A Vorticist Perspective

In 1915, Wyndham Lewis published the second and last edition of the Blast magazine in which he compiled art, poems, and political commentary from the ‘Vorticist’ school (the only 20th century movement in painting to come from England) which he helped found. Here is a quote from his essay “The Art of the Great Race” taken from a 1981 reprint by Black Sparrow Press:

“Art is not active; it casts away and isolates. It takes men as it finds them, a particular material, and works at it. It gets the best out of it, and it is the best that it isolates. The worst is still there too, to keep the man in touch with the world, and freer because of the separation. Perfect art insists on this duality, and develops it. It is for this reason and in this way, that the best art is always nearest to its time, as surely as it is the most independent of it. It does not condescend to lead. But often, an artist, simply because he takes hold of his time impassively, impartially, without fuss, appeals to be a confirmed protestor…” (page 70)