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Crowley's art

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Ross G Caldwell's Avatar
Ross G Caldwell  Ross G Caldwell is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frelkins
let me politely disagree. there is purposely ugly -- some picasso, some of the german expressionists, damien hirst -- and then there is the simply god-awfully untalented. alas, C falls into the latter category. but of course non-beauty must probably be in the non-eye of the non-beholder.
I consider him a true naïve. His philosophy of art expresses it fully. There is no doubt he could have used some training, but then he would have considered his expression compromised.

His pencil or pen and ink drawings sometimes attain sublimity, I think.

Quote:
on the other hand, people say he was a fantastic mountain climber. let's be honest: his poetry was terrible too.
Much is intolerable to us, I agree. But he did write a substantial amount of very very good poetry when he managed to break free of complex verse forms, and Shelly-Swinburne style. Much of it has to be read aloud to appreciate.

Read this selection of "Crowley's Least Dire Poetry" - they are all very good.
http://www.geocities.com/nu_isis/dionysus.html#isis

I mean by "good" that the rhythm and rhyme maintain an easy and musical pace.

Ross
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frelkins
let me politely disagree. there is purposely ugly -- some picasso, some of the german expressionists, damien hirst -- and then there is the simply god-awfully untalented. alas, C falls into the latter category.
He lacks skills as a draftsman obviously but nonetheless I find I like a lot of it; if we must label it then naive expressionism is as good as any. I have heard he had some critical success in Germany in the 30's, not sure how accurate that information is however.

Quote:
let's be honest: his poetry was terrible too.
A lot of it was, but there is a lot I like too. Proportionally more bad than good perhaps, but he was so prolific that still leaves a lot of good stuff, some of it very good IMO.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ravenest
Do you like Crowley's artwork? I dont, I think it's terrible!
"Crowley says his pictures look more beautiful if you look at them with your eyes closed."

Kwaw
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ross G Caldwell
At least his art reflects his philosophy of art.

"Art is to be studied for and by one's solitary self; any teaching soever is rank poison."
("Magick Without Tears", Letter 72 ("Education")(Falcon Press edition, (1982) p. 436))
This is beautifully written.. I couldn't agree more. Now I'll just have to find the time to take a look at the art you guys have been raving endlessly over.

Ash
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I only saw what was in http://www.simoniff.com/muse/occult_art.html and it wasn't that bad. It wasn't embellished with a whole lot of beauty in it but there's a lot of honesty in his work.

And he sure didn't like these people much. Were they people he knew personally? Anyone here know who was the guy with the HUGE mouth?

A few of them could have been self portraits as well and if they were, it looked like he didn't like himself much either.


Ash
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I reckon the poetry is 100 times better than the artwork.

I wonder if those that dont like his poetry have read the better ones. I've been scanning the artwork for one of the 'better ones' but ...

I think I know why I dont like his artwork. It reminds me of my failed early attempts when I was a teenager.

Poor old AC - he wanted to be excellent at EVERYTHING ... tough luck!

[Although he did take a cow up the Matterhorn ]
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lampkin
It's too bad he didn't paint his own tarot.
All I can say to this is thank god Frieda Harris came along when she did. Though it would have been interesting to see what Crowley would have done had he painted his own Tarot. From what I have read, when Harris first suggested the idea, Crowley wanted to make a fairly conventional Tarot with slight modifications.
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You'd think that he would have done his own tarot early on in life, since he was so into the grade system of the occult lodges. Lady Harris should always get half the credit because she's the mother that nurtured his seed and gave birth to it. Plus he didn't agree with the way Waite had bastardized the GD tarot transforming it into basically a layman's deck, and you'd think he'd have wanted to overshadow that one as soon as he could have.

For Frelkins, I'm not saying Aleister was very talented as an artist, but the ugliness he put into his portraits was definitely intentional. For example, that biglips portrait was probably a statement about somebody who liked to run their mouth, and obviously not an example of how he can't get proportions right.

For Kwaw, there's no way his art would have been tolerated in Germany during the 30's. A decade earlier, now that's another story.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lampkin
For Kwaw, there's no way his art would have been tolerated in Germany during the 30's. A decade earlier, now that's another story.
As I say I am not sure, something in the back of my head which I can't pin down to any references as yet. No doubt in being compared with German Expressionism, as I vaguely recall it has been, Crowleys work would have suffered the same categorisation as 'degenerate art' by the right wing and to the same prohibitions and conservative backlash after Hitler's rise to power in 1933; however his exhibition was in 1931 (crowley was in Berlin for a few years 1930 to January 1933) and it was still possible then for fans of the modern and of expressionism in particular to have voiced some critical approval in the early 30's. However while it is possible that approving comparisons were made with what we now term German Expressionist I can't find references to such at the moment, and probably any such appreciation never materialised in terms of any actual sales. And of course the polemics of the sharply polarized environment in which he chose to exhibit would generate defenders and admirers, which would arise purely from the dynamics of opposition to conservative reactionary forces than any inherently objective appreciation or valuation of artistic merit.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kwaw
As I say I am not sure, something in the back of my head which I can't pin down to any references as yet. No doubt in being compared with German Expressionism, as I vaguely recall it has been, Crowleys work would have suffered the same categorisation as 'degenerate art' by the right wing and to the same prohibitions and conservative backlash after Hitler's rise to power in 1933; however his exhibition was in 1930 and it was still possible then for fans of the modern and of expressionism in particular to have voiced some critical approval in the early 30's. However while it is possible that approving comparisons were made with what we now term German Expressionist I can't find references to such at the moment, and probably any such appreciation never materialised in terms of any actual sales. And of course the polemics of the sharply polarized environment in which he chose to exhibit would generate defenders and admirers, which would arise purely from the dynamics of opposition to conservative reactionary forces than any inherently objective appreciation or valuation of artistic merit.
what does that mean if you were to explain to a.. say... 2 year old?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sacredashes
what does that mean if you were to explain to a.. say... 2 year old?
I think I can partly explain for kwaw.

The Nazi period begins in 1933 when Hitler was elected chancellor.

Germany had a very avant-garde art cultural scene in the 20s and early 30s. Crowley's exhibition took place, I think (I'll find it in a minute), in late 1930 or early 1931, in Berlin.

So Crowley's art exhibition took place well before the Nazis came to have any power to ban anything.

Ross
Top   #20




 


 


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