The Idea of the Avant Garde

And What It Means Today

Edited by Marc James Léger

The Idea of the Avant Garde

Book Information

  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-9691-4
  • Pages: 296
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £17.99
  • Published Date: September 2014
  • BIC Category: Cultural Studies, Theory of art, The arts: general issues, ART / Criticism & Theory, The arts / Theory of art


This book is premised on the view that the idea of the avant garde has an increased importance in these times of global political crisis. Much cultural production today is shaped by a biopolitics that construes all creative and knowledge production in terms of capital accumulation. A different kind of culture is possible.

This collection of writings, essays, interviews and artworks by many of today's most radical cultural practitioners and astute commentators on matters avant garde mediates the different strategies and temporalities of avant-garde art and politics. Tracing diverse genealogies and trajectories, the book offers an inter-generational forum of ideas that covers different arts fields, from visual art, art activism, photography, film and architecture, to literature, theatre, performance, intermedia and music.

This is an extraordinarily rich collection and is sure to be a benchmark for many years.


'The avant garde never gives up! Léger's excellent anthology gives ample proof that the struggle to bring aesthetic transformation to everyday life, and to bring everyday struggles into aesthetic transformation is alive and well and taking on ever new forms. Every aspiring avant-gardist could learn a thing or two from this book. Study it, steal from it, stick it in the blender and concoct your mix with some new ingredients. The world needs the avant-garde spirit now more than ever.'
McKenzie Wark, author of A Hacker Manifesto and The Beach Beneath the Street

'In the age of deception, when everything presents itself as something else, where militants perform as artists and business people imagine themselves as revolutionaries, can we still recognize the 'avant garde'? This highly informative anthology engages several generations of artists and thinkers to question the meaning and identity of the avant garde in a post-everything world of blurred horizons, distorted perspectives and disguised authorities.'
Eda Cufer, dramaturg and founding member of NSK


Marc James Léger This Is Not an Introduction Adrian Piper Political Art and the Paradigm of Innovation Andrea Fraser From the Critique of Institutions to an Institution of Critique David Tomas Dead End, Sophisticated Endgame Strategy, or a Third Way? Institutional Critique's Academic Paradoxes and Their Consequences for the Development of Post-Avant-Garde Practices Catherine Lescarbeau Factures Hal Foster Precarious Laura Mulvey Mary Kelly: An Aesthetic of Temporality Bruce LaBruce Don't Get Your Rosaries in a Bunch Santiago Sierra 300 PEOPLE Derek Horton Richard Kostelanetz and Michael Butterworth in Conversation Christine Wertheim The Poetics of Late Capital: Or, How Might 'Avantgarde' Poetry Be Thought of Today? Lyn Hejinian Avant Garde in Progress: An Allegory Marjorie Perloff The Madness of the Unexpected Wu Ming 2 How to Tell a Revolution from Everything Else Nikolaus Müller-Schöll Poverty of Experience: Performance Practices After the Fall Rabih Mroué Spread Your Legs Judith Malina Political Theatre, Theatrical Politics: Epic Theatre in the 21st Century Moe Angelos The Avant Garde is Present Bill Brown It Was Only Just a Stage The Errorist International Errorist Kabaret Jonas Mekas My Definition of Avant Garde Thomas Elsaesser The Politics and Poetics of Obsolescence Alexander Kluge and Oskar Negt Closer to the Concrete Situations Travis Wilkerson Creative Agitation Evan Mauro The Death and Life of the Avant Garde: Or, Modernism and Biopolitics Mikkel Bolt Rasmussen The Self-Destruction of the Avant Garde Gene Ray Towards a Critical Art Theory John Roberts Revolutionary Pathos, Negation, and the Suspensive Avant Garde Zanny Begg and Dmitry Vilensky On the Possibility of Avant-Garde Compositions in Contemporary Art Owen Hatherley A High- Performance Contemporary Life Process: Parametricism as a Neoliberal Avant Garde Michael Webb Le Devant Garde Mitchell Joachim Hackerspace in Synthetic Biological Design: Education and the Integration of Informal Collaborative Spaces for makers Beatriz Colomina Little Magazines: Small Utopia Boris Groys The Russian Avant Garde Revisited Vitaly Komar Avant Garde, Sots-Art and Conceptual Eclecticism Victor Tupitsyn Factography of Resistance Gregory Sholette and Krzysztof Wodiczko Liberate the Avant Garde? Marc James Léger Refining Our Doublethink: An Interview with Critical Art Ensemble BAVO Why Contemporary Artists Are Not Fascist Enough Alexei Monroe Sponsored by Self-Management? Re-Constructing the Context and Consequences of Laibach's Monumental Retro- Avant-Garde Jean-Hervé Péron Art Is an Error Chris Cutler Thoughts on Music and the Avant Garde: Considerations on a Term and Its Public Use Charles Gaines Manifestos Jason Robinson Playing Regular: The Jazz Avant Garde Sara Marcus Notes on Future Perfect Cosey Fanni Tutti The Avant Garde Subsumed in a Tangled Web Thanos Chrysakis Asunder Ray Kim Cascone The Avant Garde as Aeromancy Marc Couroux Towards Indisposition Thérèse Mastroiacovo Art Now (2005 to present) Chrysi Papaioannou In a Critical Condition Bill Dane Acheter. révolutionnaires d'avant-garde babioles plus vite possible.


Marc James Léger is an Independent Scholar

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