"Wait! I'd like to say a word in Art's defense
Art doesn't make a lot of sense"
— The Foremen, "Who Needs Art?"
They don't know what you're doing
Babe, it must be art!
—U2, "Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me"
and what about the deal on that flying
trapeze got a peanut butter hand
but honey do drop in at the
dew drop inn
—Tori Amos, "Muhammad My Friend''
If you're anxious for to shine in the high aesthetic line, as a man of culture rare,
You must get up all the germs of the transcendental terms, and plant them everywhere.
You must lie upon the daisies and discourse in novel phrases of your complicated state of mind.
The meaning doesn't matter if it's only idle chatter of a transcendental kind.
And everyone will say,
As you walk your mystic way,
"If this young man expresses himself in terms too deep for me,
Why, what a very singularly deep young man this deep young man must be!"
— Reginald Bunthorne, Patience
Comix Scrutinizer: Remember, it's not art, unless it's incomprehensible!
Comix Scrutinizer (speaking backwards): I am a magnet.
Comix Scrutinizer: See? Wasn't that brilliant?
Ridicully: Funny thing, that. That statement is either so deep it would take a lifetime to fully comprehend every particle of its meaning, or it is a load of absolute tosh. Which is it, I wonder?
Senior Wrangler: It could be both.
Ridicully: And that comment is either very perceptive, or very trite.
Senior Wrangler: It might be bo—
"Mountains. Heavy are the mountains. But that changes with the passage of time.
Sky, blue sky. What your eyes can't see. What your eyes can see.
The sun. One, only one.
Water. It is a grey pool. Commander Ikari.
Flowers. So many the same, so many without purpose.
Sky. Sky of red. Red the colour, the colour I hate.
The liquid flows. It drips, ripples, and pours. Blood. Scent of blood, woman who does not bleed.
On the red soil the humans come. Humans made by man and woman.
City. A human creation. EVA. A human creation as well.
What are humans? Are they creations of God? Humans, and that which is created by humans.
This is that which is mine. My life; my heart. I am a vessel for my thoughts.
The entry plug; the throne of the soul. Who is this? This is me.
Who am I? What am I? What am I? What am I? What am I...
I am I.
This object that is myself, that which forms what is me. This is the self that can be seen and yet it is not like that which is myself.
A strange feeling. My body feels as if it is melting. I can no longer see myself, my form, my shape... It fades from view.
Awareness dawns of someone who is not me; who was here, there, beyond me here.
Shinji? This person I know, Major Katsuragi. Doctor Akagi. People. My classmates. The pilot of Unit 02. Commander Ikari?
Who are you? Who are you? Who are you..."
—Rei Ayanami, Neon Genesis Evangelion
"To say that a work of art is good but incomprehensible to the majority of men is the same as saying of some kind of food that it is very good but people cannot eat it."
"The film is so cryptic as to be almost meaningless. If there is a meaning, it is doubtless objectionable"
—Unidentified British film censor on Antonin Artaud's and Germanine Dulac's surrealist film La Coquille et le Clergyman
"Gibberish For Art's Sake: Some writers are convinced that since great modern authors like Joyce and Faulkner are difficult to understand, writing that is difficult to understand is therefore great writing. This is a form of magical thinking, analogous to the belief that the warrior who dons the pelt of a lion thereby acquires its strength and cunning."
"It's confusing, obtuse, esoteric, and strange—in other words, it's a Far Side cartoon."
— Gary Larson in defense of his most baffling comic panel ever, The PreHistory of The Far Sidenote
"It's so awkwardly conceived, so nonsensical, such a glorious example of bad film-making, that I think it might actually be an art film."
"Every once in a while, a movie like that comes along; a movie you’ve got to see so that you, too, can be in the dark about it."
"Hello John, it's Ron Howard. I'm looking at your contract here, and I know I am 'to honor any and all of Mr. Depp' acting choices even if they are poorly motivated or downright effeminately contrarian,' but can we talk about this? Look, I love Shirley Temple as much as the next guy. And I think I figured out a way you can keep the curly wig, but can we lose the 'good ship lollipop' dress? Please? I'm begging you. I mean, this is The Jonas Salk Story. Also, let me know what you think about those 15 scenes that are all in slow motion with violin music."
"Zardoz is like a million dollar student film that delights in being weird and bizarre just because it's the trendy thing to do. Now, I'm not saying I like my sci-fi films to be obvious. In fact, nothing could be more boring. But being obtuse just for the sake of being obtuse is, I think, a far greater sin. Because with a film like Zardoz, you know there's a lot of intelligence, skill, and talent up on the screen, but sadly it's all just wasted because no one can make head or tails of anything that's going on."
"“If you look at something like The West Wing,” he explains, “I’m not sure I’ve ever understood a single episode.” But he still identifies it as “probably my favorite thing ever.” His reasoning is that “an awful lot of storytelling isn’t really about making people understand — it’s about making people care.”... Moffat has simply walked away from the series lore and decided to make television with strange pictures like it’s a new medium nobody understands. This isn’t a sort of television or a sort of narrative structure anyone has ever done before."
"In the work of people like Carter, Boulez, Xenakis et al, in spite of occasional tone groupings where the notes suggest, for an isolated moment, a slight relation to each other, the composer has done everything to avoid the appearance of this inner, tonal space, through over-complexity, irregular rhythms and metrum, extremes of sound and colour, absence of narrative and closure, etc. etc. and especially the avoidance of audible relations between notes. What remains is the material surface of sound, and however ingenious this surface may be organized, a whole dimension is absent. But only in this dimension of inner space, the experience of ‘expression’—in a musical sense—is possible. Any ‘expression’ mentioned in relation to Carter’s work, stops at the flat surface of sound. Mere gestures on the sonic level are different from the intrinsic quality of musical expression, and it is this what audiences, developed on music with an inner space, miss in this atonal music. The capacity to create an inner space which is part of the listening experience, i.e. which is directly audible, is the fundament of Western music, present from its earliest beginnings. It can be argued that music, which does not want to create this inner space, is another art form altogether: sonic art. This art form requires a fundamentally different listening attitude (one should not expect musical expression) and a different cultural context (one should relate sonic art to the imagery of 20C progressiveness)."
—John Borstlap, On the death of Elliott Carter
"There is literally no way to figure out what the movie is about just from watching it. Clearly, Donnie Darko is not supposed to make sense, and the fact that it doesn't make sense means it's brilliant. There is a term for this: fucking pretentious."
"Apparently this is art, but it's, like, art with a question mark at the end of it, like, Art?"
I) The Intellectual: Everything in a shot is about lines, metaphors, psychology, sociology, history … or you name it. No element in his pictures is ever the result of hazard since his swift eyes detected and interpreted every single detail before he triggered. Even the lousiest shot becomes the next Michelangelo after going through his everlasting rhetoric. Yet, most often, he is actually the only one to understand, and like his pictures.
A Meta example:
"You have to have ideas that relate to everyone, that everyone can understand, not come out here and do things that are over the audience's head. Otherwise, you may as well be like, uh... Dimitri in La Conditione Humane... or Eduardo in The Possessed".