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Willem de Kooning

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Now I can make some highways, maybe. Of course there will be something else. Now I can set to do it, and then it will be, maybe it will be a painting of something else. Because if you know the measure of things – for yourself there is no absolute measure – you can find the size of everything. You say now that’s just this length and immediately with that length you can paint, well, a cat. If you understand one thing you can use it for something else. That is the way I work... I mean I have an attitude. I have to have an attitude.
interview conducted by David Sylvester for the BBC, 1962; as quoted in Abstract Expressionism: Creators and Critics, edited by Clifford Ross, Abrahams Publishers, New York 1990, p. 48

Willem de Kooning

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Every monumental work of the State is measured by cubits. Every cubit is measured by the length of the Aspect-Emperor’s arm. And the Aspect-Emperor’s arm, they say, stands beyond measure. But I say the Aspect-Emperor’s arm is measured by the length of a cubit, and that all cubits are measured by the works of the State. Not even the All stands beyond measure, for it is more than what lies within it, and “more” is a kind of measure. Even the God has His cubits.

R. Scott Bakker

If we compare the third-person attitude of someone who simply says how things stand (this is the attitude of the scientist, for example) with the performative attitude of someone who tries to understand what is said to him (this is the attitude of the interpreter, for example), the implications … become clear. … First, interpreters relinquish superiority that observers have by virtue of their privileged position, in that they themselves are drawn, at least potentially, into negotiations about the meaning and validity of utterances. By taking part in communicative action, they accept in principle the same status as those whose utterances they are trying to understand. … It is impossible to decide a priori who is to learn from whom.

Jurgen Habermas‎

The measure of a man's life is the well spending of it, and not the length.


I do both: I make preliminary drawings, other times I paint directly, other times I start a painting and then paint it out so that it becomes another painting or nothing at all. If a painting doesn’t work, throw it out. When I work from preliminary sketches, I don’t just enlarge these drawings, but plan my areas in a large painting by using small drawings for separate areas. I combine them in a final painting, often adding to or subtracting from the original sketches.. ..There are certain canvases here in my studio - the little one over there – that I’ve worked on for a good six months – painting most of it out and then painting it over and over again. I think I’ve got it now. (1958)

Franz Kline

Oh I wish that I could paint again. Paint is an instrument without which I cannot survive for any length of time. Whenever I even think of gray, green and white, I am overcome with quivers of lust. Then I wish that this war would end and that I might paint again.

Max Beckmann
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