Saturday, December 30, 2017

Lunacy, Delirum Tremens, Jazz—and Camouflage

Cubist cartoon (1913), by Frank King
Styles of so-called "modern" art pre-date dazzle ship camouflage, since disruptive camouflage (as we know it) was not adopted until 1914, the first year of World War I. Modern styles of art were shown to the American public by way of the Armory Show in early 1913. 

Thereafter, cartoonists had an absolute field day with avant-garde art, as shown above in a wonderful cartoon by Frank King, titled "After the Cubist Food Exhibit," that appeared in The Chicago Tribune on April 24, 1913. As soon as disruptive camouflage was introduced, there was no stopping the rumors that it had been inspired by lunacy, the delirium tremens, jazz—and cubism. The fight is still on-going.


P.I. O'Leary, THE LITERARY PAGE. The Informalists. The Advocate (Melbourne, Victoria, Australia), June 24, 1920, p. 3— 

Mr. [W.L.] George sees in the work of [Irish writer James] Joyce a resemblance to the impressionist painter's method, who, instead of painting a green spot, painted side by side a blue spot and a yellow spot, and then invited you to stand back. If this attempted literature of Joyce resembles anything at all in pigments, it is the chaotic and seemingly meaningless lines and drab splashes painted on camouflaged ocean-going vessels during the late war. Unlike those markings, however, which served to obliterate the vessels they made usefully hideous, these serve only to hide something which is not there to be hidden.…


Dazzle Mania in The Register (Adelaide, South Australia), October 8, 1923, p. 11—

Post-impressionists have been at work in London again. Wandering down one of the streets where the feminine population does its shopping, I was struck—literally—by a most amazing pair of silk stockings. "Jazz," murmured the fair lady: "aren't they a dream?" They were—a rather bad one. The post-impressionist had apparently endeavored to portray his impressions of a landscape after a thunderstorm. Verdan green as to foot, the stockings first took on a threatening reddish-yellow glow, deepening into vivid crimson, and back again to sullen gray, all the colorings looking as though they had been thrown on from a distance of at least five feet. I suppose they would be all right on some people, but they looked to me like the camouflage they put on boats in war time.