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Gordon Parks at Jack Shainman Gallery

There are countless images of young white men joyfully swimming around naked: Winslow Homer, Marsden Hartley, Thomas Eakins. But how many photos of black youth playing nude in the water can you name?

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Alma Thomas on Creativity

“Creative art is for all time and is therefore independent of time. It is of all ages, of every land, and if by this we mean the creative spirit in man which produces a picture or a statue is common to the whole civilized world, independent of age, race and nationality; the statement may stand unchallenged.”

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To be an artist, it helps to be persistent, obstinate, and determined. These are the things that enable an artist not to banish but to outwit the doubts that will come from many directions.

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Magic becomes art when it has nothing to hide.

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I need to reach beyond interior decoration, biography. Art is a way of melting out through one’s skin. “What, who is this about?” is not the essential question. A poem is not about; it is out of and to. Passionate language in movement. The deep structure is always musical, and physical — as breath, as pulse

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Whatever you think you can do or believe you can do, begin it. Action has magic, grace and power in it

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It is always what is under pressure in us, especially under pressure of concealment–that explores in poetry. 

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What poetry is made of is so old, so familiar, that it’s easy to forget that it’s not just the words, but polyrhythmic sounds, speech in its first endeavors (every poem breaks a silence that had to be overcome), prismatic meanings lit by each others’ light, stained by each others’ shadows. In the wash of poetry the old, beaten, worn stones of language take on colors that disappear when you sieve them up out of the streambed and try to sort them out.

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Art alone makes life possible.

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For art comes to you proposing frankly to give nothing but the highest quality to your moments as they pass, and simply for those moments’ sake.

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