Tuesday, December 4, 2012

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

"And 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 ornamentation.

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".

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