In this article Adolph Loos criticized present-day sphere of ornaments. The author called these decorations a waste of time, materials and workers’ efforts. Loos criticized ornaments because they lost the connection with culture and does not reflect past or present important trends of the society. Ornaments became just a way to make people buy new things each time the fashion changes its direction. Loos mentions modern consumers often want to find the cheapest proposition, regardless of goods’ true value. The author supports this wish in case of ornaments. He believes it is a waste of valuable materials when they used for this purpose. Loos argues ornaments are not an art and modern ornamentalists can not create something meaningful in this level of cultural development. Wallpaper’s ornament is not an art, regardless of its quality and content. However, Loos does not criticize all ornaments. He believes there are meaningful and valuable works. But they were created in the past or authors do not have access to the art. Loos provided an example of his shoemaker, who used an ornament to demonstrate his pleasure and gratitude. However, author showed him as an exception. Generally Loos criticized ornaments, “blamed” people in plagiary when they used works of other nations for their purposes and mentioned that the lack or ornaments is a sign that can show the individuality of a modern consumer.
I can partially agree with Loos’s ideas. It is right ornaments are not a part of the high art. It is still a craft, regardless of materials, time and efforts person spent to create a certain object. Loos also was right when he wrote that sometimes decorations reduce the object’s price. However, I can not agree with his level of criticism. It is true consumers often meet with overcropping of ornaments and manufacturers use them to make people buy more items after trends’ changing. However, the complete rejection from ornamentation is another extreme. It is a part of society and, in spite of Loos’s opinion, can present some current cultural features. I also think worthy ornaments can be created by people who “go to Beethoven or Tristan after the cares of the day” (Loos 3). Person who designs wallpaper patterns after such entertainments is not a degenerate or a rogue, like Loos said. It is only a work and author can use an art experience to improve the final result.
Loos, Adolph. Ornament and Crime. PDF.