Sunday, July 27, 2014

Abstract Art (pt. 3)

The Abstract Art movement can be seen as a continuation of the idealistic progression in art theory developing at this time; it can also be seen as a product of the times.  In the aftermath of World War I, as I mentioned earlier, many poets and writers fled to Paris for safe haven against a world which they thought was falling apart at the seams (in their eyes, especially America).  In 1919, William Butler Yeats wrote one of the great, definitive lines of Modernism in his poem, "The Second Coming": "Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold."  This was to say that eventually world systems break down, deteriorate, and die; and Yeats was right.  Modernism is about this deconstruction and collapse of the old ideals (of faith, connection to nature, nobility of existence, relation to one another—of all the traditional strongholds of goodness and innocence).  I state this as the case specifically within the art world at this time.  (As a footnote, this is a blog about art history; when I mention history, it's to be related back to art.  I make no statements about church history, national or racial history, or any other kind of history but that which is happening within the art world—just so we're clear).  The Modern Age in art saw many innovations that broke down the foundational customs of preceding generations.  For one thing, the music world saw a total revolution in the advent of the Jazz Age.  The kind of chaotic melodies produced in jazz music perhaps make for a good comparison between the old, structured order of the Victorian world and this new world of Modern ideological pseudo-anarchy.

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