addendum to previous post on patternwork
here's the very thing I had made a mental note re. -- Phil's post from April last year on patternwork at the Nineties blog Up Close and Personal
which starts with this bloody big Spengler quote
the bitter conclusion is that it is all irretrievably over with the arts of form
of the West. The crisis of the nineteenth century was the death-struggle. Like
the Apollinian, the Egyptian and every other, the Faustian art dies of
senility, having actualised its inward possibilities and fulfilled its mission
within the course of its Culture.
What is practised as art today - be it music after Wagner or painting after
Manet, Cézanne, Leibl and Menzel - is impotence and falsehood. One thing is
quite certain, that today every single art-school could be shut down without
art being affected in the slightest. We can learn all we wish to know about the
art-clamour which a megalopolis sets up in order to forget that its art is dead
from the Alexandria of the year 200. There, as here in our world-cities, we
find the pursuit of illusions of artistic progress, of personal peculiarity, of
"the new style", of "unsuspected possibilites", theoretical
babble, pretentious fashionable artists, weight-lifters with cardboard
dumb-bells - the "Literary Man" in the Poet’s place, the unabashed
farce of Expressionism, which the art-trade has organised as a "phase of
art history", thinking and feeling and forming as industrial art.
Alexandria, too, had problem-dramatists and box-office artists whom it
preferred to Sophocles, and painters who invented new tendencies and
successfully bluffed their public. The final result is that endless industrious
repetition of a stock of fixed forms which we see today in Indian, Chinese and
Arabian-Persian art. Pictures and fabrics, verses and vessels, furniture,
dramas and musical compositions - all is pattern work. We cease to be able to
date anything within centuries, let alone decades, by the language of its
So it has been in the Last Act of all Cultures."
- Oswald Spengler, "The Decline Of The West"
and goes into a panoramic riff-sweep across 20th Century culture before homing in to blast into smithereens both Britpop and Britart - the former described as "a classic revitalisation movement in the tradition of the Ghost Dances of the
Plains Indians of the late 19th century - a call to long dead ancestors to
replenish the spirit-well" and the latter as "a farce, a flurry of gestures as a disparate
band of hucksters marketed their unlikely wares to plutocrats grown fat on the
decade’s credit binge".