THE NEO-GOTHIC
ART MANIFESTO

The Art History Archive - Neo Gothic Art


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Revised in 2003.

Gothic culture is more than just a bunch of clothes and dark art.

It started as part of the punk movement, a rebellion against the status quo and against both the government and the "squares". It was a rebellion against religion, against other people's ideas of what was "normal".

When punk delved more into nihilism, gothic went in a separate direction and became more hedonistic, sexual and religious oriented. Contextually, gothic and what it means to be goth has changed over the years that many people only subconsciously realize that what they are doing is an act of rebellion.

We are rebels.

We are social rebels, misfits, a society within a society, a sub-culture that is ignored to some extent but still there, thriving and becoming more popular than ever.

In theory we could even become so popular that we end up dominating society, in which goth would actually become a social norm. And then it would be the squares (such an 80s term) which would actually be considered freaks instead of the basics of normalcy.

What is normal? What is popular? Bertolt Brecht (the famous playwright) would say popularity is dependent upon how new, different and exciting something is. However, when something becomes so popular that its normal, it stops being new and exciting.

Goth is always new. Goth is always different. It keeps evolving, adopting new fashion statements, new art statements. For every day that passes, goth changes and evolves.

And if the day should ever come that goth becomes normal, our individuality will have to evolve with it, but at least by then we will have dramatically altered our world to the point that we have become something more than a freakshow for the people on the subway. We will become a new social group that cannot be ignored any longer and our ethics and morals, many of which are deeply philosophical and have truth imbedded in them, will become a new cornerstone for an ever evolving society.

And so I say, Cheers to the future of Neo-Gothicism. Cheers to an art style that has been around since Francisco Goya in the early Romanticist Period. Cheers to the people, the designers, the writers and the artists who stand out as individuals.

GOTH IS ABOUT REBELLING AGAINST SOCIAL NORMS, AND DEFYING OLD FASHIONED SEXUALITY & REPRESSIVE GOVERNMENT AND RELIGION. Goth is about being sexually and emotionally free. Goth is about being yourself. In a dark and mysterious kind of way.

And isn't that how all individuals should be before you get to know them better? Mysterious.

Sincerely,
Charles Alexander Moffat
Curator of the Lilith Gallery of Toronto
Written 2001, Revised 2003.


THE OLD VERSION:

THE NEO-GOTHIC ART MANIFESTO

Gothic culture is more than just a bunch of clothes and dark art.

It started as part of the punk movement, a rebellion against the status quo and against the government. It was a rebellion against religion, against other people's ideas of what was "normal".

When punk delved more into nihilism, gothic went in a separate direction and became more hedonistic, sexual and religious oriented. Contextually, gothic and what it means to be goth has changed over the years that many people only subconsciously realize that what they are doing is an act of rebellion.

We are rebels.

We are social rebels, misfits, a society within a society, ignored to some extent but still there, thriving and becoming more popular than ever.

In theory we could even become so popular that we end up dominating society, in which goth would actually become a social norm. And then it would be the squares (such an 80s term) which would actually be considered freaks instead of the basics of normalcy.

And if that day should ever come, our individuality will have to evolve with it, but at least by then we will have dramatically altered our world to the point that we have become something more than a freakshow for the people on the subway. We will become a new social group that cannot be ignored any longer and our ethics and morals, many of which are deeply philosophical and have truth imbedded in them, will become a new cornerstone for an ever evolving society.

And so I say, Cheers to the future of Neo-Gothicism! Cheers to an art style that has been around since Francesco Goya in the early Romanticist Period! Cheers to the people, the designers, the writers and the artists who stand up and make a difference! Vive le resistance!

GOTH IS ABOUT REBELLING AGAINST SOCIAL NORMS, AND DEFYING OLD FASHIONED SEXUALITY & REPRESSIVE GOVERNMENT AND RELIGION. DO NOT EVER FORGET IT.

Sincerely,
Charles Alexander Moffat
Curator of the Lilith Gallery

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Gothic, as a phenomenon, is more complex that anyone would think. Letís take a small fraction of Gothic that is understandable for everyone, fashion. Its essence is not only dark colors but also symbolism and meaning that stand behind. At the same time, it appeals to the past and to the future. Long antique gowns, gloves, sun umbrellas, and corsets refer to the Victorian era. Goggles, prosthetics, protective masks, etc. draw a gloomy picture of the future.

Some people believe that Gothic is cold, dark, and unfriendly. Indeed, looking at grim guys flaunting mens skull necklaces or rings and dark outfits, it is hard to see anything positive.

However, Neo Gothic is more that Satanist looks. In fact, it is more that dark. Gothic allows expressing yourself in the way you want it, if you like white outfits, Gothic is ok with that (there is a trend called White Gothic). Gothic is for artistic and creative people who donít want to be like average Joes. If you look at the wardrobe of any Gothic enthusiast, youíll see plenty of hand-made, designer, and bespoke stuff. It is because every Goth is an individual and you canít reveal your individuality with mass-market products. By and large, Gothic is a way to express your inner self.