The first man who began to speak, whoever he was, must have intended it. For surely it is talking that has put “Art” into painting. Nothing is positive about art except that it is a word. Right from there to here all art became literary. We are not yet living in a world where everything is self-evident. It is very interesting to notice that a lot of people who want to take the talking out of painting, for instance, do nothing else but talk about it. That is no contradiction, however. The art in it is the forever mute part you can talk about forever.
For me, only one point comes into my field of vision. This narrow, biased point gets very clear sometimes. I didn’t invent it. It was already here. Everything that passes me I can see only a little of, but I am always looking. And I see an awful lot sometimes.
DeKooning’s speech on Abstract Art, The Museum of Modern Art/NYC; 5 Feb 1951:
Apparently, we’re still not living in a world in which things are self-evident.