full truth is unattainable to naivety, and the completely honest artist is not pure in heart.
    -- Clement Greenberg

    #Truth #Honesty #Heart

  • One is also reminded of how, in art, the tortoise so often overtakes the hare...
    -- Clement Greenberg

    #Art #Tortoises #Recognition

  • Not all, but too many of the best writers, composers, and artists of our time begin to be acclaimed only when they no longer have anything to say and take to performing instead of stating.
    -- Clement Greenberg

    #Artist #Recognition #Composer

  • Nothing could be further from the authentic art of our time than the idea of a rupture of continuity. Art is - among other things - continuity, and unthinkable without it.
    -- Clement Greenberg

    #Art #Reality #Ideas

  • It's as though aesthetic value, quality, could be preserved only by concentrating on 'absolute' or 'autonomous' art: thus on visual art... that held and moved and stirred the beholder as sheer decoration could not.
    -- Clement Greenberg

    #Art #Quality #Beholder

  • With an 'advanced' artist, it's not now possible to make a portrait.
    -- Clement Greenberg

    #Artist #Portraits #Portraiture

  • A large picture can give us images of things, but a relatively small one can best re-create the instantaneous unity of nature as a view - the unity of which the eyes take in at a single glance.
    -- Clement Greenberg

    #Nature #Eye #Views

  • Decoration is asked to be 'merely' pleasing, 'merely' embellishing, and the 'functional' logic of Modernism leaves no room, apparently, for such 'mereness.' This is part of the pity of Modernism, one of the sacrifices it enjoins...
    -- Clement Greenberg

    #Sacrifice #Rooms #Logic

  • Realistic, naturalistic art had dissembled the medium, using art to conceal art; Modernism used art to call attention to art.
    -- Clement Greenberg

    #Art #Attention #Realistic

  • Once efficiency is universally accepted as a rule, it becomes an inner compulsion and weighs like a sense of sin, simply because no one can ever be efficient enough, just as no one can ever be virtuous enough.
    -- Clement Greenberg

    #Sin #Enough #Accepted

  • The difficulty of carrying on a leisure-oriented tradition of culture in a work-oriented society is enough in itself to keep the present crisis in our culture unresolved.
    -- Clement Greenberg

    #Culture #Carrying On #Leisure

  • The superior artist is the one who knows how to be influenced.
    -- Clement Greenberg

    #Artist

  • Art solves nothing, either for the artist himself or for those who receive his art.
    -- Clement Greenberg

    #Art #Artist #Solve