The Primal Isolation.

      While the evolution of consciousness is complex the specific variations that find their way into great works of art have been largely functional and based on daily ritual and a belief in a body of perceived supernatural forces; or to put it differently, beings who are considered superior to ordinary men and women and who encapsulate higher powers that can been drawn upon through the intermediary phenomena of nature and the creative imagination.   These belief systems have given rise to a particular canon of spiritual existence often derided as heresy, deviant, insane and anti-social, but which eases the emotions associated with the primal isolation.    

      If the isolation increases belief systems become more transcendental and this   renders Outsider Art as a new way of envisioning the world.    Consider for instance the architecture of Antoni Gaudi [1852-1926] which includes a cathedral, a park, housing and more.  Gaudi has greatly influenced the Spanish City of Barcelona, whereby every year millions of people from across the world flock to see his work.   Gaudi was greatly influenced by the primal shapes, textures, colours and forms of nature and this is reflected in his use of pillars and brightly coloured mosaics, his stoned curves and his twisted iron sculptures that were totally out of step with the architecture of his day as well as that of his contemporaries, but very in-step with the primal libidinal expressions of the Outsider artist.

 

 



[i] The Central Path, Middle Way or Middle Path (Pali: majjhimā paipadā; Sanskrit: madhyamā-pratipad[1][a]; Chinese: 中道zhōngdào; Japanese: 中道chūdō; Vietnamese: Trung đạo) is the term that Siddhartha Gautama used to describe the character of the path he discovered that leads to liberation.

In Mahayana Buddhism, the Middle Way refers to the insight into emptiness that transcends opposite statements about existence.[2][b] 

[ii] Julia Reinhard Lupton and Kenneth Reinhard [1993] After Oedipus Shakespeare in Psychoanalysis,  Ithaca and London, Cornell University Press, p2.

 

[iii]Anjan Chatterjee

Department of Neurology and the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience

The University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia

Pennsylvania 19104, USA  INTERNATIONAL REVIEW OF 39

NEUROBIOLOGY, VOL. 74.  

[iv]Minoans

[v]psychcentral.com/lib/the-power-of-music-to-reduce-stress/000930

[vi] —Nietzsche, The Gay Science, Section 125, tr. Walter Kaufmann

 

Creativity and Inner Worlds.

Joseph Wallas [1926] believed that creativity took place through four processes, preparation, incubation, illumination and verification.  Preparation is the state where the individual does the preliminary work. First there is the scanning of the creative territory. What are the possibilities?  This action is followed by brain storming and/or the gathering of ideas. The movement to brain storming is relatively unstructured, but it may involve some free association. Alternatively, the mind might just wander with no fixed end intended.  After this first stage the collected material is sifted and analysed, not necessarily in a conscious manner.  Some instinct can be applied to all the mental sifting and shifting processes. In the incubation process the material is contemplated, which may be a passive or active deliberation with no particular time-line.   

Antecedents

      In order to put Outsider Art into its creative context it would be prudent to start with German Expressionists who portrayed a particular disenchantment felt by many of the avant-garde artists towards the 1920s urban development and industrial modernism.  The early twentieth century was a period of great innovation in the arts with such movements as post-impressionism Fauvism, cubism, Dada and surrealism. The avant-garde found its strength under the German Weimar government of the 1920s and it emerged as a leading centre of Expressionist painting, sculpture, modern music and film.   These new ideas were not automatically accepted.  The mainstream German population did not care for the new art and the Nazis viewed the culture of the Weimer period as degenerate.  Their response stemmed partly from a conservative aesthetic  taste manifest in a love of the classical Greek works and the Roman Empire and partly from their determination to use culture as a tool of propaganda. [i]  Hitler viewed classical art as an exterior form that embodied an inner racial ideal.[ii]   Under Hitler the modern styles of art were banned and the Nazis promoted works that were traditionally connected to the ‘blood and soil’ and which upheld values of racial purity, militarism and devotion to the fatherland.  All else was Degenerate art said to be produced by artists who were un-German, Jewish and/or Bolshevist.  

German Expressionism was retaliation to the totalising regime and it drew on the traditional   use of folklore and primitive artefacts.   Ernest Ludwig Kirchner[1880-1938] was a German painter and print maker and one of the key figures in the artists group Die Brucke or The Bridge, the first 20th century Expressionist group.  The Brucke group, was named after a quote by Friedrich Nietzsche, in which he states that ‘what is great in man is that he is a bridge and not a goal.  Kirchner volunteered for army service in World War I, suffered a breakdown, and was discharged. In 1933, his work was branded as Degenerate by the Nazis.  In 1938 Kirchner took his own life by gunshot.[iv]

Expressionist artists Emil Nolde [1857 –1956] and Ludwig Meidner [1884-1966] began a trend in the depiction of inner worlds, isolation and alienation.   The idea of the primitive was very much a basis for a large amount of the Brücke artists’ work, but it also became the German ideal heralded by the Third Reich. The idea of the artist’s rejection of society and the urban city was prevelant throughout the history of art in Germany, for example, preceeding Die Brücke, was Wilhelm Riehl’s Land und Leute [1857 – 63], which advocated a return to the land and racial purity making it a symbol of German culture and tradition.  There was also Carl Vinnen’s Worpswede Stimmungsladschaften [mood landscapes] and Arnold Bocklin’s mythological landscapes, which provided a romantic vision of rural life. The notion of returning to nature is also highlighted in Adolf von Menzel’s a Journey Through Beautiful Nature, [1892]. 

       The Italian psychiatrist Cesare Lombroso, viewed the decent back to the primitive as a ‘madness’ or child-like stage of growth that involves a retreat from worldly chaos. Similarly, the world’s most famous of Swiss Outsider artists, Adolf Wolfli [1864-1930] created art to offset his anxiety after his psychotic collapse.   Here the chaos appears to emerge from the body and become transferred into a text and/or image.   Just as the German Expressionists escaped from the isolation and alienation of modern urban living, today Outsider artists immerse themselves in a nostalgic vision of the inner world through paining, sculpting, carving and building eclectic works.  The French Outsider artist   Pascal Maisonneuve [1863-1934], displayed his defiance of the changing world by creating faces from shells.  

      Outsider artists work compulsively and rarely do they plan in advance. The primal obsession is generally accompanied by a continual need to fill in the gaps and offset the natural wild or the inner mental wilderness. Nolde would often concentrate exclusively on a specific subject matter in intense bursts of activity which he described in his autobiography.  Kirchner would also work obsessively, without taking notice of the time, and would often emphasise his mental distress as a key driving force behind his work.   Kirchner reportedly took to stimulants such as alcohol, sex and morphine during his time in Berlin, and right up until his suicide in 1938 he was continually fighting a battle with loneliness and alienation, which became articulated in his frustration with modern city life.  



[i] [Adam, Peter (1992). Art of the Third Reich. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc.ISBN 0-8109-1912-5

[ii][ Grosshans, Henry (1983). Hitler and the Artists. New York: Holmes & Meyer. ISBN 0-8419-0746-3 p87

[iii]Degenerate art – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Degenerate_art 

[iv]Ernst Ludwig Kirchner”, Brucke Museum. Retrieved 8 September 2007.

Creativity.

The gulf between the need to create and the perceived lack of creative progress presents a conundrum for the human mind.   Scientists, especially those working in the fields of economics, have constantly sought to explain cultural stagnation and the answer lies in a lack of collective creative enterprise.  There is no individual neurological fix to this kind of stagnation.  Nor is there any evidence of causation that can be linked to brain dysfunctions or mutations.  Everyone can create.  Further, there is no clear definition of what creativity is.[i]  There are obvious social rules about what governs artistic enterprise some set by historical example and others by current fashion.    Outsider Art is created by people who are said to produce outside these conventions.   Outsider artists are dreamers who live out their dreams beyond the boundaries of the prescribed socio-economic order. The work of Outsider artists is instinctual; it throws off the shackles of civilisation and taps into the archaic primal mind to reveal another level of existence, a chaos that must be expressed.   Outsider Art extends the human vision by crossing the boundaries between ‘originality and creativity,’ [ii] but it comes at a price. The primal mind operates in survival mode and this causes a number of heightened anxieties in a modern world setting.  The production of art can also serve to placate these anxieties.



[i]Jose Guimon 2006 Art and Madness Aurora Davis Groups of Publishers, p5 and  R.S. Albert [1992] Genious and Eminence, Oxford Pergamon Press.

[ii]Jose Guimon 2006 Art and Madness Aurora Davis Groups of Publishers, p5.

[ii]Jose Guimon 2006 Art and Madness Aurora Davis Groups of Publishers, p5.

 

Liberation.

       Art speaks to the notion of liberation.  However, understanding the ancient symbolic messages left by our ancestors has posed a riddle for science. How do we explain the incongruity of the evolutionary findings? Science now suggests that  ‘tool-making… can be pushed back at least two million years’ whereby ‘modern tool kits emerged very gradually over 300,000 years in Africa.’ Conversely ‘Neanderthals are now known to have had brains that were bigger than ours and to have inherited the same genetic mutations that facilitate speech as us. Yet, despite surviving until 30,000 years ago, they hardly invented any new tools…’   It would seem then that ‘it is quite possible to be intelligent and imaginative human beings’ [Neanderthals buried their dead] ‘yet not experience cultural and economic progress.’[i]  What was absent from these societies was vision and a form of interaction that was based on interaction and past knowledge.    As Brian Arthur argues in his book The Nature of Technology,’ nearly all technologies are combinations of other technologies and new ideas come from swapping things and thoughts.[ii]   That said, the historian Christopher Lasch has noted our dependence on what went before has reached a point where there is a sense of everything coming to an end. ‘The sense of ending’ states Lasch ‘has given shape to much of the twentieth century literature’ and feelings of a dystopia.

The Nazi Holocaust, the threat of nuclear annihilation, the depletion of natural resources, well founded predictions of ecological disaster have fulfilled poetic prophecy giving concrete historical substance to the nightmare, or death wish, that avant-garde artists were the first to express.[iii]

       The vision of avant-garde artists is still with us, but in modern competitive societies where productivity is everything, materialism and the quest for creative vision that is rooted in survival poses a deep psychological schism.   As Lasch states humans have developed a culture of narcissism.  Humans have lost the vision of a Golden Age.

The contemporary climate is therapeutic, not religious. People today hunger for personal salvation, let alone for the restoration of an earlier golden age, but for the feeling of momentary illusion, of personal well being and heath and psychic security.[iv]

    Lasch goes on to describe how the radical politics of the 1960s filled empty lives, it gave people purpose, but it was never enough.  The weather has more impact on well being than politics.[v]   Environments and the emotions they arouse play a crucial role in well being as well as the ability to adapt to what we cannot control.   Progress in the modern world is a well thought out systematic process that depends of positive, visionary creation that is the outward expression of internalised feelings and emotions.   



 [i]  Matt Ridley [2010]Evolution and Creativity: Why Humans Triumphed. Wall Street Journal Saturday Essay.      online.wsj.com/…/SB1000142405274870369180457525453338693313…

[ii] W. Brian Arthur [2011] The Nature of Technology, New York Free Press.

[iii]Christopher Lasch [1979] New York Norton Publishers p3.

[iv]Christopher Lasch [1979] New York Norton Publishers p7.

[v]Christopher Lasch [1979] New York Norton Publishers p7.

Visions.

   

To understand Outsider Art is to conserve it.   Generally we have valued the interpretative artists for their historical importance, familiarity and pleasure, but society has had little time for nonconformity.  Outsider Art that exemplifies a ‘breakthrough’ in vision has traditionally remained beyond the borders of convention to be ignored rather than condemned rendering it invisible and devoid of any critique. [i]  Times have changed.  More recently Outsider Art has emerged in the context of post-modern, post-historical assertions, whereby there should be no judgements, no absolute truths, rules or conventions.   A cultural shift has taken place which the social historian Christopher Lasch has called it The Waning of the Sense of Historical Time [2006]. [ii]  Lasch laments the lack of historical reference.   Similar sentiments have been expressed in the book The End of History and the Last Man [1992] by Francis Fukuyama who argued that the spread of globalization and Western Liberal democracy would signal the endpoint in the multicultural evolution. [iii]  For Fukuyama the changes are just the inevitable outcome of the bourgeoisie mode.  Others have noted that since the end of the 1960s European Cultural Revolution interest in collective politics has waned in favour of the individual’s self-interest.  Virtually all social commentators, acknowledge the profound changes; for example, on the right, Robert Bork in Slouching Toward Gomorrah: Modern Liberalism and American Decline (New York: Regan Books,1996) [iv] and, on the left, Todd Gitlin in The Sixties: Years of Hope, Days of Rage (New York: Bantam Books, 1987).[v]   Both the left and right of politics characterize the counterculture as self-indulgent, childish, irrational, narcissistic, and even dangerous. [vi]

      Notwithstanding there are some positive elements to the changes. Science has advanced and offers different perspectives on culture and its values.   We can now conjecture an intrinsic purpose in being creative that is linked to human well being, but convincing people that making art is more important than buying a second car or taking a luxurious holiday is not an easy task.   Art happens in the moment, but it also links us to history and the future.  Undoubtedly, the creative arts have been enduring.  The art of civilizations is, in many instances, the only thing left when cities and populations decline. We remember the past through peoples’ art.  History and endurance requires vision.   The ability to vision is not the same as the tendency to dream.   We must awake from our dreams and rarely do we put their contents into effect.[vii]  Visionaries take dreaming to another level whereby the fantasies can become the means to create a better more harmonious world.

     The evolution of human creativity is complex nothing can truly explain the sudden development of human ingenuity of the last 45,000 years until now.    The succession of discoveries that have included fire, flint and minerals provided new tools and hunting methods, which in turn culminated in tribal settlements and communities that developed agriculture, the domestication of animals, the manufacture of tools and implements.   Alongside these discoveries was the acquisition of language giving rise to the expanding brain. Over time life became more rewarding, but also more intricate, more competitive and more conflicting. The quest for rewards became juxtaposed to punishments for non-achievement.   The competition for success intensified.   Opposing tribes fought hard for wealth and supremacy and the same drives that created progress, also led to defeat and chaos.  Thus we live in on a planet of winners and losers. We must transcend this system if life on Earth is to survive.

      Despite the hurdles and bumps on the way humanity has made extraordinary progress in a short space of time.   However, this advancement is not due to individual skills or the rational ability to speculate on the future, what we understand to be a modern sophisticated society is the product of a collective intelligence.  Scientists now agree that the collective intelligence of our predecessors gave the world the cultural evolution which we enjoy today.   According to current scientific findings development lies in collective bargaining, that is to say people interacting are better able to move forward rationally and creatively.  To reiterate this very important point, what appears to determine innovation and the rate of cultural change in nations and communities is the amount of creative communicative interaction.   As we see from history some of the earliest communications between humans took place through artistic expression. Examples of these works exist across the world to remind us of the power of symbolism and metonymy. It should not surprise us then that any attempts at political dictatorship will lead to an attack on the arts and demands of absolute obedience.  A picture paints much more than words, it creates imagination and vision.



[i]Jose Guimon 2006 Art and Madness Aurora Davis Groups of Publishers, p5.

[ii]Christopher Lasch [1979] New York Norton Publishers p1.

[iii] Francis Fukuyama[1992] The End of History and the Last Man  New York Free Press. Chapter 1.

[iv] Robert Bork in Slouching Toward Gomorrah: Modern Liberalism and American Decline (New York: Regan Books,1996)

[v] Todd Gitlin in The Sixties: Years of Hope, Days of Rage (New York: Bantam Books, 1987)—

[vi]George, Jason (2004). “The Legacy of the Counterculture”. columbia.edu. Columbia University. Retrieved 2014-05-23.

[vii]Ariety S.[1976] Creativity: The Magic Synthesis. New York. Basic Books.

 

Heavenly Inspiration.

Theorists have generally looked to motivation as an explanation for creativity focusing on why some people are more creative than others.  Most ancient cultures, such as the Greek, Chinese and Indian cultures had no real concept of creativity as they believed art was a discovery rather than a form of creation. Ancient societies believed that everything had a Divine origin.  The ancient Greeks in particular did not have a word for “create” or “creator”.  The great Greek philosopher Plato did not believe in art as a form of creation. He asserted that all art was an imitation.[i]  There was one exception to this rule, that of poetry. The art of poetry had a particular spiritual status as did the poet who put it together.    Indeed, the first conception of creation in the Western culture appears to have arisen with the Bible and Genesis when God was said to have created the Heavens and the Earth.  From then onwards the idea of creation was concretized in a religious dogma whereby any act of creation was the sole domain of Divine inspiration, a position that lasted until the eighteenth century European Enlightenment.

 

 



[i]^Plato, The Republic, Book X – wikisource:The Republic/Book X

Illustration Gromyko Semper: Visionary Art.

Taste and Consumption.

   Taste and consumption are strongly connected. Taste as a preference of certain types of commodity directly affects the choices we make and these choices in turn have an impact on markets.    The causal link between taste and consumption is also influenced by a number of other factors including multi-media advertising, class, wealth and the availability of goods, so on and so forth.  However, the theories of taste which build on the ideas of competitiveness, social status and emulation, such as those advocated by Bourdieu and Veblen  are not the only criteria involved in fashion.   Standards of taste and status are likely to be important to some, but many people do aspire to some form of individuality. We humans are not all the same.  In addition, fashion tastes do not necessarily begin with the upper classes as Bourdieu and Veblen suggested.   The Bohemians for example bulwarked against the status quo and devised their own form of ‘dandyism’. Hippies and beatniks were far from representative of the upper classes.  There has never been a more exciting time to enjoy fashion.

      Fashion is an art form. People who enjoy fashion treat their body as if it were a canvass or a Temple.  There is nothing wrong with this providing it is carried out freely and without obligations to external forces and providing it does not infringe peoples’ rights.

       Imagine a world without trends and fashion it would be a pretty dull place. There would be little to inspire us towards innovation or change. 

       Historically, fashion and taste for Immanuel Kant were merely a mark of social distinction.  Kant did not include fashion in his aesthetics.   Obviously the era of mass consumption has made taste and fashion more diverse and more interesting.  The world has become more colourful and inspiring place through the changing fashions.

[Illustration: Mail Art  Brownie Pie by Ungala].

Kant, Simmel and Fashion.


 

        The French philosopher and sociologists Pierre Bourdieu argued against the Kantian view of pure aesthetics, noting that the only permissible taste was that of the ruling class. He also rejected the idea of good taste as he believed there was only one choice in taste to be had.  This idea was previously expressed by Georg Simmel [1858-1918] who gained an interest in fashion believing that the upper classes changed their fashion taste as soon as the lower classes copied it.   Indeed, the middle classes copied much of the ruling class taste in an attempt to raise their social status, something they never managed to achieve.

 

      Simmel’s contribution to social theory went far beyond fashion and taste. He was one of the first German sociologists to challenge the Kantian view whereby he put down the foundations for the school of anti-positivism.  Simmel took Kant’s major question of what is nature and reframed it into what is society?    Simmel’s aim was to locate some form of individuality  in the context of a given culture in order to show that individual taste was declining.    Simmel firmly believed that culture moulded individuals by usurping free agency and embedding people into belief systems which they had no say over.  Simmel referred to “the cultivation of individuals through the agency of external forms which have been objectified in the course of history”.[i][ Simmel set the foundations for the structuralist view of society using the terms  “forms” and “contents” to discuss social relationships, categories he believed were interchangeable.  With this in mind Simmel had a great influence of early urban sociology.

 

       Simmel’s ideas were somewhat influenced by Max Weber whereby Simmel used to topic of “personal character” to emulate Weber’s “ideal type”.  He also wrote extensively on the philosophy of Schopenhauer and Nietzsche as well as on the works of the artist Rembrandt. [ii] Simmel’s books include such topics and emotion and love and his views held particular sway with the Critical Theory of the Frankfurt School.     

 

 

 



[i]  Donald Levine (ed) (1971)Simmel: On individuality and social forms. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, p. 6,]   

[ii][Simmel Georg [1916] Rembrandt: An Essay in the Philosophy of Art 

 

Bohemia,Taste and Capitalism.

     Bohemianism remains difficult to define, it borders on the notions of the eighteenth century Romantic Movement without the ties of privilege enjoyed by the landed gentry.  The Romantic Movement was largely concerned with the conservation of lands under threat by modern industry.   Bohemians were opposed to property ownership and although their views differed on many things they did share one very firm belief in the inappropriateness of the bourgeoisie class.   Immanuel Kant, in much the same way,  also took the trends of his contemporaries into account.   He warned against the divisions that might overwhelm society with the taste of one group usurping the taste of another.  Indeed, in many respects Kant set the groundwork for what would become a system of modern aesthetics.  In his aesthetic philosophy Kant noted how a particular category of good taste could set apart the majority in any one social gathering.   Kant’s aim was for cohesion.    In Kant’s view beauty could never be the object of property ownership or the realm of a superiority of class.  Aesthetic judgement was instead based on subjective feelings.   Further, Kant’s idea of taste could not be empirically judged.  Good taste was not to be found in any one value or way of life; nor could it be had in generalisations that often applied when issuing judgements.   Kant continually emphasised that the validity of good judgement could not belong to preferential group[s].   Taste then is deemed by Kant as being beyond reason.  It is a highly experiential phenomenon that is personal rather than universal. 

       Importantly, Kant stresses that our tastes, even on seemingly unimportant things, can never fully account for our judgements.  Of course contemporary modern culture might present as being in opposition to Kant’s view since there is a general feeling that modern technologies have overwhelmed what we understand to be the individual’s independent judgement, not to mention unique subjectivity.  Kant would probably have argued that this cannot be the case because every judgement of taste depends on the senses [sensus communis].   Here we see Kant’s assumption that while the senses are a very individual experience there is a general consensus amidst communities which allows judgements of taste be shared at a spiritual [transcendent] level of their existence.  In this concept not every member of a community has to agree with a judgement of taste, but every member of the community share in its proposition.  Moreover, Kant is not concerned with trivial matters of taste. Rather, he aspires to a universalism of harmony and consensus.  With this in mind Kant set the mood for a modern society of a mass consumer taste that unifies populations under the banner of bourgeoisie capitalism.

Art as Symptom.

      Art is a symptom of the way we live our lives.  As the philosopher and psychoanalyst Slavoj Zizek noted, art is also the panacea for preventing the symptom from becoming a full blown illness.[i]  At the same time it produces a wonderful array of ideas, objects and possibilities.

  In order to better understand the historical adaptations of culture and taste we need to turn to the works of Immanuel Kant [1724-1804].  It was Kant who gained the most influence in determining style because he linked it to reason and judgement.  Plato, Hume and Kant believed that aesthetics had to portray something pure and beautiful, which led to a lengthy inquiry that was designed to find the ‘essence’ of beauty, otherwise referred to as, the ontology of aesthetics. [ii]   In Immanuel Kant’s major work Critique and Judgement [1790]  aesthetics were determined in relation to the pleasure people acquired from objects and/or events and this was viewed through the ideal of what appeared exquisite and pleasing to the eye, whereby pleasure and beauty where interchangeable and one could not exist without the other. 

     Kant’s idea of essence and beauty remained steadfast until the beginning of modernity in the 19th century.  Social relations also began to change at this time.    The 19th century was the period in which the new sociological and psychological sciences were born.   Researchers made attempts to understand the social relations that gave rise to culture and taste in order that undesirable traits might be altered.  The working class culture was of particular interest to academics because the working class were the biggest threat to the still young and fragile capitalist class.   The European Enlightenment was well established, but it was not without contest.   The already bitter divide between the labouring class and the landed gentry was to be mediated by the bourgeoisie.  

      The whole concept of a class was encapsulated in a pyramid of good and bad taste that rendered Kant’s dictate that pleasure and beauty must coexist highly problematic.  The middle class bridged the gap between the very rich and the very poor and this led to ongoing tensions.     The working class who were largely uneducated and perceived as uncouth were said to be in need of constant constraints.  Small misdemeanours could land someone in jail or in many cases a mental asylum.   However, the authoritarian state was no solution to keeping people in line because the lower classes were needed as labour in Europe’s bourgeoning manufacturing economies.   

      The church stepped in with reforms aimed at taming the spirit of the working classes, which in turn deprived them of their culture. The church provided a visual learning experience, which contained metaphysical and spiritual interpretations of the canons and this contributed to a shift in the values and tastes towards more contemporary forms of aesthetics.  As time progressed this change in taste was set in place by growing trends in consumerism.  It also led many gifted people into a style that was known as Bohemianism.

     Bohemians were a diverse group that rejected the bourgeois values.  They deplored the ownership of private property and demonstrated this by not having any permanent abode or affiliations with the acquisition of material wealth.  They rejected the strict moral codes preferring to live their lives in freedom. This often led to drug and alcohol use and open sexual relationships.  They refused to tie wealth to the pursuit of art and literature, art had to exist for art’s sake, it needed to be pursued regardless of whether it generated income, which generally meant the Bohemians were poor and forced to live on their wits for the sake of art and the contentment it brought with it.    Bohemian groups consisted of writers, artists, political and philosopher thinkers as well as intellectuals; people who had much to give a society so divided across class lines.

 



[i] Slavoj Zizek [1989]  Art as Symptom in the Sublime Object of Ideology.

[ii] Immanuel Kant [1781] Ontology of aesthetics in Critique of Pure Reason.

Picture:  Octave Tassaert’s The Studio, painted in 1845, when the bohemian began in Paris.