New Meanings of the Avant-Garde: Scouting Grows Up

By Alan Garfield.

Published by The Arts Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The priority of radical revolutionary art, revolutionary politics, and revolutionary social thinking, all encompassed in the very term “avant-garde” is a contemporary non-sequitur. Whatever lofty direction Fourierist critic Laverdant saw in 1845 as a vanguard against the forces of wholistic conservativism, seems about as appropriate today as that romantic notion of arts-for-arts sake. Where is the idea of the artist as an outcast from society, rejected and misunderstood by a philistine, bourgeois social, economic, religious and technological order? Artist as martyr might surely exist, at least in the artist’s mind, but the artist as éclaireur (scout - as in ‘scouting out a path to the future’); this is a notion more fit for history books or the persuasive hawking of an art dealer. is the modern artist participating in that artistically, politically, and socially progressive notion of avant-garde? Or is this just a welcome to the new rear-garde?

Keywords: Avant-garde, Radical Politics, Courbet, Documenta, Modern Art, Saint-simon, Fourier

International Journal of the Arts in Society, Volume 3, Issue 1, pp.163-180. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 4.437MB).

Prof. Alan Garfield

Chair, Computer Graphics and Interactive Media, University of Dubuque, Dubuque, Iowa, USA

Alan Garfield has over 25 years full time experience in various facets of university level teaching and administration in the areas of computer graphics, fine arts, and multimedia. His work in and out of the classroom has focused on integrating technology with industry in the areas of: web design, product development and deployment, HTML, Java, JavaScript, inter/intra applications, 2D graphics and paint systems, 3D animation for web and video output, computer-based training (CBT), authoring and interface design in multimedia, distance learning, and support issues in technology. Current work focuses on the Electronic Patient Record for web-enabled healthcare in the EU with Donegal Medical Systems. That said, his latest CV entry refers to putting in a toilet in his Irish house.

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