No More Masterpieces  

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Mona Lisa (c. 1503–1519) is an oil painting by Leonardo da Vinci, one of the most famous paintings in the world.
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Mona Lisa (c. 1503–1519) is an oil painting by Leonardo da Vinci, one of the most famous paintings in the world.

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

No More Masterpieces (1938, "En finir avec les chefs-d'oeuvre") is an essay by Antonin Artaud, an attack on what Artaud believed to be the elitism of an irrelevant, outdated literary/theatrical canon. It was first published in The Theatre and Its Double in 1938.

"One of the reasons for the asphyxiating atmosphere in which we live without possible escape or remedy, and in which we all share, even the most revolutionary among us, is our respect for what has been written, formulated, or painted, what has been given form, as if all expression were not at last exhausted, were not at a point where things must break apart if they are to start anew and begin fresh."
[...]
"Masterpieces of the past are good for the past: they are not good for us. We have the right to say what has been said and even what has not been said in a way that belongs to us, a way that is immediate and direct, corresponding to present modes of feeling, and understandable to everyone."

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