“The Sun Has Set” (1911)
“Art is dead.
Its present movements are not at all indications of vitality; they are not even the convulsions of agony prior to death; they are the mechanical reflex actions of a corpse submitted to galvanic force.” — Marius de Zayas, ‘The Sun Has Set,’ Camera Work (July 1912), 39: 17.
Just a few prefatory remarks for what follows. The collection of quotes assembled here is by no means exhaustive, nor even definitive. Some figures, like Hans Sedlmayr, are decidedly overrepresented here. This is perhaps because he is so woefully underrepresented elsewhere, and because of the way in which his reactionary (but fascinating) viewpoint is symptomatic of the age. Other figures, like Hegel, are underrepresented, because they receive so much coverage and attention. (Although much of the original force and emphasis of his “end of art” thesis was edited out by his student, H.C. Hotho).
Nor should the quotes from these authors be thought to provide some sort of indisputable proof that art is, in fact, dead. Whatever authority these authors might individually possess, or even collectively pooled together, I doubt that it would be enough to confirm art’s death once and for all. Quite the contrary. If anything, the variety…
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