Any important disease whose causality is murky, and for which treatment is ineffectual, tends to be awash in significance.
The taste for quotations (and for the juxtaposition of incongruous quotations) is a Surrealist taste.
What is the most beautiful in virile men is something feminine; what is most beautiful in feminine women is something masculine.
A family’s photograph album is generally about the extended family and, often, is all that remains of it.
Mallarme said that everything in the world exists in order to end in a book. Today everything exists to end in a photograph.
Although none of the rules for becoming more alive is valid, it is healthy to keep on formulating them.
Authoritarian political ideologies have a vested interest in promoting fear, a sense of the imminence of takeover by aliens and real diseases are useful material.
It is not altogether wrong to say that there is no such thing as a bad photograph – only less interesting, less relevant, less mysterious ones.
I don’t want to express alienation. It isn’t what I feel. I’m interested in various kinds of passionate engagement. All my work says be serious, be passionate, wake up.
AIDS occupies such a large part in our awareness because of what it has been taken to represent. It seems the very model of all the catastrophes privileged populations feel await them.
Existence is no more than the precarious attainment of relevance in an intensely mobile flux of past, present, and future.
The life of the creative man is lead, directed and controlled by boredom. Avoiding boredom is one of our most important purposes.
The truth is always something that is told, not something that is known. If there were no speaking or writing, there would be no truth about anything. There would only be what is.
I was not looking for my dreams to interpret my life, but rather for my life to interpret my dreams.
In America, the photographer is not simply the person who records the past, but the one who invents it.
So successful has been the camera’s role in beautifying the world that photographs, rather than the world, have become the standard of the beautiful.
Anything in history or nature that can be described as changing steadily can be seen as heading toward catastrophe.
A fiction about soft or easy deaths is part of the mythology of most diseases that are not considered shameful or demeaning.
Victims suggest innocence. And innocence, by the inexorable logic that governs all relational terms, suggests guilt.
Volume depends precisely on the writer’s having been able to sit in a room every day, year after year, alone.
For those who live neither with religious consolations about death nor with a sense of death (or of anything else) as natural, death is the obscene mystery, the ultimate affront, the thing that cannot be controlled. It can only be denied.
The aim of all commentary on art now should be to make works of art – and, by analogy, our own experience – more, rather than less, real to us. The function of criticism should be to show how it is what it is, even that it is what it is, rather than to show what it means.
“Camp” is a vision of the world in terms of style – but a particular style. It is the love of the exaggerated.
AIDS obliges people to think of sex as having, possibly, the direst consequences: suicide. Or murder.
What is most beautiful in virile men is something feminine; what is most beautiful in feminine women is something masculine.
To take a photograph is to participate in another person’s mortality, vulnerability, mutability. Precisely by slicing out this moment and freezing it, all photographs testify to time’s relentless melt.
I do not think white America is committed to granting equality to the American Negro. This is a passionately racist country; it will continue to be so in the foreseeable future.
Societies need to have one illness which becomes identified with evil, and attaches blame to its victims.
Making social comment is an artificial place for an artist to start from. If an artist is touched by some social condition, what the artist creates will reflect that, but you can’t force it.
Surrealism is a bourgeois disaffection; that its militants thought it universal is only one of the signs that it is typically bourgeois.