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Q: quote defining "art" ( Answered,   5 Comments )
Subject: quote defining "art"
Category: Arts and Entertainment > Books and Literature
Asked by: ckb-ga
List Price: $12.00
Posted: 26 Aug 2002 10:33 PDT
Expires: 25 Sep 2002 10:33 PDT
Question ID: 58661
The quote is a few sentences.  My paraphrase: There is no such thing
as good art and bad art.  Only art.  Art achieves a specific effect
(?).  If the effect (?) is not achieved, it is not art.

My recollection is that the author's first name is 'Dorothy,' but the
Dorothy Parker quote, "There is good art and bad art," is certainly
not it.


The following answer was rejected by the asker (they reposted the question).
Subject: Re: quote defining "art"
Answered By: pinkfreud-ga on 26 Aug 2002 13:09 PDT
Rated:1 out of 5 stars
I believe this is the quote you seek:

"What is good art? And what is bad art?" If the work leaves an effect
on you, good or bad, it has done its job. Why even ask what is good
and what is bad art? The only failed artwork is that which makes no
impression at all on the viewer.

This is an excerpt from an article entitled "Views on Art & Poetry,"
by Jean Flourney.

Eclecticity Ezine

My Google search strategy:

"good art" + "bad art" + "effect"

Best regards,

Clarification of Answer by pinkfreud-ga on 30 Aug 2002 09:03 PDT
I am sorry to have disappointed you in my search for the quote you
seek. The Jean Flourney quote seemed to me to embody your description
in every way, except that the author's name was not Dorothy.

Best of luck in finding what you need.

Reason this answer was rejected by ckb-ga:
The quote provided by the researcher is not the specific one I'm
looking for.  Please see my response to the answer.

Thank you!
ckb-ga rated this answer:1 out of 5 stars
Actually, zero stars because I'm looking for a specific quote, and
this, regretably, is not it.  The premise is:  There is no bad art.
It's either art or it's not art.  To be art, it must fulfill specific,
simple criteria.  The phrasing of the criteria is what I'm really
looking for.
In order for something to qualify as art, it must communicate
something that changes our fundamental perception of reality.  Like
when Monet painted haystacks as they appeared in setting sunlight
(red-orange) rather than yellow, the "real" color.  Or when
Duchamp presented a urinal as art.  What is not art, but often passes
for art, is not "bad" art.  It is decoration, exercises in craft,
personal messages (perhaps unique to the creator, but not
communicating something fundamenatally new).  The quote I'm looking
for says all this elegantly, in a few sentences (in contrast to my

I'm a photographer.  Some of my images are striking, fascinating,
ugly-beautiful, meditation pieces.  But as much as they inspire in
the viewer, they don't challenge the viewer's fundamental perception
of reality in a way that painters or photographers haven't
challenged the viewer at an earlier date.

I teach art in a public high school in Brooklyn.  I want to find this
quote for my students.

Subject: Re: quote defining "art"
Answered By: shananigans-ga on 12 Sep 2002 02:40 PDT
Hi there ckb,

Like the Researcher who previously attempted to answer your question,
I have found no quote about the nature of art associated with anyone
called Dorothy. However, I have found several quotes that define
concisely what art is.

Edgar Allan Poe once said that "were [he] called on to define, very
briefly, the term Art, [he] should call it 'the reproduction of what
the Senses perceive in Nature through the veil of the soul.' The mere
imitation, however accurate, of what is in Nature, entitles no man to
the sacred name of 'Artist.'" (

Aristotle though that "the aim of art is to represent not the outward
appearance of things, but their inward significance".
Aristotle here creates a black-and-white rule of defining what is art
- it is only those (pictures, sculptures, photographs etc.) that
represent the inward significance of the subject; things that do not
do this are simply not art.

Paul Cezanne once said that "When [he] judge[s] art, I take my
painting and put it next to a God made object like a tree or flower.
If it clashes, it is not art".
Once again, there is no room here for art to be good or bad, it can
only be art or 'not art'.

All these quotes were found using the search terms ' quote art good
bad "not art" '

Sites that may be of future use to you:

"The Quote Cache" has quotes not just on art,
but on every conceivable subject. It also links to a 'quote exchange',
and claims to allow you to search 10,000 other quote sites in one go.

"Brainy Quote" also has a substantial
number of art quotes, and many more on a variety of other subjects. It
is much easier to navigate this site than it is to navigate 'The Quote
Cache'. focusses
specifically on quotes by and about artists. It's great if you need to
find one about a specific element of art (e.g. the trials of becoming
an artist) as the quotes are organised under such headings; there are
also numerous quotes that are listed under their author's name.

I understand that I have not found the 'Dorothy Quote', but hope that
what I have found has been of some use to you.

Best Wishes,
Subject: Re: quote defining "art"
From: webadept-ga on 30 Aug 2002 10:19 PDT
You put more into your rating area than you did in your question. On
top of that you closed the thing instead of letting the research
continue working on it! They are not mind readers. I would suggest
that the next time you come here you use the Clarification area and
let the researcher know to keep looking. Pink would have continued to
find the answer for you, and she's such a good researcher in this area
(you got the best one for this and let her go) that she would have
found it. Oh well.
Subject: Re: quote defining "art"
From: eiffel-ga on 30 Aug 2002 12:20 PDT
Nice piece of research, pinkfreud, tracking down that quote!

ckb: even though the quote doesn't convey the meaning that you were
seeking, couldn't you still use it with your students to introduce a
more detailed discussion?
Subject: Re: quote defining "art"
From: pinkfreud-ga on 04 Sep 2002 16:44 PDT
A colleague has suggested that possibly the quote could be from the
artist Dorothea Tanning, who was married to Max Ernst. Not quite
"Dorothy," but in the vicinity.
Subject: Re: quote defining "art"
From: seedy-ga on 10 Sep 2002 13:24 PDT
Although I have not been able to confirm a direct quotation, I wanted
to consider Dore Ashton as the possible source of the quotation you
seek....This prolific writer/critic just sounds like someone who would
believe the aphorism you have described.

Other choices, not confirmed, are Barnett Newman and Andy Warhol.....

We'll keep looking..

Subject: Re: quote defining "art"
From: journalist-ga on 13 Sep 2002 14:16 PDT
Good job, PinkFreud, and it is a shame the customer was unfamiliar
with the Clarification option.  I've had that happen to me as well.

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