Friday, April 27, 2007

'Art And Literature Should Be Judged By The Conscience Of The Creator, His Peers In His Field And All Of The People, Not By A Separate Bureaucracy'

"Art and literature should be judged by the conscience of the creator, his peers in his field and all of the people, not by a separate bureaucracy, artificially compressing the arteries and veins of this life-sustaining circulation."

-- Mstislav Rostropovich, testifying at a 1990 United States Senate hearing on the National Endowment for the Arts.


"The passing of Mstislav Rostropovich is a bitter blow to our culture. ... He gave Russian culture worldwide fame. Farewell, beloved friend."

-- Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, commenting to the Russian ITAR-Tass news agency.

This sculpture of Dmitri Shostakovich's head, by Russian artist Ernst Neizvestny, was one of Mstislav Rostropovich's late cold war gifts to the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, in the Nation's Capital; and to the American people. This gift occured at a time when the military-industrial complexes of both the United States and the Soviet Union were each aiming tens of thousands of nuclear-tipped missles at each other's major population centers.

Photo credit: Via With thanks. (This is a very interesting contemporary visual arts website.)


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