Camera Work: A Photographic Quarterly — 1912 (Heft 39)

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things its own paradox, of that endless flowing-away and simultaneous re-
appearance of all visible things. His too, too substantial universe does
verily thaw and resolve itself into a shadowy monster before his suddenly
awakened perceptions, and, agape, he finds himself a hungry speck of dust in
that great gale of matter which blows steadily through the world of time.
How rotten now the underpinnings of his House of Life! How abysmal that
fundament of void over which he so lately frolicked!
The myriad trivial disappointments of the year-round are the little nails
that cleave the temples of Expectation. In Disappointment the will of man
stands face to face with his mocker, with the sneering, prankish god that has
in secret fabricated the arrows of intent and so blunted their heads that they
will stick nowhere. This god of merry deviltries peeps at us in that hour of
baffled purpose and asks with a kind of counterfeit grimness: “How now,
Earth-whiffet! where is thy whim?” Was he not the soul of that laugh of
Mephisto—the chuckle of insight, of prevision—hidden in the scented garden
when Faust and Marguerite decreed in joy their own everlasting pain?
All the ills of mankind can be traced to the idealizing instinct, to that
ineradicable romanticism that crowns the ass and calls it “My lord,” that
calls a plain latrine a marvellous palace, sees in sewage-vents something of
“divine purpose,” that labels beautiful those cosmic processes that are in
reality the most obvious in their malignity—flower-covered traps that, with
exquisite irony, swallow up finally all the petty princelings of Kingdom
Come, the idealists themselves. They are the sickly victims of a psychic
glamour, a thaumaturgic light streaming out of endless pasts, the dupes of that
endless becoming that bears on its crest the mystic ironic phosphors.
Benjamin De Casseres.


TODAY, where every third artist one meets professes to be the chosen
savior of art it is gratifying to find a man who permits his work alone
to speak for him. So unusual is this reticence in these days of loudly
and oft reiterated theories and little achievement that its possessor is
very apt to be overlooked and passed by in the din and turmoil of self-adver-
tising that each day proclaims a new Messiah. And so accustomed have we
become to the ranting rhetoric of these self-crucified martyrs to the cause of
the Inflated Ego, that we pay little or no heed to any man who does not ex-
hibit, together with his “art,” the gaping wounds and the crown of thorns,
once the authentic certificates of the man of genius, now usurped together with
the mantles of the prophets of old by every fledgling of art.
For it cannot be denied that the men who make what today is known as
modern art are no less busy imposing themselves on the world as the great
Rejected Ones, crucified on the cross of poverty and neglect, than they are in
producing imperishable masterpieces cast in the ancient moulds of those pre-
artistic days when art was the synthesized expression of a nation’s spiritual
status. The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness is now heard on every
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