A labored avant-garde, hack mediocrity, tired formula and mixing the sauce on old recipes resulting in a living fabric of life being transposed into a theatrical event? Its possible the avant garde today is decoration catering to mediocre tastes much as Salon art was in the nineteenth-century. Picasso, in a famous expression of negativism and nihilism, called his art a “sum of destructions” in the same way Salon art destroyed beauty by crowding it out with kitsch.
In the early days, the Kandinky’s and Malevich’s were looking at a reinvention of man in the mechanical age; an industrial man emancipated from the prison of sentimentality and cultural baggage and who accepted a role as a cog in the machine. A subversion and transgression through an over the top identification with scientific rationalism. Cubism, the death of the figurative and getting to the ideological core of finding the beauty in the mechanical. Anti-psycholization. A two sided sword which was the dark side of liberal individualism and liberating phenomenon of utopian dimensions.
But maybe the whole avant-garde was a scam, just a carving out of new conventions; tried themes in new packages, and that the entire art industry are simply the paratroopers of capitalism …Donald Kuspit ( see link at end): According to the French dealer Jean-Louis Picard, the ironical beginning of the end of avant-garde art was Pop art, which, in the words of Peter Watson, seems to take us back to “the popular art of the 19th century … perhaps reviving the wrong part of the 19th century, when artists earned enormous amounts of money in their lifetimes, but did not produce lasting work….
Could it be that Warhol, Schnabel and Beuys are the Bonheur, Meissonier and Landseer of our day?” What Marshall Berman wrote about the Russian revolution seems equally true of the avant-garde revolution: “A century later, we can see how the business of promoting revolution is open to the same abuses and temptations, manipulative frauds and wishful self-deceptions, as any other promotional line.” Read More:http://www.artnet.com/magazine/features/kuspit/kuspit9-15-99.asp
Conclusion: can art be a radical cultural agent?
Sadie Plant (1992) describes “Dada’s central dilemma: how was it possible to stand free of the despised values and structures whilst at the same time remaining sufficiently engaged to make some difference to them?”.
Nearly a century after Dada, this question remains unanswered, and perhaps unanswerable….
Peter Burger makes the same point on the avant-garde (1974): “An art no longer distinct from the praxis of life but wholly absorbed by it will lose the capacity to criticize it”. And, crucially he concludes by implicitly concurring with Rancière, asking “whether the distance between art and the praxis of life is not requisite for that free space within which alternatives to what exists become conceivable.”Read More:http://drosier.wordpress.com/2011/01/17/on-avant-garde-art-in-the-age-of-cultural-capitalism/