Gong Sounding


A few more thoughts gleaned from the Guggenheim show, The Third Mind. This show was as closely aligned to my view of artmaking as any other exhibit I’ve ever seen. The experience is still reverberating for me several days later.

Here are some provocative words from two giants, John Cage and Philip Guston.

We learned from Oriental thought that those divine influences are, in fact, the environment in which we are. A sober and quiet mind is one in which the ego does not obstruct the fluency of things that come in through the senses and up through one’s dreams. Our business in living is to become fluent with the life we are living, and art can help this.

–John Cage

Art is not self expression but self alteration.

–John Cage

Look at any inspired painting. It’s like a gong sounding; it puts you in a state of reverberation.

–Philip Guston

To will a new form is unacceptable, because will builds distortion. Clear the way for something else—a condition which…resists analysis—and probably this is as it should be.

–Philip Guston

3 Replies to “Gong Sounding”

  1. Dear Deborah,

    These are amazing quotes. Thanks so much for sharing, there is much to ponder in these lines.

  2. Thanks Luke, so glad you connected with this point of view too.

  3. Dear Deborah, I went to see this exhibit, but it was on a day the Guggenheim was closed. Sadly I never got back, but I DID see a set of prints for sale in the gift shop, and I’ve been trying to find out who and what they were. The black circle painting you have on this page looks like one of them- can I ask who the artist is, and if the painting is named? Thanks so much, Jeremy

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