Modernism Quotes

Quotes tagged as "modernism" (showing 1-30 of 129)
H.D.
“...if you do not even understand what words say,
how can you expect to pass judgement
on what words conceal?”
H.D., Trilogy: The Walls Do Not Fall / Tribute to the Angels / The Flowering of the Rod

Virginia Woolf
“The roar of the traffic, the passage of undifferentiated
faces, this way and that way, drugs me into dreams; rubs the
features from faces. People might walk through me. And what is
this moment of time, this particular day in which I have found
myself caught? The growl of traffic might be any uproar - forest trees or
the roar of wild beasts. Time has whizzed back an inch or two on its reel;
our short progress has been cancelled. I think also that our bodies are in truth
naked. We are only lightly covered with buttoned cloth; and beneath these
pavements are shells, bones and silence.”
Virginia Woolf, The Waves

Marcel Proust
“I cannot express the uneasiness caused in me by this intrusion of mystery and beauty into a room I had at last filled with myself to the point of paying no more attention to the room than to that self. The anesthetizing influence of habit having ceased, I would begin to have thoughts, and feelings, and they are such sad things.”
Marcel Proust, Swann's Way

D.H. Lawrence
“Yes, I do believe in something. I believe in being warm-hearted. I
believe especially in being warm-hearted in love, in fucking with a
warm heart. I believe if men could fuck with warm hearts, and the women
take it warm-heartedly, everything would come all right. It's all this
cold-hearted fucking that is death and idiocy.”
D.H. Lawrence

Saul Bellow
“For instance? Well, for instance, what it means to be a man. In a city. In a century. In transition. In a mass. Transformed by science. Under organized power. Subject to tremendous controls. In a condition caused by mechanization. After the late failure of radical hopes. In a society that was no community and devalued the person. Owing to the multiplied power of numbers which made the self negligible. Which spent military billions against foreign enemies but would not pay for order at home. Which permitted savagery and barbarism in its own great cities. At the same time, the pressure of human millions who have discovered what concerted efforts and thoughts can do. As megatons of water shape organisms on the ocean floor. As tides polish stones. As winds hollow cliffs. The beautiful supermachinery opening a new life for innumerable mankind. Would you deny them the right to exist? Would you ask them to labor and go hungry while you yourself enjoyed old-fashioned Values? You—you yourself are a child of this mass and a brother to all the rest. or else an ingrate, dilettante, idiot. There, Herzog, thought Herzog, since you ask for the instance, is the way it runs.”
Saul Bellow, Herzog

Amit Kalantri
“Before this generation lose the wisdom, one advice - read books.”
Amit Kalantri, Wealth of Words

Jess C. Scott
“Anya looked upon Nin admirably. Having him as a partner-in-crime—if only on this one occasion, which she hoped would only be the start of something more—was more revitalizing than the cheap thrills of a cookie-cutter shallow, superficial romance, where the top priority was how beautiful a person was on the outside.”
Jess C. Scott, The Other Side of Life

G.K. Chesterton
“In the glad old days, before the rise of modern morbidities...it used to be thought a disadvantage to be misunderstood.”
G.K. Chesterton, Heretics

Stephen King
“But this wealth of information produced little or no insight.”
Stephen King, The Gunslinger

Jackson Pollock
“The modern artist is working with space and time and expressing his feelings rather than illustrating.”
Jackson Pollock

Stephen King
“He died with his tie on. Do you think that could be our generation's equivalent of that old saying about dying with your boots on?”
Stephen King, The Stand

Adolf Loos
“I will not subscribe to the argument that ornament increases the pleasure of the life of a cultivated person, or the argument which covers itself with the words: “But if the ornament is beautiful! ...” To me, and to all the cultivated people, ornament does not increase the pleasures of life. If I want to eat a piece of gingerbread I will choose one that is completely plain and not a piece which represents a baby in arms of a horserider, a piece which is covered over and over with decoration. The man of the fifteenth century would not understand me. But modern people will. The supporter of ornament believes that the urge for simplicity is equivalent to self-denial. No, dear professor from the College of Applied Arts, I am not denying myself! To me, it tastes better this way.”
Adolf Loos, Ornament and Crime: Selected Essays

Jennifer Egan
“Too Clear, too clean. The problem was precision, perfection; the problem was "digitization" which sucked the life out of everything that got smeared through its microscopic mesh. Film, photography, music: dead. "An aesthetic holocaust!”
Jennifer Egan, A Visit from the Goon Squad

Billy Bragg
“The revolution is just a T-shirt away.

- Waiting for the Great Leap Forward
Billy Bragg, A Lover Sings: Selected Lyrics

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
“The earlier, the more fun. Why put it off? It’s the atomic age!”
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Cancer Ward

“Modernism had two great wishes. It wanted its audience to be led toward a recognition of the social reality of the sign (away from the comforts of narrative and illusionism, was the claim); but equally it dreamed of turning the sign back to a bedrock of World/Nature/Sensation/Subjectivity which the to and fro of capitalism had all but destroyed.”
T.J. Clark, Farewell to an Idea: Episodes from a History of Modernism

Robert Hughes
“In one sense, (Duchamp's) “The Large Glass” is a glimpse into Hell; a peculiarly modernist Hell of repetition and loneliness.”
Robert Hughes, The Shock of the New

Peter Watson
“One of the many innovations of modernism was the new demands it placed on the audience. Music, painting, literature, even architecture, would never again be quite so 'easy' as they had been.”
Peter Watson, A Terrible Beauty: The People and Ideas That Shaped the Modern Mind: A History

Adolf Loos
“Every period had its style: why was it that our period was the only one to be denied a style? By “style” was meant ornament. I said, “weep not. Behold! What makes our period so important is that it is incapable of producing new ornament. We have out-grown ornament, we have struggled through to a state without ornament. Behold, the time is at hand, fulfilment awaits us. Soon the streets of the cities will glow like white walls! Like Zion, the Holy City, the capital of heaven. It is then that fulfilment will have come.”
Adolf Loos, Ornament and Crime: Selected Essays

Jonathan Lethem
“For those whose ganglia were formed pre-TV, the mimetic deployment of pop-culture icons seems at best an annoying tic and at worst a dangerous vapidity that compromises fiction's seriousness by dating it out of the Platonic Always, where it ought to reside.”
Jonathan Lethem

Gustave Flaubert
“The melancholy of the antique world seems to me more profound than that of the moderns, all of whom more or less imply that beyond the dark void lies immortality. But for the ancients that ‘black hole’ is infinity itself; their dreams loom and vanish against a background of immutable ebony. No crying out, no convulsions—nothing but the fixity of the pensive gaze.

With the gods gone, and Christ not yet come, there was a unique moment, from Cicero to Marcus Aurelius, when man stood alone. Nowhere else do I find that particular grandeur.”
Gustave Flaubert

Seyyed Hossein Nasr
“The anti-religious modernism which now threatens Islam and Muslims everywhere can be fully understood only by understanding the religion of the civilization in whose bosom modernism first developed, against which it rebelled, and whose tenets it has been challenging through constant battle since the birth of the modern world in the Renaissance.”
Seyyed Hossein Nasr, A Young Muslim's Guide to the Modern World

Randall Jarrell
“It's ugly, but is it art?”
Randall Jarrell, Pictures from an Institution

“In his own way the modernist becomes as irrelevant as the fundamentalist. The fundamentalist has something to say to his world, but he has lost the ability to say it. The modernist knows how to speak to his age, but he has nothing to say.”
William E. Hordern

F. Scott Fitzgerald
“Her body calculated to a millimeter to suggest a bud yet guarantee a flower.”
F. Scott Fitzgerald

Michel de Certeau
“Finally, the functionalist organization, by privileging progress (i.e. time), causes the condition of its own possibility--space itself--to be forgotten: space thus becomes the blind spot in a scientific and political technology. This is the way in which the Concept-city functions: a place of transformations and appropriations, the object of various kinds of interference but also a subject that is constantly enriched by new attributes, it is simultaneously the machinery and the hero of modernity.”
Michel de Certeau, The Practice of Everyday Life

“This assumption of the intrinsically repressive nature of collective experience and redemptive power of individuation is a staple of contemporary art theory and criticism. I would argue that a closer analysis of collaborative and collective art practices can reveal a more complex model of social change and identity, one in which the binary oppositions of divided vs. coherent subjectivity, desiring singularity vs. totalizing collective, liberating distanciation vs. stultifying interdependence, are challenged and complicated.”
Grant H. Kester, The One and the Many: Contemporary Collaborative Art in a Global Context

“[...] a familiar art historical narrative [...] celebrates the triumph of the expressive individual over the collective, of innovation over tradition, and autonomy over interdependence. [...] In fact, a common trope within the modernist tradition of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries involved the attempt to reconstruct or recover the lost ideal of an art that is integrated with, rather than alienated from, the social. By and large, however, the dominant model of avant-garde art during the modern period assumes that shared or collective values and systems of meaning are necessarily repressive and incapable of generating new insight or grounding creative praxis.”
Grant H. Kester, The One and the Many: Contemporary Collaborative Art in a Global Context

“It is a story of utopian dreams and belief in the future, but also one that involves a critique of modernity.”
Sverker Sörlin

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