"Art is individualism, and individualism is
a disturbing and disintegrating force.
There lies its immense value.
For what it seeks is to disturb monotony of type,
slavery of custom, tyranny of habit, and
the reduction of man to the level of a machine."
Oscar Wilde
(1854-1900) Anglo-Irish poet, novelist, writer
The Soul of a Man Under Socialism, 1891
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Reader comments about this quote:
Have made it my intention to visit art museums as I do my retirement travels. This winter did DMA (Dallas Museum of Art) and the Nasher Museum of Sculpture right nest door, a littel museum in Brownsville, Texas and the Atlanta High Museum. Yes I agree with Oscar art is exhilarating and mentally challenging. Would like to share something I heard this week with y'all that is apropos to this concept of disturbing monotony. It was said that a healthy mind is made stronger by varying routine. Sit in a differnent chair. Walk a different direction, use your "opposite" hand for tasks. These practices exercise the brain. The propagandistic mantra breathing contributors to our wonderful blog site might take note.
 -- Waffler, Smith, Arkansas     
    A unidimensional definition of art as an agent of social change. Art can also be the vehicle for examining what is good, beautiful, and right. Personally I look for art that "builds up" and leads my mind to the positive.
     -- Greg, Chichester     
    Here in Canada, the government feels that it is able to promote art in all forms. Just another level on which the governmrnt has its head up its ass. Artistic creation is indeed a product of individuality. Strive for non conformity.
     -- J Carlton, Calgary     
    If Art is Individualism and Individualism is a disturbing and disintegrating force, then Art is a disturbing and disintegrating force.Maybe it could be percieved like that but on the whole,I would have to disagree.
     -- Me Again     
    Art, the love and interpretation thereof, is but another faction of individualism. Individualism disturbs and disintegrates such forces as collectivism, despotism, slavery, tyranny, and the reduction of man to the level of a machine. An immense value of individualism is freedom and liberty.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
    Yes to this quote, bare in mind that uniformity, and conformity are the enemys of evolution. People, do not let anyone think for you, think for yourself.
     -- Ken, Milford Pa     
    Was the art of Michaelangelo individualism? After all, his Medici patrons commissioned and paid for his work. When they didn't like what they saw, he changed it. I would still call anything that Michaelangelo produced art, however. Individualism does not necessarily cause disintegration or disturbance. Rebellion does. Rebellion is sometimes necessary, but should be avoided when possible. As for evolution, Ken, I hope you understand that the vast majority of 'individualistic' mutations lead to death, not evolution.
     -- Ken, Allyn, WA     
    Life is an art, too. And those that walk to their own beat can indeed disturb those goosestepping in unison.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
    Every damn quote this scumbag seems to come up with is just some perverted way to indirectly excuse his perversions. Implying that buggering little boys is an art form. This quote did not come from a healthy mind. This guy would be a big MAMBLA spokesman if he were here today. Probably claim it was an expression of art and therefore should be protected.
     -- warren, olathe     
    So Bush who is responsible for the death of thousands is not as you say a "scumbag" It’s amazing what tweaks our responses. Mike, excellent! And Warren, you would be advised to stand in his shadow.
     -- RobertSRQ     
    As long as Art is not government/tax subsidized, and can stand on it's own with the 'free market' determining it's worth. It's NOT the government's job to determine the winners and the losers! And...let's remember the First Amendment too.
     -- Anonymous, Minneapolis     
    Warren, I wonder what you would think of the quote if you didn't know who wrote it. ?
     -- R. Cornyn, Huntsville     
    To Ken - Yes, evolution requires death, as does life itself. It's true that there could be a world in which individualism would not be a disintegrating or disturbing force, but it's not this one. Could it be a world in which individualism is universally accepted as the norm? In this world, individualism IS rebellion, and is necessary for progress. Without it, Michaelangelo would have been painting something more akin to the art of the Egyptians. Would we still admire his work, or even know his name?
     -- David, Portland     
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