"I still think the social function of art is that kind of negative aesthetic. Otherwise there’s no social function for it."
From "Art in the Twenty-First Century" Season 4 (2007)
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Growing up in Nashville, Robert Ryman had a strong interest in music. A bebop musician in his youth, Ryman’s musical knowledge influenced his work as a painter. His approach to learning an instrument was applied to painting: “I thought the painting should just be about what it’s about…” He says. “In all of my paintings, I discover things. Sometimes I’m surprised at the result, but I know what I’m doing.” Ryman does not use assistants and prefers to work alone. Using white paint on square forms, he creates works such as “Philadelphia Prototype,” highlighting the subtle nuances of a surface and exploring the role that context and perception play in a visual experience.