The book addresses late-Soviet and post-Soviet art in Armenia in the context of turbulent social, political and cultural transformations in the late 1980s, throughout the 1990s and in early 2000s through the aesthetic figure of the ‘painterly real’ and its conceptual transformations. It explores the emergence of ‘contemporary art’ in Armenia from within and in opposition to the practices, aesthetics and institutions of Socialist Realism and National Modernism. The book presents the argument that avant-garde art best captures the historical and social contradictions of the period of the so-called ‘transition,’ especially if one considers ‘transition’ from the perspective of the former Soviet republics that have been consistently marginalized in Russian- and East European-dominated post-Socialist studies. Throughout the two decades that encompass the chronological scope of this work, contemporary art has encapsulated the difficult dilemmas of autonomy and social participation, innovation and tradition, progressive political ethos and national identification, the problematic of communication with the world outside of Armenia’s borders, dreams of subjective freedom and the imperative to find an identity in the new circumstances after the collapse of the Soviet Union. This historical study outlines the politics (liberal democracy), aesthetics (autonomous art secured by the gesture of the individual artist), and ethics (ideals of absolute freedom and radical individualism) of contemporary art in Armenia. Through the historical investigation, a theory of post-Soviet art historiography is developed, one that is based on a dialectic of rupture and continuity in relation to the Soviet past. As the first English-language study on contemporary art in Armenia, the book is of prime interest for artists, scholars, curators and critics interested in post-Soviet art and culture and in global art historiography.
Engendering an avant-garde: the unsettled landscapes of Vancouver photo-conceptualism is the first book to comprehensively examine the origins of Vancouver photo-conceptualism in its regional context between 1968 and 1990. Employing discourse analysis of texts written by and about artists, feminist critique, and settler colonial theory, the book discusses the historical transition from artists’ creation of ‘defeatured landscapes’ between 1968-1971 to their cinematographic photographs of the late 1970s, and the backlash against such work by other artists in the late 1980s. This book analyses Jeff Wall and Ian Wallace’s strategic framing of their photography as avant-garde, and considers their rejection of the history of regional landscape painting (such as Emily Carr’s work), the rejection of the counter-cultural experiments of their peers, and the integration of feminist challenges to figurative representation into their work. It is the first study to provide a structural accounting for why the group remains all-male. It accomplishes this by demonstrating that the importation of a European discourse of avant-garde activity, which assumed masculine social privilege and public activity, effectively excluded women artists from membership. In doing so, it intervenes in formalist art critics’ validation of the technical innovation of the Vancouver School as a universal phenomenon of global importance by revealing the social exclusions that empowered it in the past and continue to invest it with authority. This book will appeal to scholars and students interested in Canadian art history, photography, the history of the avant-garde, and the role visual culture plays in establishing and maintaining control over discursive and physical territories.
Realism, socialist realism and China’s
avant-garde: a historical perspective
In January 1993 a large exhibition entitled ‘China’s New Art, Post-1989’, consisting of 150 works from some of the most important contemporary artists in
mainland China, opened as the showcase of the Hong Kong Arts Festival. One
of the chief curators of the exhibition, Chang Tsong-zung (Johnson Chang),
was based in Hong Kong and played a key role in establishing the international
image of contemporary Chinese art.1 Chang created the exhibition with the
aim of elucidating the
Futurist canons and the development of
avant-garde historiography (Futurism–
Maria Elena Versari
Maria Elena Versari
In 1921, Marc Bloch published an essay entitled ‘Reflections of an historian
on the fake news under the war’, in which he justified his interest in that
somewhat unusual subject: ‘Our ancestors did not quibble over these sorts
of things, they rejected error, when they recognised it as such, and they
were not concerned about its repercussions. That’s why the information
they left us doesn’t allow us to
The principal motifs and the continuing relevance of the work of Test Dept are addressed in the introduction by Monroe, who argues against monumental historicism and suggests that avant-garde breakouts in sonic and artistic innovation create their own utopian constellations. This approach allows Test Dept to be discussed both in relation to those ontogenetic peers who worked contemporaneously to them – Cabaret Voltaire, Throbbing Gristle, SPK, Einstürzende Neubauten, 23 Skidoo, This Heat, Art Deco, Laibach – but also in
Watching the red dawn charts the responses of the American avant-garde to the cultural works of its Soviet counterpart in period from the formation of the USSR in 1922 to recognition of this new communist nation by USA in 1933. In this period American artists, writers, and designers looked at the emerging Soviet Union with fascination, as they observed this epochal experiment in communism develop out of the chaos of the Russian Revolution and Civil War. They organised exhibitions of Soviet art and culture, reported on visits to Russia in books and articles, and produced works that were inspired by post-revolutionary culture. One of the most important innovations of Soviet culture was to collapse boundaries between disciplines, as part of a general aim to bring art into everyday life. Correspondingly, this book takes an interdisciplinary approach by looking at American avant-garde responses to Soviet culture across several media, including architecture, theatre, film, photography, and literature. As such, Watching the red dawn considers the putative area of ‘American Constructivism’ by examining the interconnected ways in which Constructivist works were influential upon American practices.
The avant garde is dead, or so the story goes for many leftists and capitalists alike. But so is postmodernism an outmoded paradigm in these times of neoliberal austerity, neocolonial militarism and ecological crisis. Rejecting ‘end of ideology’ post-politics, Vanguardia delves into the changing praxis of socially engaged art and theory in the age of the Capitalocene. Reflecting on the major events of the last decade, from anti-globalisation protest, Occupy Wall Street, the Maple Spring, Strike Debt and the Anthropocene, to the Black Lives Matter and MeToo campaigns, Vanguardia puts forward a radical leftist commitment to the revolutionary consciousness of avant-garde art and politics.
In 1909, the Italian poet Filippo Tommaso Marinetti's Founding Manifesto of Futurism was published on the front page of Le Figaro. Between 1909 and 1912, the Futurists published works celebrating speed and danger, glorifying war and technology, and advocating political and artistic revolution. In Europe, this avant-garde movement was active in the field of painting and sculpture, theatre, photography and politics. This book reassesses the activities and legacies of Futurism. It looks at Futurist manifestos by linking techniques of promotion with practices in commercial advertising, and exploring the question of how Futurist manifestos address notions of genius and gender. The book also reconstructs the historical, cultural and ideological background of Marinetti's Manifesto del tattilismo. Zurich Dadaists adopted cultural stances heavily indebted to the terms of critical engagement and cultural visibility initiated within the Futurist circle. The book analyses avant-garde's examination of its internal strategies of identity and canonization, and the importance of Futurism for the Pierre Albert-Birot. It charts the details of the argument on simultaneity between Umberto Boccioni and Robert Delaunay, and analyses the critical readings of Fernand Léger's La noce. The dialogue between Occultism and Futurism is explored by discussing the theme of night in the works of the Florentine Futurists. In La cucina futurista, food is separated from its nutritional function, and the act of eating is related to notions of creativity and identity. The book presents unique examples of innovative expressivity in Italian Futurists' free-word poems, and examines poetry celebrating the triumph of modern aviation.
Mixed Messages presents and interrogates ten distinct moments from the arts of nineteenth, twentieth and twenty-first century America where visual and verbal forms blend and clash. Charting correspondences concerned with the expression and meaning of human experience, this volume moves beyond standard interdisciplinary theoretical approaches to consider the written and visual artwork in embodied, cognitive, and contextual terms. Offering a genuinely interdisciplinary contribution to the intersecting fields of art history, avant-garde studies, word-image relations, and literary studies, Mixed Messages takes in architecture, notebooks, poetry, painting, conceptual art, contemporary art, comic books, photographs and installations, ending with a speculative conclusion on the role of the body in the experience of digital mixed media. Each of the ten case studies explores the juxtaposition of visual and verbal forms in a manner that moves away from treating verbal and visual symbols as operating in binary or oppositional systems, and towards a consideration of mixed media, multi-media and intermedia work as brought together in acts of creation, exhibition, reading, viewing, and immersion. The collection advances research into embodiment theory, affect, pragmatist aesthetics, as well as into the continuing legacy of romanticism and of dada, conceptual art and surrealism in an American context.