We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Samizdata slogan of the day

Imagination without skill gives us contemporary art.
– Tom Stoppard in his play Artist Descending a Staircase

5 comments to Samizdata slogan of the day

  • What does ‘imagination’ consist of? Usually, it refers to some kind of creativity. But that would be contrary to the skill bit of the quote, and the intended slam of contemporary art.

    What else could it be? …. Nothing comes to mind except that it, in this context, refers to some highly specialised and mostly useless form of creativity.

    Anyone have a better explanation?

  • Jacob

    Elliot is right.
    I don’t perceive any imagination in most of modern art. Just pretentious ugliness. Maybe the inagination was neede to create the most ugly and repulsive works. On the other hand are the works that are just banal – no skill, no imagination, no inspiration, nothing.

  • Russ Lemley

    Modern artists have imaginations?

  • I can imagine beautiful scenes in films, or beautiful paintings, but I have no skill to do either of these things. Skill is, of course, essential to creating anything of any beauty at all. So is imagination, but I see neither in a whole lot of modern art (in most of all art, actually, but of ages past not among the “greatest artists”–not so today).

  • Max

    It’s easy to criticize contemporary art: the “art world” is pretentious, needlessly exclusive, and more concerned with youth and fashion than with skill. That doesn’t mean, however, that there isn’t a tremendous amount of amazing, beautiful, and interesting stuff being produced out there–both inside and outside of the narrow confines of the New York/Tokyo/Berlin/London scene. From Beethoven to John Coltrane, Renoir to Matisse, Melville to Kerouac, artists have been accused of producing unlistenable, unwatchable, unreadable self-indulgent crap. (Hey, sometimes it is.) But by condemning the entire enterprise of modern art you’re putting yourself on the side of history that has consistently been proven short sighted, reactionary, and wrong. I’m getting down from my miniature pony now, and heading off to see the new Bernd and Hilla Becher (check out these low-res images) show at Sonnabend Gallery. You guys should check their stuff out: it’s skillfully made, beautiful, and deeply interested in the disciplines of science and history that we can *all* agree are valid subjects.