Quotes / True Art Is Incomprehensible

"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?"

"Dressing like your sister
Living like a tart
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! '' (speaking backwards): I am a magnet. 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—
Ridicully: Don't push it, Senior Wrangler.

"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

"The task of art today is to bring chaos into order."
Theodor W. Adorno, Minima Moralia

"Performance Art, I'm the king.
So grab a hammer, nail me to something.
Let's go, to the park and maybe eat a fur coat.
Spray me with blood, and write
The word "guilt" all over my face.
Hurry up, I'm the king of Performance Art
Let's go to the park, Saturday.
I'll eat 100 apples while you burn
My feet, until I scream and people gather around.
Performance Art, is my gig.
I'll stab myself while you squeal like a pig.
Jessica can work the crowd and pass out literature.
The critics won't understand.
No one will, they're programmed by the man.
So let's, take these mannequin parts down to the park.
Performance Art. (Oh, we're so [*beep*]ing dark)
Performance Art. (Oh, we're so [*beep*]ing dark)
Performance Art.
Performance Art."

"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 youíve 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."

"ďIf you look at something like The West Wing,Ē he explains, ďIím not sure Iíve ever understood a single episode.Ē But he still identifies it as ďprobably my favorite thing ever.Ē His reasoning is that ďan awful lot of storytelling isnít really about making people understand — itís about making people care.Ē... Moffat has simply walked away from the series lore and decided to make television with strange pictures like itís a new medium nobody understands. This isnít a sort of television or a sort of narrative structure anyone has ever done before."

"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 Ö 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.

You know, I'm not the one to question artistic taste, but what the heck is this supposed to be a picture of? Is that Navi? Navi, is that you?

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".
Steve Martin, from a 1978 Saturday Night Live monologue

I love to write my poetry
You wont know what it means
But thatís what makes it deep.
— "GTFO My Room", by Ryan Higa

Bolin: Wow, that's a really nice... banana? Yes, very... Very life-like!
Huan Beifong: (sigh) It's not a banana! It was inspired by the Harmonic Convergence. It represents the dawning of a new aaaage.... Obviously!
Bolin: Oh, yeah no I could... I could totally see that, I could whu-lemme stand here, yeah, I can see that now, yes. Thank you.
(beat)
Bolin: (sotto voce, walking away): Ba-naa-naaa... I mean that's a banana, right?

Narration: The quickest way to get ahead in the art world is to appear to be insane.
Artist: This is my sculpture. (Pointing at empty plinth)
Viewer: What is?
Artist: This pointing hand.
Viewer: Whoaaa...

And the funniest thing about it is seeing some of the critical responses, people saying "Yes, its incredibly boring and incomprehensible, but so boring and incomprehensible that it must be really quite profound."
Mark Kermode on Film Socialisme


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