Henri Matisse once said that "whoever wishes to devote himself to painting should begin by cutting out his tongue," and it's true that artists are often most eloquent when they're working in their chosen medium. But let's just say that tongue-cutting might be taking it a bit far. When it comes to tossing off the occasional bon mot, incisive insight, or profundity, some of the world's greatest artists have historically been devastatingly effective with their words as well.
Now, to pay tribute to art history's most eye-opening utterances, Phaidon has collected quotes from legendary painters, photographers, performance artists, and other figures that express their most captivating, amusing, and irreverent thoughts. Think of the book, called Art Is the Highest Form of Hope, as an inspiration manual. Here, we've compiled some of our favorite pithy quotes, pairing them with iconic images of the artists.
Chris Burden, on first times
Damien Hirst, on the hope and promise of art
Franz Kline, on "killing your darlings"
Jenny Holzer, on influence and aspirations
Louise Bourgeois, on the enduring allure of art and ourselves
Lynda Benglis, on titles
Marina Abramović, on self-destructive tendencies
Rachel Whiteread, on repition
Richard Prince, on the difficulty of art-making