Is That a Real Painting or Did You Just Make It Up Yourself?

“If one might rephrase Williams’ famous battle cry to accommodate de Kooning’s, it would become, “No ideas but in paint”—no symbols, no concepts but those actualized, no styles or groups or schools of any generalizing order. At the same time one can hardly be dumb about it, or think that just because one is born into this world for the first time, that’s the first time it ever was. Much has been made, usefully, of de Kooning’s extraordinary information of the traditions of painting and of his intimate relation with the master works of the past.”

Creeley, “Bill the King” (1979)