The avant-garde ( // ; In French: [avɑ̃ɡaʁd] 'advance guard' or 'vanguard', literally 'fore-guard') are people or works that are experimental, radical, or unorthodox with respect to art, culture, or society. It is frequently characterized by aesthetic innovation and initial unacceptability.
The avant-garde pushes the boundaries of what is accepted as the norm or the status quo, primarily in the cultural realm. The avant-garde is considered by some to be a hallmark of modernism, as distinct from postmodernism.[ citation needed ] Many artists have aligned themselves with the avant-garde movement, and still continue to do so, tracing their history from Dada through the Situationists and to postmodern artists such as the Language poets around 1981. [ failed verification ]
The avant-garde also promotes radical social reforms. It was this meaning that was evoked by the Saint Simonian Olinde Rodrigues in his essay, "L'artiste, le savant et l'industriel" ("The artist, the scientist and the industrialist", 1825). This essay contains the first use of "avant-garde" in its now customary sense; there, Rodrigues called on artists to "serve as [the people's] avant-garde", insisting that "the power of the arts is indeed the most immediate and fastest way" to social, political and economic reform.
The term was originally used by the French military to refer to a small reconnoitring group that scouted ahead of the main force. It also became associated with left-wing French radicals in the nineteenth century who were agitating for political reform. At some point in the middle of that century, the term was linked to art through the idea that art is an instrument for social change. Only toward the end of the nineteenth did l'art d'avant-garde begin to break away from its identification with left-wing social causes to become more aligned with cultural and artistic issues. This trend toward increased emphasis on aesthetic issues has continued to the present. Avant-garde today generally refers to groups of intellectuals, writers, and artists, including architects, who voice ideas and experiment with artistic approaches that challenge current cultural values. Avant-garde ideas, especially if they embrace social issues, often are gradually assimilated by the societies they confront. The radicals of yesterday become mainstream, creating the environment for a new generation of radicals to emerge.
Several writers have attempted to map the parameters of avant-garde activity. The Italian essayist Renato Poggioli provides one of the earliest analyses of vanguardism [ clarification needed ] as a cultural phenomenon in his 1962 book, Teoria dell'arte d'avanguardia (The Theory of the Avant-Garde). Surveying the historical, social, psychological and philosophical aspects of vanguardism, Poggioli reaches beyond individual instances of art, poetry, and music to show that vanguardists may share certain ideals or values, which manifest themselves in the non-conformist lifestyles they adopt. He sees vanguard culture as a variety or subcategory of Bohemianism. Other authors have attempted both to clarify and to extend Poggioli's study. The German literary critic Peter Bürger's Theory of the Avant-Garde (1974) looks at the Establishment's embrace of socially critical works of art, and suggests that in complicity with capitalism, "art as an institution neutralizes the political content of the individual work."
Raymond Williams devotes two chapters of his book, The Politics of Modernism (1989), to a discussion of the politics and language of the avant-garde.
Bürger's essay also greatly influenced the work of contemporary American art-historians such as the German Benjamin H. D. Buchloh (born 1941). Buchloh, in the collection of essays Neo-avantgarde and Culture Industry (2000), critically argues for a dialectical approach to these positions.Subsequent criticism theorized the limitations of these approaches, noting their circumscribed areas of analysis, including Eurocentric, chauvinist, and genre-specific definitions.
The concept of avant-garde refers primarily to artists, writers, composers and thinkers whose work is opposed to mainstream cultural values, and often has a trenchant social or political edge. Many writers, critics and theorists made assertions about vanguard culture during the formative years of modernism, although the initial definitive statement on the avant-garde was the essay Avant-Garde and Kitsch, by New York art critic Clement Greenberg. It was published in Partisan Review in 1939.Greenberg argued that vanguard culture has historically been opposed to "high" or "mainstream" culture, and that it has also rejected the artificially synthesized mass culture that has been produced by industrialization. Each of these media is a direct product of capitalism—they are all now substantial industries—and, as such, they are driven by the same profit-fixated motives of other sectors of manufacturing, not the ideals of true art. For Greenberg, these forms were therefore kitsch : phony, faked or mechanical culture. Such things often pretended to be more than they were by using formal devices stolen from vanguard culture. For instance, during the 1930s, the advertising industry was quick to take visual mannerisms from surrealism, but this does not mean that 1930s advertising photographs are truly surreal.
Various members of the Frankfurt School argued similar views: thus Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer in their essay The Culture Industry: Enlightenment as Mass-Deception (1944), and also Walter Benjamin in his highly influential "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction" (1935, rev. 1939) spoke of "mass culture."They indicated that this bogus culture is constantly being manufactured by a newly emerged culture industry (comprising commercial publishing houses, the movie industry, the record industry, and the electronic media). They also pointed out that the rise of this industry meant that artistic excellence was displaced by sales figures as a measure of worth: a novel, for example, was judged meritorious solely on whether it became a best-seller; music succumbed to ratings charts, and to the blunt commercial logic of the Gold disc. In this way, the autonomous artistic merit, so dear to the vanguardist, was abandoned and sales increasingly became the measure, and justification, of everything. Consumer culture now ruled.
The avant-garde's co-option by the global capitalist market, by neoliberal economies, and by what Guy Debord called The Society of the Spectacle , have made contemporary critics speculate on the possibility of a meaningful avant-garde today. Paul Mann's Theory-Death of the Avant-Garde demonstrates how completely the avant-garde is embedded within institutional structures today, a thought also pursued by Richard Schechner in his analyses of avant-garde performance.
Despite the central arguments of Greenberg, Adorno, and others, various sectors of the mainstream culture industry have co-opted and misapplied the term "avant-garde" since the 1960s, chiefly as a marketing tool to publicise popular music and commercial cinema. It has become common to describe successful rock musicians and celebrated film-makers as "avant-garde", the very word having been stripped of its proper meaning. Noting this important conceptual shift, major contemporary theorists such as Matei Calinescu in Five Faces of Modernity: Modernism, Avant-garde, Decadence, Kitsch, Postmodernism (1987),[ page needed ] and Hans Bertens in The Idea of the Postmodern: A History (1995),[ page needed ] have suggested that this is a sign our culture has entered a new post-modern age, when the former modernist ways of thinking and behaving have been rendered redundant.
Nevertheless, an incisive critique of vanguardism as against the views of mainstream society was offered by the New York critic Harold Rosenberg in the late 1960s.Trying to strike a balance between the insights of Renato Poggioli and the claims of Clement Greenberg, Rosenberg suggested that, from the mid-1960s onward, progressive culture ceased to fulfill its former adversarial role. Since then it has been flanked by what he called "avant-garde ghosts to the one side, and a changing mass culture on the other", both of which it interacts with to varying degrees. This has seen culture become, in his words, "a profession one of whose aspects is the pretense of overthrowing it."
Avant-garde in music can refer to any form of music working within traditional structures while seeking to breach boundaries in some manner.The term is used loosely to describe the work of any musicians who radically depart from tradition altogether. By this definition, some avant-garde composers of the 20th century include Arnold Schoenberg, Richard Strauss (in his earliest work), Charles Ives, Igor Stravinsky, Anton Webern, Edgard Varèse, Alban Berg, George Antheil (in his earliest works only), Henry Cowell (in his earliest works), Harry Partch, John Cage, Iannis Xenakis, Morton Feldman, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Pauline Oliveros, Philip Glass, Meredith Monk, Laurie Anderson, and Diamanda Galás.
There is another definition of "Avant-gardism" that distinguishes it from "modernism": Peter Bürger, for example, says avant-gardism rejects the "institution of art" and challenges social and artistic values, and so necessarily involves political, social, and cultural factors.According to the composer and musicologist Larry Sitsky, modernist composers from the early 20th century who do not qualify as avant-gardists include Arnold Schoenberg, Anton Webern, and Igor Stravinsky; later modernist composers who do not fall into the category of avant-gardists include Elliott Carter, Milton Babbitt, György Ligeti, Witold Lutosławski, and Luciano Berio, since "their modernism was not conceived for the purpose of goading an audience."
The 1960s saw a wave of free and avant-garde music in jazz genre, represented by artists such as Ornette Coleman, Sun Ra, Albert Ayler, Archie Shepp, John Coltrane and Miles Davis.In the rock music of the 1970s, the "art" descriptor was generally understood to mean "aggressively avant-garde" or "pretentiously progressive". Post-punk artists from the late 1970s rejected traditional rock sensibilities in favor of an avant-garde aesthetic.
Whereas the avant-garde has a significant history in 20th-century music, it is more pronounced in theatre and performance art, and often in conjunction with music and sound design innovations, as well as developments in visual media design. There are movements in theatre history that are characterized by their contributions to the avant-garde traditions in both the United States and Europe. Among these are Fluxus, Happenings, and Neo-Dada.
Modernism is both a philosophical movement and an art movement that arose from broad transformations in Western society during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The movement reflected a desire for the creation of new forms of art, philosophy, and social organization which reflected the newly emerging industrial world, including features such as urbanization, new technologies, and war. Artists attempted to depart from traditional forms of art, which they considered outdated or obsolete. The poet Ezra Pound's 1934 injunction to "Make it New" was the touchstone of the movement's approach.
Noise music is a genre of music that is characterised by the expressive use of noise within a musical context. This type of music tends to challenge the distinction that is made in conventional musical practices between musical and non-musical sound. Noise music includes a wide range of musical styles and sound-based creative practices that feature noise as a primary aspect.
Clement Greenberg, occasionally writing under the pseudonym K. Hardesh, was an American essayist known mainly as a very influential visual art critic closely associated with American Modern art of the mid-20th century and a Formalist aesthetician. He is best remembered for his association with the art movement Abstract Expressionism and the painter Jackson Pollock.
Postmodern art is a body of art movements that sought to contradict some aspects of modernism or some aspects that emerged or developed in its aftermath. In general, movements such as intermedia, installation art, conceptual art and multimedia, particularly involving video are described as postmodern.
Avant-garde music is music that is considered to be at the forefront of innovation in its field, with the term "avant-garde" implying a critique of existing aesthetic conventions, rejection of the status quo in favor of unique or original elements, and the idea of deliberately challenging or alienating audiences. Avant-garde music may be distinguished from experimental music by the way it adopts an extreme position within a certain tradition, whereas experimental music lies outside tradition.
Postmodern dance is a 20th century concert dance form that came into popularity in the early 1960s. While the term "postmodern" took on a different meaning when used to describe dance, the dance form did take inspiration from the ideologies of the wider Postmodern movement, which "sought to deflate what it saw as overly pretentious and ultimately self-serving modernist views of art and the artist" and was, more generally, a departure from modernist ideals. Lacking stylistic homogeny, Postmodern dance was discerned mainly by its anti-modern dance sentiments rather than by its dance style. The dance form was a reaction to the compositional and presentational constraints of the preceding generation of modern dance, hailing the use of everyday movement as valid performance art and advocating for unconventional methods of dance composition.
In music, modernism is an aesthetic stance underlying the period of change and development in musical language that occurred around the turn of the 20th century, a period of diverse reactions in challenging and reinterpreting older categories of music, innovations that led to new ways of organizing and approaching harmonic, melodic, sonic, and rhythmic aspects of music, and changes in aesthetic worldviews in close relation to the larger identifiable period of modernism in the arts of the time. The operative word most associated with it is "innovation". Its leading feature is a "linguistic plurality", which is to say that no one music genre ever assumed a dominant position.
Inherent within musical modernism is the conviction that music is not a static phenomenon defined by timeless truths and classical principles, but rather something which is intrinsically historical and developmental. While belief in musical progress or in the principle of innovation is not new or unique to modernism, such values are particularly important within modernist aesthetic stances.
Luigi Carlo Filippo Russolo was an Italian Futurist painter, composer, builder of experimental musical instruments, and the author of the manifesto The Art of Noises (1913). He is often regarded as one of the first noise music experimental composers with his performances of noise music concerts in 1913–14 and then again after World War I, notably in Paris in 1921. He designed and constructed a number of noise-generating devices called Intonarumori.
The Russian avant-garde was a large, influential wave of avant-garde modern art that flourished in the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union, approximately from 1890 to 1930—although some have placed its beginning as early as 1850 and its end as late as 1960. The term covers many separate, but inextricably related, art movements that flourished at the time; including Suprematism, Constructivism, Russian Futurism, Cubo-Futurism, Zaum and Neo-primitivism. Many of the artists who were born, grew up or were active in what is now Belarus and Ukraine, are also classified in the Ukrainian avant-garde.
In the visual arts, late modernism encompasses the overall production of most recent art made between the aftermath of World War II and the early years of the 21st century. The terminology often points to similarities between late modernism and post-modernism although there are differences. The predominant term for art produced since the 1950s is contemporary art. Not all art labelled as contemporary art is modernist or post-modern, and the broader term encompasses both artists who continue to work in modern and late modernist traditions, as well as artists who reject modernism for post-modernism or other reasons. Arthur Danto argues explicitly in After the End of Art that contemporaneity was the broader term, and that postmodern objects represent a subsector of the contemporary movement which replaced modernity and modernism, while other notable critics: Hilton Kramer, Robert C. Morgan, Kirk Varnedoe, Jean-François Lyotard and others have argued that postmodern objects are at best relative to modernist works.
Futurism was an early 20th-century art movement which encompassed painting, sculpture, poetry, theatre, music, architecture, cinema and gastronomy. Filippo Tommaso Marinetti initiated the movement with his Manifesto of Futurism, published in February 1909. Futurist music rejected tradition and introduced experimental sounds inspired by machinery, and influenced several 20th-century composers. According to Rodney Payton, “early in the movement, the term ‘Futurism’ was misused to loosely define any sort of avante-garde effort; in English, the term was used to label a composer whose music was considered ‘difficult.’”
Yefim Golyshev, variously transliterated as Golyscheff, Golyschev, Golishiff, Golishev, etc., 8 September 1897 – 25 September 1970) was a Ukrainian-born painter and composer who was mainly active in Europe.
Déserts (1950–1954) is a piece by Edgard Varèse for 14 winds, 5 percussion players, 1 piano, and electronic tape. Percussion instruments are exploited for their resonant potential, rather than used solely as accompaniment. According to Varèse, the title of the piece regards "not only physical deserts of sand, sea, mountains, and snow, outer space, deserted city streets… but also distant inner space… where man is alone in a world of mystery and essential solitude."
All those that people traverse or may traverse: physical deserts, on the earth, in the sea, in the sky, of sand, of snow, of interstellar spaces or of great cities, but also those of the human spirit, of that distant inner space no telescope can reach, where one is alone.
Avant-garde art and American pop culture have had an intriguing relationship from the time of the art form's inception in America to the current day. The art form, which began in the early half of the nineteenth century in Europe, started to rise slowly in America under the guise of Dadaism in 1915. While originally formed under a group of artists in New York City who wanted to counter pop culture with their art, music, and literature the art form began to grow into prominence with American pop culture due to a variety of factors between the 1940s to the 1970s. However, from many factors that arose in the late 1970s, avant-garde began to both lessen in prominence and began to blend with the pop culture to the point in which most art critics considered the art form extinct.
Nikolai Borisovich Obukhov was a modernist and mystic Russian composer, active mainly in France. An avant-garde figure who took as his point of departure the late music of Scriabin, he fled Russia along with his family after the Bolshevik Revolution, settling in Paris. His music is notable for its religious mysticism, its unusual notation, its use of an idiosyncratic 12-tone chromatic language, and its pioneering use of electronic musical instruments in the era of their earliest development.
Ukrainian avant-garde is a term widely used to refer the most innovative metamorphosises in Ukrainian art from the end of 1900s to the middle of the 1930s along with associated artists. Broadly speaking, it is Ukrainian art synchronized with the international avant-garde in sculpture, painting, literature, cinema, theater, stage design, graphics, music, architecture. Some Ukrainian avant-garde artists who are fairly well-known include Kazimir Malevich, Alexander Archipenko, Vladimir Tatlin, Sonia Delaunay, Vasyl Yermylov, Alexander Bogomazov, Aleksandra Ekster, David Burliuk, Vadym Meller, Anatol Petrytsky all of them were closely connected to Ukrainian cities Kyiv, Kharkiv, Lviv, Odessa by birth, education, language, national traditions or identity. One of the earliest uses of the term "Ukrainian Avant-Garde" concerning painting and sculpture during Soviet censorship was in the artistic discussion at Tatlin's dream exhibition, curated by Parisian art historian Andréi Nakov, in London, 1973, which showcased works of Ukrainian artists Vasyl Yermylov and Alexander Bogomazov. The first international avant-garde exhibitions in Ukraine which included French, Italian, Ukrainian and Russian artists took place in Odessa and Kyiv at the Izdebsky Salon; later the pieces were shown in St. Petersburg and Riga. The cover of "Izdebsky Salon 2" (1910–11) contained abstract work by Wassily Kandinsky.
A duration row or duration series is an ordering of a set of durations, in analogy with the tone row or twelve-tone set.
Poetism was an artistic program in Czechoslovakia which belongs to the avant-garde; it has never spread abroad. It was invented by members of avant-garde association Devětsil, mainly Vítězslav Nezval and Karel Teige. It is mainly known in the literature form, however, it was also intended as a lifestyle. Its poems were apolitical, optimistic, emotional, proletaristic, describing ordinary, real things and everyday life, dealing mainly with the present time. It doesn't have any punctation.
Per Bäckström is a Swedish literary scholar and affiliated professor in comparative literature at the Linnaeus University, Växjö, Sweden. He has worked as professor in comparative Literature, Karlstad University 2010–2019, and as associate professor at the Department of Culture and Literature, University of Tromsø, Norway 1996–2010. He took part in the founding of European Network for Avant-garde and Modernism Studies (EAM) in 2007, and was the leader of the Membership Commission 2007–2011. He has published studies on Bruno K. Öijer, Henri Michaux, Gunnar Ekelöf, Mikhail Bakhtin, intermediality, the grotesque, concrete poetry, performance, avant-garde and neo-avant-garde. He has made a critical reading of Michel Riffaterre's Semiotics of Poetry, where he introduces Riffaterre’s theory, explains why it failed to make success, and criticizes it for its lack of consistency when it comes to experimental poetry. He has especially studied the use of the notions of “modernism” and “avant-garde” in Romance speaking languages versus English, and the role of the peripheries in relation to the supposed centres of the avant-garde in the 20th Century. He currently is working on the Swedish avant-gardist Öyvind Fahlström and The Anti-Aesthetics of Rock.
Kritisk Revy was a quarterly Danish architecture magazine. It was briefly published between 1926 and 1928 in Copenhagen, Denmark. The magazine played a significant role in developing avant-garde culture in Scandinavia between World War I and World War II. It is also the early source for the Danish modern.