In adopting this method of analysis Fry necessarily assumes that a given factor will have aesthetic significance in proportion as it is generalized, lacking in individuality, and constant. Our specialist interests are Australian Indigenous Art, Australian Art, Oceanic Art, Modern and Contemporary Art. If this were true, there could be no art: what else is the work of art but the creative reproduction of the artist’s perception? It is scarcely necessary to point out that this profound idea is utterly incompatible with the formalism of Roger Fry. But it is easy to exaggerate the difference between these two conceptions of art. ‘Science and art (poetry) are textbooks for those who are beginning to study life. David A. Siqueiros: 'Towards a Transformation of the Plastic Arts' 1934. Morality appreciates emotion by the standard of resultant action, art appreciates emotion in and for itself.’ [4]. Animals in Art and Thought to the End a/the Middle Ages: the wily stratagems of the fox, part hero, part villain, appealed to all classes of society. [5] It is essential also in scientific perception. It freed the artist from complete subservience to a false morality and enabled him to preserve something, at least, of his integrity. … The Renard stories became one of tbe most powerful vehicles for satire in the late Middle Ages. Art is thus a striking and at the same time a peculiarly revealing illustration of the key conception of dialectics, the unity of opposites. ‘What matters in art is the contemplation of form’ and ‘in proportion as art gets purer, the number of people to whom it appeals gets less’, say the formalists. Realism as Critique. 11. Francis Klingender: ‘Content and Form in Art' 1935. what is politics? However, most typically, form is defined by a combination of these factors, as is the case in this print by Max Ernst. In 1920 he added: ‘true art is becoming more and more esoteric and hidden, like an heretical sect – or rather like science in the middle ages’. Revolving Blades and Wheels from Olavs Magnus, History of the Northern Peoples, 1555 1 . True, such conclusions and ideas are much less complete and universal than life. I therefore assume that the contemplation of form is a peculiarly important spiritual exercise...’ [3]. But to deny that the general is more significant than the particular does not imply the reverse proposition that the particular as such is what matters in art. Though brilliant and plausible, this argument will not bear examination. To quote his own words: ‘Art, then, is an expression and a stimulus of the imaginative life, which is separated from actual life by the absence of responsive action. Form in relation to positive and negative space . 11. Roger Fry’s Formalism. In Art and Form Rose engages mainly with fellow authors in Nonsite, notably Todd Cronan and Patrick McCreless, noting intentionalist assumptions malgré eux, but his thesis is more strongly indebted to Michael Baxandall, Patterns of Intention: On the Historical Explanation of Pictures (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1985). To quote Fry’s own account, the discussion stimulated by the appearance of ‘post-impressionism’ revealed ‘that some artists who were peculiarly sensitive to the formal relations of works of art... had almost no sense of the emotions’ of life which he had supposed them to convey. I also conceived that the spectator in contemplating the form must inevitably travel in the opposite direction along the same road which the artist had taken, and himself feel the original emotion. The name Mikhail Lifshits (1905–83) will probably mean little to most English-speaking readers. Chernyshevski’s thesis is an attack on the aesthetic theory of philosophical idealism, especially its classical culmination in the work of Hegel and his follower F. T. Vischer. Andre Breton: from the First Manifesto of Surrealism 1924. Artistic contemplation, being removed from action, is thereby released from all moral ties. The statement ‘this is beautifully painted’ means that the artist has succeeded in expressing what he intended to convey. 1935. See Francis D. Klingender, Marxism and Modern Art: An Approach to Social Realism (1943; repr. Klingender & Alsop dissolved their partnership in 1920 as a result of Alsop’s ill health, and Klingender formed a new partnership with R B Hamilton. But he was rudely shaken out of his complacency in social matters by the events of 1914-18. This passage is particularly revealing, first, because it emphasizes the goal to which Fry’s aesthetic development was inevitably leading him – he himself admitted that any attempt he might make to explain ‘significant’ form would land him ‘in the depths of mysticism’ – and secondly because it illustrates his peculiar method of analysis. Francis Klingender: 'Content and Form in Art' 1935. The significance of muralism in the United States has received considerable attention in art historical treatments of the period.5 The modernisation and revitalisation of American wall painting was the result of a number of cultural factors, perhaps most importantly the establishment from 1933 of federal funding for public art under President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal administration.6 Scant mention can be found of the influence of the American example for artists in England, yet renewed interest in muralis… Consequently, when Fry restated his theory in 1920 (essay ‘Retrospect’ in Vision and Design), he discarded the emotions of life and confined aesthetic feeling to what Clive Bell had meanwhile called ‘significant form’. Wood This popular anthology of twentieth-century art theoretical texts has now been expanded to take account of new research, and to include significant contributions to art theory from the 1990s. "This pioneer investigation remains one of the most original and arresting accounts of the impact of the new industry and technology upon the landscape of England and the English mind. But it does mean that society cannot be indifferent whether a given work of art inspires by its profound insight, whether it stirs to action, whether it soothes and refreshes, or whether, on the other hand, it opiates and disrupts. Art and Merchandise in Keith Haring’s Pop Shop ... 2020. ‘Everything that interests man in life’ includes the ugly, as well as the beautiful, the forces that frustrate and crush life, as well as those that support it, death as well as life. But when a person endowed with artistic gifts is intellectually stimulated by problems arising out of the observation of life, his work will consciously or unconsciously embody a tendency to pronounce some vital judgment on the phenomena which occupy his mind (and that of his contemporaries, for a thinking man hardly concerns himself with trifling matters of no interest to anyone but himself). Harrison and Wood, 437. Genre/Form: History: Additional Physical Format: Online version: Klingender, F.D. What did he teach concerning the nature of art and its relation to life? Louis Aragon et al. ‘I want to find out what the function of content is,’ he wrote in 1913 to G. L. Dickinson, ‘and am developing a theory... that it is merely directive of form and that all the essential aesthetic quality has to do with pure form. 11. Marxism and Modern Art: An approach to social realism by F. D. Klingender 1943. London : Paladin, 1972, ©1968 André Breton: from the First Manifesto of Surrealism 1924. Hence his attempt, after say 1912, to disentangle the ‘purely aesthetic’ elements from their accompanying ‘accessories’ was in fact an attempt to explain the indifference of certain artists to the problems of life and the growing isolation of art from all other spheres of existence. Art and the Industrial Revolution. It is therefore necessary to amplify the previous definition of the function of form in art – the complete expression of the artist’s aim – by stating: to paint, model, write, compose, act, film, etc., beautifully means so to express the particular that it attains general significance. Animals in art and thought. Stripped of its illusions, the ideal beauty depicted by art loses its power to console men for the imperfections of reality. Night Workers. On the one hand the poet is tempted and passionately desires to escape into the ‘God-like isolation’ of pure art, [16] on the other hand he realizes that isolation will lead him to despair and death. This does not mean that a work of art can always be justly valued in terms of the moral standards ruling at the time – on the contrary, one need only think of Goya’s Caprichos or of a book like The Grapes of Wrath to realize how often art has been an indictment of those standards. Realism: Chernyshevski. See F. D. Klingender, ‘Content and Form in Art’ in Herbert Read, F. D. Klingender, Eric Gill, A. L. Lloyd, Alick West, 5 on Revolutionary Art ... 1992), pp. the reflex behaviour inherited from the pre-human stage of our evolution – ends. Louis Aragon: from Paris Peasant 1924. Thus, according to Chernyshevski, the significance of a work of art is proportional to the comprehensiveness and truthfulness with which it faces and attempts to solve the problems set by life. Within the rock shelters and caves of the northern and central areas of the . 11. Art and the Industrial Revolution. Revised and extended edition, edited and revised by Arthur Elton. Adolf Hitler: Speech Inaugurating the 'Great Exhibition of German Art' 1937. [7]. Taking as his stalking horse a Symbolist literary theory, Shklovsky outlines an opposing view of the nature of art. ‘In real life all happenings are true and correct, there are no oversights, none of that one-sided narrowness of vision which attaches to all human works. It can describe edges. For Klingender, they exist in a form of duality, open and closed, individual and collective. 37–84. The quality which is most striking in The Palace of Art is its ambiguity. And it also means that the aesthetic value of a work of art must in some way be related to the effect it produces, not merely in its own time, but as long as it survives. … They differ in degree, but not in kind. But in reproducing life, the artist also, consciously or unconsciously, expresses his opinion of it, and it is by virtue of this that ‘art becomes a moral activity of man.’. Structures and circuits begin to appear, surfacing a place for gathering and conjuring. Moreover, in its early stages art for art’s sake was not incompatible with a critical attitude to contemporary society. I mean the general intellectual and instinctive reaction to their surroundings of those men of any period whose lives rise to complete self-consciousness, their view of the universe as a whole and their conception of their relations to their kind.’ [8]. In the view of these philosophers what appears beautiful to man is that which he accepts as the complete realisation of a given idea. Realism as Critique. It would be false and unconvincing precisely because of its character as a lifeless abstraction. The objects become entry points to knowledge and imagining, creating an in-between space to slip in and out of, with the objects acting as a sort of portal. The first systematic account of Fry’s attitude to these questions is the important ‘Essay in Aesthetics’ of 1909. But life does not trouble to explain its phenomena to us nor to draw conclusions as men do in the works of science and art. 21 24 25 Introduction First writing assignment – what is art? Chernyshevski anticipated Fry in pointing out that beauty in nature is entirely distinct from the aesthetic element in art. ‘The most universal of all things cherished by men and the one cherished more than anything else in the world is life itself; most of all the life men would like to live but also every other kind of life, for it is in any case better to live than not to live and all live things by their very nature are afraid of death, of extinction – and they all love life. For in art the particular becomes the general, the general reveals itself in the particular, and it is the unity of the particular and the general, expressed in the unity of content and form, which makes art an inexhaustible source of significant experience. Conscious that works of art inspire different kinds of emotion, he attempts, by introspection, to isolate one specific emotion which is common to all these various compounds, on the assumption that this ‘constant’ factor would reveal the ‘substance’, the irreducible atom, so to speak, of aesthetic experience. It can indicate form as well as movement. In Animals in Art and Thought Francis Klingender discusses these various attitudes in a survey which ranges from prehistoric cave art to the later Middle Ages. But who would claim that science does not lead to responsive action or that it is ‘freed from the binding necessities of our actual existence’? Chernyshevski’s conception of the moral function of art has nothing in common with that of Tennyson: ‘The attitude of some people to the phenomena of life consists almost entirely in a preference for certain aspects of reality and avoidance of others. Montreal-based Margot Klingender’s work, for example, would be a great addition in this format. What is more fundamental and hence more significant, Chernyshevski asks, Koramasin’s History of Russia or the Children’s History of Russia which a writer named Tappen abstracted from that work? The assumption which is inherent in all idealist theories of aesthetics, including formalism, that the general is necessarily more fundamental and significant than the particular is thus a fallacy. As Francis Klingender states in . A genuine front-line newsreel sequence far surpasses even the best war film in dramatic power and intensity. Marxism and Modern Art: An approach to social realism by F. D. Klingender 1943. This principle applies in one way or another to all forms of art, [19] but it may be illustrated most simply by means of a topical example. The quality which is most striking in The Palace of Art is its ambiguity. Marxist art historian of British art; employed Kunstsoziologie in his writings. London: Lawrence and Wishart, 1975); and Francis D. Klingender, “Content and Form in Art,” in Art in Theory, 1900-2000, ed. While rejecting the escape into pure art in the name of morals, he made his art the handmaid of an even baser form of escape, the escape of insincerity. Francis Klingender: 'Content and Form in Art… Stuart Davis and Clarence Weinstock: 'Abstract Painting in America', 'Contradictions in Abstractions' and 'A Medium of 2 Dimensions' 1935. Lest any Fabian should be crude enough to suspect that the lecturer was referring to ordinary human beings, when he spoke of ‘life’, he hastened to explain: ‘And here let me try to say what I mean by life as contrasted with art. It is one of the main points of the Essay in Aesthetics that art has nothing whatever to do with morals. Francis Klingender: ‘Content and Form in Art' 1935. 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