11 June 1983 – Carpet merchants and pimps, that’s all the exhibition makers are. Not really bad, in other words, and resembling politicians only in exceptional cases. Politicians are nauseating by definition: impotent and inept, they have learnt nothing and they can produce nothing, neither a loaf of bread nor a table nor a picture; and this in-ability to create value, this total inferiority, makes them jealous , vengeful, insolent and a menace to life and limb. And if, on top of all that, they are stuffed with ideology, then their inhumanity becomes total.
3 November 1983 – Hostility to culture or art is nothing new; it is , and always has been, part and parcel of all societies. If in Poland the Writers’ Union is banned , and artists – as in all dictatorships- are persecuted,this only represents the more brutal and direct side of the hostility that art has the capacity to provoke.
Our free, democratic system has other ways of showing its hostility to art. Instead of banning art, the politicians and the state promote it on a gigantic scale, devoting vast resources to official art administration in museums, exhibition buildings, arts associations, giant exhibitions, festivals and congresses, and through an an unconscionable deluge of publications – not to speak of the positively criminal subvention of the theatre. By these and countless other measures, art is warped, crippled, buried and murdered, replaced by mammoth quantities and mammoth sums of money. Hosts of artists trained in this way work for a system wholly dedicated to administration and entertainment; it is they, more than anyone, who help to prevent and destroy art.
Art is somewhere else.
The Daily Practice of Painting – Gerhard Richter
” Visual journals are created in a secret language of symbols. Intentional or not,they are private maps only their makers can follow. No one else can look at a page and understand the specific meaning of a punching bag or a set of arrows. And no one else can remember the moment of its making. Joni Mitchell blaring on the stereo. Sage wafting in a hidden garden. The discomforting echo of last night’s argument.
That said, visual journals may provide stronger records of the cultural milieu in which they were created than their purely written counterparts. Rather than describing the stuff of the day, they are often made from it. Anyone who has used primary source materials for research knows this. The difference between reading about someone’s life and opening old, yellowed letters is startling. When pressed flowers and handwritten recipes escape from a tattered envelope, one can almost see hollyhocks growing in the garden and smell bread baking in the oven. Worn newspaper articles give a stronger sense of the day’s values than any historian-digested primer can.
Because of its largeness of purpose , a journal can include anything AND the kitchen sink. Serving as a collection point for life’s contradictions, moments of intense feeling, and factoids that compel but seem without obvious use is one of the jounral’s greatest virtues. In The Writer’s Journal: 40 Contemporary Writers and Their Journals by Sheila Bender , Naomi Shihab Nye remarks, “I’ve heard someone say that notebooks are the kitchen drawers into which we place all the little scraps of things – bits of string, ragged recipes, nails and screws, half-used birthday candles, coupons. Where is it? Oh, it must be in there. Where else would it be? Or as illustrator John Clapp says of his journals , they ” are a collection of things I’m curious about, like the Smithsonian, ‘ the attic of mankind’. ”
from Drawing From Life – The Journal as Art by Jennifer New