What is practised as art today — be it music after Wagner or painting after Manet, Cezanne, 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 from the Alexandria of the year 200. There, as here in our world-cities, we find a pursuit of illusions of artistic progress, of personal peculiarity, of “the new style,” of “unsuspected possibilities,” 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 organized 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, from The Decline of the West (about 1932)
Who doesn’t love a good shit-talk (especially about expressionism)?
PS: we’ve been over on instagram, and it’s probably the worst thing that ever happened to this website. @gabbyschulz.