"The dedication says this is for my mother who taught me that the etymology of the word “essay” was “to try.” When my mom taught me that I think it really gave me a sense of permission, that the essay as a basic form was about these little attempts. I think in my grownup years I had thought the essay form was about knowingness. I know something, I’ll write an essay about it. And thinking about the essay as a form of unknowing, as an attempt, was liberating for me."
Robert Irwin, in Seeing is Forgetting the Name of the Thing One Sees
"Look, it’s really quite simple. Pursuing the questions which art provokes is a long-term activity that necessarily needs to be free of short-term measures and rewards. In order to maintain a natural balance and continuously develop the ability to make reasoned observations and decisions, it is necessary that you take very good care of yourself, since you are the crux of it all. I’m always very kind to myself. I indulge myself in lots of ways. I give myself lots of free time. I allow myself lots of room for mistakes and contradictions. And I spend a lot of time entertaining my personal fantasies and playing the games I enjoy. I don’t let money questions get to me. It’s just a matter of good health."
"Everything changes when you start to emit your own frequency rather than absorbing the frequencies around you, when you start imprinting your intent on the universe rather than receiving an imprint from existence."
Lawrence Weschler on the artist Robert Irwin, in SEEING IS FORGETTING THE NAME OF THE THINGS ONE SEES
"First, from the point of view of the calculus of presence, he began trying to strip his canvases of any gestures that we’re arbitrary or superfluous; only the necessary gesture could command an immediate presence."