The Avant Garde was Wrong?
Taught By: Margot Bouman
What was the avant-garde? Renato Poggioli traces the term’s inception to the writings of the Fourierist Gabriel-Désiré Laverdant, who views art’s role on behalf of culture at large as “the expression of society…in its highest soaring, … [as] the forerunner and the revealer. Therefore, to know whether art worthily fulfils its proper mission as initiator, whether the artist is truly of the avant-garde, one must know where Humanity is going” (1845). At the time, an unparalleled set of challenges and upheavals in the biological and physical science, politics, philosophy, technology and psychology was getting underway. The avant-garde arises out of this ferment, and is easily recognized for its powerful, often contradictory sense of cultural expectations, its readiness for new ideas and new forms. “Culture,” in the broadest, social sense places new expectations on “culture,” in the aesthetic sense. The promise of the avant-garde needs to be conceived of as a force that always positions itself on a mobile, leading edge. To propose an avant-garde is to thus occupy a position that must be temporary, and prone to be overtaken as soon as it is marked out. This course will consider the historical promises and failures of the avant-garde as a cultural movement in the narrow sense, which is dedicated to radical opposition and therefore, to any stabilized sense of culture or of history.
College: Parsons School of Design (PS)
Department: Art/Design Hist & Theory (PGHT)
Campus: New York City (GV)
Course Format: Seminar (R)
Max Enrollment: 15
Enrollment Status: Open*
*Enrollment status information is updated every five minutes. The status of this course may have changed since the last update. Open seats may have restrictions that will prevent some students from registering. Updated: 8:31pm 9/22/2019