Thread: Crowley's art
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Join Date: 29 Dec 2003
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Originally Posted by sacredashes
Migraine coming.. an awful lot of fancy words just to say that his work sucked/s but he got away with it. So people didn't say it was "NASTY!!" simply because of the rule of the day at that time was to oppose what was conventional ("boring"?) for the sake of opposing.

If they had their aesthetic senses intact and functioning under normal circumstances, they would have went "Good lord!! YOU call that art??!! My dog draws better than that!!"
That of course is the perennial argument of the conservative against the modern or avante garde.

Even before Hitler came to power a sharply polarised debate was in place between conservatives and modernists, and possibly Crowley would have found approval amongst a certain section merely on the basis that his art epitomised everything their own enemies hated, rather than purely on the basis of his artistic merits; but also because in its own naive way it did reflect what they stood for and bore comparison with other artists at the time whose work was valued.

In such an hostile environment as Germany was already becoming for many, critical approval may have been as motivated by ideology as content. That is not to say they did not truly find anything of artistic value in his work, but that approval or disapproval cannot be divorced from the political and social strains and debates of the place and period. It may have resonated for some for example on the basis that its ugliness reflected for them the increasing ugliness of the oppressive society they found developing around themselves.

The conservative-modernistic, skill v. 'a child could have done that' debate is an ongoing one of course, that we see exemplified through the extremity of the German experience. The same old arguments are going on now as ever, versions of it in this very thread. That his allies may have thought the same of him in other circumstances is not the point, for it is the very same brush that the conservatives tarred them with; for Crowley, prophet of the aeon of the crowned and conquering child, a compliment to rejoice in rather than waste time being defensive about.

Personally I like it a lot, actually more than I thought I did as this thread has led me to take a closer look at it than I have before, and I think it does bear comparison with some of the work of the German Expressionists, albeit naturally more na´ve by comparison through lack of training, and a theory of art that bears some resemblance as Ross notes to the surrealists.

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