Neo-Romanticism and the Solid World

One of the difficulties of pursuing a Solid World lifestyle is that the Regular World is implacable. Not just implacable, much of the time, but monstrous. The phenomenological import of the Regular World on the Solid World is (sorrowfully) almost always mind-rape and molestation. As to why the Regular World, so much of the human race, needs to game against the Solid— the human race on earth are still rather young, and not all souls are equally developed. Some souls can handle and appreciate the Solid, others become frightened and intimidated by it. It stands to reason that a warning be issued to anyone who pursues high art, philosophy, or science seriously, or even other humanities pursuits at high levels— if you stick to your guns in an individualistic fashion, you must expect some persecution for doing so. Yet the Regular life is no place at all for individuals, because the backbone of the Regular is homogeneity and conformity. Neo-Romantic art is always stuck at a kind of crossroads here— trying to take facets of Romanticism and Neo-Classicism and update them in an individualistic fashion, while also being palatable enough to “blend in” and be shown and/or published along with others. Others, it might be added, who fit the profile of the corporate and/or bureaucratic, and who espouse positions blatantly for the Regular and against the Solid. Why Neo-Romanticism should win in the end is the same reason Romanticism and Neo-Classicism won in the end— superior formal rigor and narrative-thematic gravitas inhering in the art, influenced by the sublimity of Philadelphia’s architecture and the sense of Philadelphia (also) as haunted, spectral, apparitional. The major Neo-Romantic seeds, I would venture to say, have already been planted. I will tend the garden for as long as I have the capability of doing so. What I would encourage others to do, who like Neo-Romantic art, is to use us as a template, but (please) be willing to acknowledge our influence. No one likes to feel ripped off, and rip-offs (these days) are Regular.

Neo-Romantic art makes a bunch of assumptions which are worth discussing. That there is a tie in serious art between formal beauty and individuality which is worth cultivating, and that was largely eschewed by twentieth century art; that formality itself is expressive, above and beyond the conceptual; and that the conceptual basis for the development of forms has to do with Solid World attachment to the Irregular and to the sense that Regularity necessitates homogeneity of forms and themes by guaranteeing material rewards to imposters and conformists. Aughts Philadelphia was, in general, not a rewarding place/context for conformists. Yet, it will take some time for us to be a straightforward, Regular “buzz.” Warhol in the 60s and 70s, for example, was not particularly like that; he “buzzed” plenty in his own time; yet, the whole point of his work is built-in obsolescence, which assures his oeuvre no future at all in a century which values individualism and the Solid. If you are interested in Neo-Romanticism, please prepare yourself for a long, rewarding ride. Not only that— that we embraced form as perhaps the most serious mode of aesthetic individuality means that those with sufficient brains will never find leave to be embarrassed with us. The spine of our body of work is set sturdily and securely in place. As in Romanticism and Neo-Classicism, the multi-dimensional aspect of myself and Abby— that there is strong narrative-thematic material to enhance, gird, and reinforce the formal, manifesting an ideal of the work of art as well-rounded and Solid— can only intermittently interest the Regular world, ever. When was the last time you saw the name John Keats in the New York Times or the New Yorker, or, for that matter, The Philadelphia Inquirer? The Solid World is always in the process of building and rebuilding itself, and re-inventing its own architecture. If what the Regular World has in store for us is scripted respect backed with distance and mistrust, who cares? The reason to create (ultimately) is that you want to create, and you can; and this axiomatic assumption undergirds not only Neo-Romanticism, Romanticism, and Neo-Classicism, but any attempt by an individual to do anything with any depth or higher meaning. As such, this is the Solid axiom to start from with us.