Art and Activism

"Here we have ideas from some of the world's greatest thinkers, congregating around art and activism, and the wick of humanity that connects them. Our recent talk from David Staller stirred this, we hope you'll enjoy savoring what follows."
David Staller, founder of The Gingold Group, spoke of his fascination with George Bernard Shaw, with his championing of free speech and human rights and his conviction that all art has to be a form of activism right now.

Well, if art is too overtly political, driven by polemics first, it may suffer, crippled by the prosaic and the pragmatic. 

But the emotion and inner fire from which art springs is surely influenced, informed, aroused by what we care about, what we fear, what we aspire to, what moves us as well as at times, what outrages us. So we are not immune to the currents of our times, to the heartbreaks, the spasms, the tragedies, as well as as the excitement, the possibilities and the visionary impulses of those times.

So, art takes the raw material of who we are in interaction with the contextual realities that sieve us and stimulate us, expand and influence us, and works with and on that. 

We thought in that light, these marvelous wide-ranging quotes about art, activism and what connects and unites them, would be a wonderful way to build on and explore the themes in David's talk, as well as the crucial exigencies of being alive in this madcap, historic, hysteric, demanding and possibility-rich period.

Take some time, open a lovely wine, clear some space to meditate, or to "activate." Enjoy the perusal! 

"Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life." Picasso

"The role of the artist is to ask questions not answer them." Chekhov

"If you have no critics you'll likely have no success." Malcolm X

"Most children are amazing critical thinkers before we silence them." Bell Hooks

"Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time. " Thomas Merton

"The essence of all beautiful art, all great art, is gratitude." Nietzsche

"We are a race of artists, what are we doing about it?" Shirley Graham du Bois

"The greater the artist, the greater the doubt. Perfect confidence is granted to the less talented as a consolation prize." Robert Hughes

"There is no must in art because art is free." Kandinsky

"Activism is the rent I pay for living on this planet." Alice Walker

"Artists to my mind are the real architects of change, and not the political legislators who implement change after the fact." William Burroughs

"I am trying to create beauty in my work that allows for beauty in other people." Ricky Lee Gordon

"Art is a personal act of courage, something one human does that creates change in another." Seth Godin

"The time is always right to do what is right." Martin Luther King

"Moderation in temper is always a virtue, moderation in principle is always a vice." Thomas Paine

"Without tradition, art is a flock of sheep without a shepherd. Without innovation, it is a corpse." Winston Churchill

"The job of the artist is always to deepen the mystery." Francis Bacon

"You use a glass mirror to see your face, you use works of art to see your soul." George Bernard Shaw