Aphorisms for Artists by Walter Darby Bannard

Aphorism #85

All art is abstract art.

The realist/abstract distinction in visual art is a useful one, but it is not precise. The most “realistic” photographic representation is abstracted (“taken from”) the thing represented, and the extent of representation is always a matter of degree.

Non-representational visual art is new to our civilization and remains controversial. It is less a matter of discarding realism than a condition of change caused by intrinsic demands of modernist innovation. It confirms Walter Pater’s contention that “All art constantly aspires towards the condition of music.” Eventually it will no longer be an issue.

I wish it would hurry up and happen.

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