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all the particles of a work have equal aesthetic importance.

"Art for art's sake" was the battle cry of the last fin de siècle.

"Who needs art at all?" could be the battle cry of this one.

Americans, at least, seem to have lost all comprehension of the uses of art: in the universities, it is widely viewed as the pallid reflection of the power structures that have produced it; in the mouths of political candidates, it becomes a purveyor of evil and a corrupter of children; even in the eyes of some critics, every new work is a message-bearing unit, to be scrutinized for its politics and its morality and judged accordingly.

What delights [Kundera] about the early novelists is that "they talk about what fascinates them and they stop when the fascination stops": there's no filler in their novels, no boredom, no phony attempt to create an illusion of reality by amassing useless detail. Likewise, what delights him in modern paintings is "that all the moments, all the particles of a work have equal aesthetic importance."

Stephen Schiff

Quoted from a Book Review of Testaments Betrayed by Milan Kundera.

The New Yorker, December 11, 1995