For other uses, see Avant-garde (disambiguation).
The avant-garde (); from French, "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 may be characterized by nontraditional, aesthetic innovation and initial unacceptability, and it may offer a critique of the relationship between producer and consumer.
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. Many artists have aligned themselves with the avant-garde movement and still continue to do so, tracing a history from Dada through the Situationists to postmodern artists such as the Language poets around 1981.[not in citation given]
The avant-garde also promotes radical social reforms. It was this meaning that was evoked by the Saint SimonianOlinde Rodrigues in his essay "L'artiste, le savant et l'industriel" ("The artist, the scientist and the industrialist", 1825), which contains the first recorded use of "avant-garde" in its now customary sense: there, Rodrigues calls 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.
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 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".
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.
Relation to mainstream society
Further information: Mainstream
See also: Media culture and Spectacle (critical theory)
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, 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, which 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). Where Greenberg used the German word kitsch to describe the antithesis of avant-garde culture, members of the Frankfurt School coined the term "mass culture" to indicate 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".
Main article: Avant-garde music
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,Charles Ives,Igor Stravinsky,Anton Webern,George Antheil (in his earliest works only), Alban Berg,Henry Cowell (in his earliest works), Philip Glass, Harry Partch, John Cage, Morton Feldman, Richard Strauss (in his earliest work),Karlheinz Stockhausen,Edgard Varèse, and Iannis Xenakis. Although most avant-garde composers have been men, this is not exclusively the case. Women avant-gardists include Pauline Oliveros, Diamanda Galás, Meredith Monk, and Laurie Anderson.
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."
Main article: Experimental theatre
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.
- Latinoamerican vanguards
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- ^ ab"Avant-garde". Dictionary.com. Lexico Publishing Group, LLC. Retrieved 2007-03-14.
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- ^Matei Calinescu, The Five Faces of Modernity: Modernism, Avant-Garde, Decadence, Kitsch, Postmodernism (Durham: Duke University Press, 1987),[page needed].
- ^Sascha Bru and Gunther Martens, The Invention of Politics in the European Avant-Garde (1906–1940) (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2006), p. 21. ISBN 9042019093.
- ^Renato Poggioli (1968). The Theory of the Avant-Garde. Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. p. 11. ISBN 0-674-88216-4. , translated from the Italian by Gerald Fitzgerald
- ^Peter Bürger (1974). Theorie der Avantgarde. Suhrkamp Verlag. English translation (University of Minnesota Press) 1984: 90.
- ^Benjamin Buchloh, Neo-avantgarde and Culture Industry: Essays on European and American Art from 1955 to 1975 (Cambridge: MIT Press, 2001) ISBN 0-262-02454-3.
- ^James M. Harding: Cutting Performances: Collage Events, Feminist Artists, and the American Avant-Garde (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2010):[page needed].
- ^Greenberg, Clement (Fall 1939). "Avant-Garde and Kitsch". The Partisan Review. Vol. 6 no. 5. pp. 34–49. Retrieved 24 January 2018.
- ^Walter Benjamin, "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction" Archived 5 December 2006 at the Wayback Machine. by[full citation needed]
- ^ abTheodor W. Adorno (1963), "Culture Industry Reconsidered: Selected Essays on Mass Culture", London: Routledge, 1991
- ^Richard Schechner, "The Conservative Avant-Garde." New Literary History 41.4 (Autumn 2010): 895–913.
- ^Calinescu 1987,[page needed]; Bertens 1995.[page needed]
- ^Harold Rosenberg, The De-Definition of Art: Action Art to Pop to Earthworks (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1983), p. 219 ISBN 0-226-72673-8. Originally published: New York: Horizon Press, 1972; reprinted New York: Collier Books, 1973.
- ^George Dickie, ""Symposium on Marxist Aesthetic Thought: Commentary on the Papers by Rudich, San Juan, and Morawski", Arts in Society: Art and Social Experience: Our Changing Outlook on Culture 12, no. 2 (Summer–Fall 1975): p. 232.
- ^David Nicholls (ed.), The Cambridge History of American Music (Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 1998), 122–24. ISBN 0-521-45429-8ISBN 978-0-521-54554-9
- ^ abJim Samson, "Avant garde", The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, second edition, edited by Stanley Sadie and John Tyrrell (London: Macmillan Publishers, 2001).
- ^ abcLarry Sitsky, Music of the Twentieth-Century Avant-Garde: A Biocritical Sourcebook (Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press, 2002), xiv. ISBN 0-313-29689-8.
- ^Larry Sitsky, Music of the Twentieth-Century Avant-Garde: A Biocritical Sourcebook (Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press, 2002), 222. ISBN 0-313-29689-8.
- ^ abLarry Sitsky, Music of the Twentieth-Century Avant-Garde: A Biocritical Sourcebook (Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press, 2002), 50. ISBN 0-313-29689-8.
- ^Larry Sitsky, Music of the Twentieth-Century Avant-Garde: A Biocritical Sourcebook (Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press, 2002), xiii–xiv. ISBN 0-313-29689-8.
- ^Elliot Schwartz, Barney Childs, and James Fox (eds.), Contemporary Composers on Contemporary Music (New York: Da Capo Press, 1998), 379. ISBN 0-306-80819-6
- ^Larry Sitsky, Music of the Twentieth-Century Avant-Garde: A Biocritical Sourcebook (Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press, 2002), xvii. ISBN 0-313-29689-8.
- ^Larry Sitsky, Music of the Twentieth-Century Avant-Garde: A Biocritical Sourcebook (Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press, 2002), xv. ISBN 0-313-29689-8.
- Barron, Stephanie, and Maurice Tuchman. 1980. The Avant-garde in Russia, 1910–1930: New Perspectives: Los Angeles County Museum of Art [and] Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D. C.Los Angeles: Los Angeles County Museum of Art ISBN 0-87587-095-3 (pbk.); Cambridge, MA: Distributed by the MIT PressISBN 0-262-20040-6 (pbk.)
- Bazin, Germain. 1969. The Avant-garde in Painting. New York: Simon and Schuster. ISBN 0-671-20422-X
- Berg, Hubert van den, and Walter Fähnders (eds.). 2009. Metzler Lexikon Avantgarde. Stuttgart: Metzler. ISBN 3-476-01866-0(in German)
- Crane, Diana. 1987. The Transformation of the Avant-garde: The New York Art World, 1940–1985. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. ISBN 0-226-11789-8
- Daly, Selina, and Monica Insinga (eds.). 2013. The European Avant-garde: Text and Image. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars. ISBN 978-1443840545.
- Fernández-Medina, Nicolás, and Maria Truglio (eds.). Modernism and the Avant-garde Body in Spain and Italy. Routledge, 2016.
- Harding, James M., and John Rouse, eds. Not the Other Avant-Garde: The Transnational Foundations of Avant-Garde Performance. University of Michigan, 2006.
- Kostelanetz, Richard, and H. R. Brittain. 2000. A Dictionary of the Avant-Gardes, second edition. New York: Schirmer Books. ISBN 0-02-865379-3. Paperback edition 2001, New York: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-93764-7 (pbk.)
- Kramer, Hilton. 1973. The Age of the Avant-garde; An Art Chronicle of 1956−1972. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux. ISBN 0-374-10238-4
- Léger, Marc James (ed.). 2014. The Idea of the Avant Garde—And What It Means Today. Manchester and New York: Manchester University Press; Oakland: Left Curve. ISBN 9780719096914.
- Maerhofer, John W. 2009. Rethinking the Vanguard: Aesthetic and Political Positions in the Modernist Debate, 1917–1962. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Press. ISBN 1-4438-1135-1
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- Historic Avant-Garde Periodicals for Digital Research, The Blue Mountain Project, Princeton University Library
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Spoofs: the sincerest form of flattery
The phrase “Imitation is the sincerest of flattery”, is credited to Charles Caleb Colton, in Lacon: or, Many things in few words in 1820. Downton Abbey has certainly seen its share of tributes as well as parodies, such as Downton Arby’s, Downton Sixby circulating on the web, and little references finding their way into scripts of other shows. A current favorite circulating around Twitter is from the Office: Jim: “Life is not Downton Abbey“. Pam: “Life ISDownton Abbey“.
When you see life through Edwardian tinted glasses, your world can look a bit more rosey. Take the family cottage for example. I used to call Lord D’s family cottage rustic, but since Downton I have been referring to it in my mind as an Edwardian retreat. A grand summer house on a beautiful lake, with gas lighting/ fueled appliances, and a gorgeous fireplace. In other words, no electricity, running hot water or central heating. Lord D’s father built the place as a retirement home and he and his mother entertained a wide variety of family and friends for a number of years with all the modern conveniences at the time. Like many country houses across England, the cottage ceased to be a permanent home in the years since Lord D’s parents passed.
When Lord D and I first dated I was intrigued by tales of “The Ranch”, a place of great adventures for himself and his sons. As a Fisher Girl who annually goes salmon fishing with my Dad and brothers, I was eager to try my hand at fishing for small mouth bass. So we enjoyed our Edwardian paradise, complete with fishing experience which was a popular pastime of the Edwardian by the way. Sadly it appears that the Crawley’s prefer hunting and shooting as we have yet to see Mary or Edith out on a boat. And with the help of friends and local tradesmen we worked to bring it back to life in the past few years. We even spent the first few days of our married life up at The Ranch sharing the great fishing with my parents who had flown out for the wedding.
But times and priorities change and we are in the process of passing the torch to a lovely couple who, like ourselves, also found love later in life. Family members gathered this past week to pack up memories and to say goodbye. I had only collected a few years of memories, others a lifetime, many of which were shared with fondness. Don`t we all have our little versions of Downton Abbey, a place which holds memories for us which we eventually have to leave behind?
What’s in a Name? Gems, American and English Muffins
Part of the fun of traveling up to the cottage was packing a lunch and snacks for the journey. I will often put together sandwiches and fruit with low fat banana bread or muffins which travels well in the car.
While North Americans love our muffins, they are referred to as gems in the UK, and while muffins in the UK are more like the english muffins we know, they don’t call them that in the UK. It is a bit of a muddle, isn`t it?
Back in the period when baking was done in hearth ovens, it would take a long time to bake a cake, and the final product would often be burned. Muffin tins, also called gem pans, named after The Gem Company which made them popular around the turn of the 20th century, so people started created cakes in tins.
In the UK, a “muffin” is a traditional light-textured roll, round and flat, which is made with yeast dough, while our muffins use baking powder and soda as leavening agents. One way to keep things straight is for us to use the term English Muffins; quite possibly they might refer to our favorite snack on the run “American Muffins”. Either way, both are great. I include my favorite high fiber muffins below. Follow the link to a recipe English Muffins.
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This is a healthy alternative for breakfast on the run. I make them weekly for my commute. Low in fat, high in fiber to fill you up.
Rate this recipe!
This is a healthy alternative for breakfast on the run. I make them weekly for my commute. Low in fat, high in fiber to fill you up.
Servings: large muffins
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees
- Prepare 12 muffin tins with oil or cooking spray
- Place oats in a small bowl, pour in milk.
- Let sit at room temperature until the milk is absorbed into oats ½ -1 hour.
- In a large bowl combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and sugar. Stir in oat/buttermilk mixture, applesauce and eggs, and mix well.
- Add your fruit. I keep frozen berries on hand in my freezer. Blueberries work well, but if you have the mixed variety with larger berries (i.e. strawberries), cut them into smaller pieces. I find that using frozen fruit adds a bit more moisture into the muffins as the fruit thaws while baking.
- Pour into muffin tins. Chef’s tip: use a large 1/3 cup ice cream scoop which is fast, and gives you consistent measurement.
- Bake for 30 - 40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the centre of the muffin comes out clean.
*if you don't happen to have any applesauce, try making a puree from canned peaches or other fruit, preferably unsweetened. I have also substituted with greek yoghurt with a little added milk and they turned out great. Greek yoghurt gives you a dose of protein.