J A N U A R Y 30, 2013
Г.Гросс. Солнечная страна. 1920. Theodore B George Grosz. On the Role of Artist in Today’s Art

G. Grosz. Sunny Land. 1920. Theodore B. Donson Ltd., New York


Today’s art depends on the bourgeois class and will die with it. The artist, perhaps, even against his will, is a printing mill of banknotes and shares, a mechanism used by a rich exploiter and an aestheticizing buffoon to invest his money in a more or less lucrative way and to appear in his own eyes and those of society as a patron of culture. In addition, art is for many a sort of escape from this “vulgar” world to a better star, a Moonland of their fantasy, a purer Paradise free from parties and civil war.

The cult of individuality and personality inculcated by artists and poets in their own midst, depending on their talent and escalated through jugglery, is a play on the Arts stock exchange. The more works of genius produced by a personality, the greater the profit.

How does the artist rise in bourgeois society today? – Through swindle. For the most part he starts with proletarian existence − cooped up in a dirty studio while aspiring to “go up” and endowed unwittingly with surprising adaptability − and soon finds an influential bonze who “promotes” him onto the capital market. On his way he would by chance meet a Maecenas, who would pay him a monthly hundred Marks while stealing all of his products. Or else the artist lands into the hands of an art dealer capable of whipping up demand in the bourgeois collector and selling him everything at a go. And always on along the fixed course with the help of spiritual concepts as required by the market; enlisting with this aim all the old props of the holy swindle and also all sorts of cosmic and metaphysical blah-blah-blah to glorify eternity. Behind the wings – among the initiated! – a cynical operation (“Wherever you are, Mr. Organist, all flutes are silent!”), but on the outside – the pose of a priest and a patron of culture. The system prescribes so, and commerce flourishes.

The artists themselves – some conceited, others bedraggled – equally owe their position in society to their capitulation to the world and life, but more often than not they fall victim to major reactionary swindles. They think they are “creators” and imagine themselves to be at least a tower above an average philistine, who dares to laugh at the “profound content” of pictures by Picasso and associates. However, their creations correspond to the so-called spirit of culture: they are meaningless and hostile to reality and struggle. Go to exhibitions and see the content beaming from the walls! This time is so idyllic, so carefree and so suitable for the Gothic holy cult, for Black village beauties or cosmic insights…”


                                                George Grosz. Statt einer Biographie. Berlin 16 August 1920

                                                George Grosz. Thoughts and Work. Progress Publishers, Moscow. 1975