Artists in Relationship to Their Art


These quotes by or about artists provide insights into relation between artist and art form that reflect aspects of the foundation’s philosophy.

Mikhail Baryshnikov, Dance  You can’t be afraid to go deep. . . The more you dance, the more confidence you have doing less — and when you’re doing less, you are yourself in a way.  You just execute certain requirements, choreographic intentions and then you combine what you do with who you are.  [Interview – New York Times 9-27-19]

Robert Battle. Dance. “ The notion of being a wonderful dancer really is about taking up huge amounts of space. So in the very nature of dancing and moving all parts of your body in the space, it asks you to be courageous, it asks you to claim your name and claim your space.”  [Interview – Okayplayer, 2018]

Paul Cezanne, Visual Art  “The landscape thinks itself through me. . . I am its consciousness.”  [Cézanne: A Memoir with Conversations by Joachim Gasquet, 1991]

Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui  Dance  “You are looking at a sacred body creating knots within itself and finding a way to liberate itself from those knots. At least as a choreographer that’s how I experience it with my dancers, I always enjoy putting them in a complex situation and seeing how they get out of it. .   [Interview – CW Contributor  9-27-2015]

Brenda Hillman. Poetry.  I’ll sit and wait for a line a long time. Then, if it’s not time to draft the poem, the poem will announce that. I work a lot from intuition. And I do like the look of handwriting, so I’ll copy the poem over and over to allow new material to enter.  [Interview – Memorious, Issue 12, 6-2009]

Lee Krasner, Visual Art  “I like a canvas to breathe and be alive.  Be alive is the point.  And, as the limitations are something called pigment and canvas, let’s see if I can do it.”  [MOMA Audio Playlist 10-2017]

Larry Levis, Poetry  “To really look inward . . . on some very honest days. . . is to discover how empty I am . . . and, if I am lucky, it is to find out how I can be filled enough by what is not me to use it . . . to find myself as a poet.”  [The Gazer Within, 2001]

Layli Long Soldier  Poetry  “There’s a real vulnerability in that, a fear, and a threshold you have to cross. . . I have to acknowledge that trepidation, that anxiety in myself. . . that vulnerability, where I have to begin to reach outward or rely on something else, not just of myself.” [Conversation – The Creative Independent  2-27-2017]

Beatriz Milhazes.  Visual Art “I need to have all these elements [geometrical structures] and put them together. . . There are not peaceful surfaces. There should be some struggle on the surface and then create some activities for your eyes” [Interview – RES Art World/World Art, May 2008]

Joan Miró, Visual Art   “I work in a state of passion and excitement.  When I begin a painting, I am obeying a physical impulse, a necessity to begin.  It’s like receiving a physical shock.” [Joan Miro by Margit Rowell, 1986]

Martin Puryear Visual Art  “I am constantly finding ways to resist any kind of predictability in my work, mostly because I always seem to need to be doing something that I don’t fully understand.”  [Conversation – The Brooklyn Rail, November 2007]

Tamara Rojo. Dance  “To become somebody else, you have to embrace their weaknesses. When you do that over and over again . . . [with] flawed characters, like Carmen or Mary Vetsera in Mayerling – you start accepting that people come in all sizes and colours.”  [Interview – The Guardian 11-18-2018]

Ocean Vuong. Poetry  “I think, as a writer, when you approach that feeling, when you cross this threshold where risk is inevitable, where everything you’ve lived through demands you move into that precarious space, it embodies its own momentum.” [Interview – ALOUD Series, Los Angeles Public Library  3-23-2017]

Derek Walcott. Poetry “I think we continue in all our lives to have that sense of melting, of the “I” not being important. That is the ecstasy. … It’s gratitude, really. The more of that a poet keeps, the more genuine his nature.  [Interview – The Paris Review, Winter 1986]

Alice Walker. Poetry  “Poetry is a cat.  Prose is a dog.  Poetry comes and goes when it will.  There is no such thing, for me, as planning to write a poem, no part of which has already arrived.”  [Interview – Auburn Avenue, Autumn/Winter 2018]

Yabin Wang. Dance  What provokes my creativity is the limitlessness of expression in limited space and time. The power of expression through body movement makes dance a uniquely powerful art form.”  [Interview – Drawing Pictures in Motion. International Consortium for Advancement in Choreography, 9-20-2019]

Carrie Mae Weems  Visual Art  “I do think that you have to make what you want to see in the world. That is basically your obligation if you’re an artist. . . That is, I think, the great liberty that the arts and letters and music give us … the ability to create meaning in our lives.”   [The Lenny Interview, 8-26-2016]

Wendy Whelan, Dance  “He [Christopher Wheeldon, choreographer] gave me these moments of silence and stillness that gave me so much power inside myself.”   [Interview – New York Times 1-22-2012]