LOS ANGELES COUNTY MUSEUM OF ART
Doctrinal Nourishment: Art and Anarchism in the Time of James Ensor
Text by Theresa Papanikolas, Kevin Salatino.
A sharp send-up of authoritarian hubris--in which bloated, self-satisfied, bare-bottomed public officials excrete a foul diet literally to be swallowed by the masses--the etching "Doctrinal Nourishment" (1889/95) is one of Belgian artist James Ensor's most politically scathing works. Through a close reading of this print in its political context, curator Theresa Papanikolas traces how Ensor's youthful immersion in Belgian anarchist circles led him to develop violent and grotesque imagery through which he hoped to expose the incompetence of unchecked authority and indict a society in crisis. This well-illustrated volume also puts Ensor's work into art-historical context by juxtaposing examples of French Romanticism, German Expressionism and Dada by a variety of artists, including Honoré Daumier, Félicien Rops, George Grosz and Otto Dix.