Published online by Cambridge University Press: 18 November 2022
As I say, everybody has to like something, some
people like to eat, some people like to drink,
some people like to make money, some like to
spend money, some like the theatre, some even
like sculpture, some like gardening, some like
dogs, some like cats, some people like to look at
things, some people like to look at everything.
Anyway someone is almost sure to really like
something outside of their real occupation. I
have not mentioned games indoor and out, and
birds and crime and politics and photography,
but anybody can go on, and I, personally, I like
all these things well enough but they do not
hold my attention long enough. The only thing,
funnily enough, that I never get tired of doing is
looking at pictures. There is no reason for it,
but for some reason anything reproduced by
paint, I may even say certainly, by oil paints on
a flat surface holds my attention.Gertrude Stein
The vital principle of all art: to bring us closer
to things by placing us at a distance from
(Diesem Lebensprinzip aller Kunst: uns den Dingen dadurch näher zu bringen, dass sie uns in eine Distanz von ihnen stellt …)Georg Simmel
A work of art deserves attention and comment. It is meant to be noticed and to acquire a place in the world. A script that stays on the shelf, a story that is neither published nor read, a score that no one plays and a painting left in the studio are all failures. We believe that good art – art that is valuable and important – has a right to be displayed publicly. And everyone has the right to know and live with the art that carries such meaning. Good (not to mention great) art should be accessible to the public. In the civic society of the West this public openness and accessibility has been guaranteed by institutions such as the public library, the civic theatre and the museum, as well as by art history. According to this view, the artwork begins its career in the private space of personal creation: the desk, the workshop, the studio.
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