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Page history last edited by PBworks 16 years, 6 months ago

Stream of conciousness writing fall 2007 by Ian McCall


I've been trying to figure out what the avant-garde is now. We always talk about it in the past-tense, which makes sense from an art historical sense, in order to really pinpoint the avant-garde you have to have a timeline to look at to see the whole progression which Carma Gorman suggests goes from being seen as aweful/not art then in 10-15 years being asymilated into mainstream art and media and then in 50 or so years becoming part of the gradeschool art curriculum (think synthetic cubist collage, mobiles). In this sense see the avant-garde for what it is before it has ceased to be that takes a sort of visionary quality that perhaps, I suppose, only those artists who themselves are doing the avant-garde work are capable of seeing. But this doesn't take away from the yearning to be doing, or even just aware of, something that is new and exciting in the way that you hear about past avant-garde art being.


I think part of the problem is that avant-garde must be so much more than unpopular, it has to be good, it has to have some essential quality to it which did not exist before but that once it has become accepted is useful and applicable to the medium of the original avant-garde work and to other media as well. I can think of contemporary pieces that were contraversial like pisschrist or the cartoons of Muhammed, but they are both well within their genres artisticall drawing on subject to incite.


The only real convincing arguement I've seen, in the visual arts, for a contemporary avant-garde is street art/grafitti as characterized by banksy, but even that has already begun thetransition into the mainstream visual vocabulary, it also suffers from an uncertainty about what exactly about it people are objecting to, whether it is an aesthetic and artistic objection or an objection to the manifestation of the work as an act of vandalism.

The internet would seem to present a ripe field for the new avant-garde but it's problem is that as a medium it has been embraced fairly rapidly by both comsumer and popular culture.


Perhaps the problem then is one of timeframes, perhaps the new avant-garde is not something that can be tracked in the same way as one can trace renaissance influence spreading across europe or by having an unwitting American audience suddenly exposed to an explosion of futuro-cubist art at the Armory show. It's a nice thought, to think 'yes we have reached the end, there will be no more paradigm shifts only gradual change from now on' but I can't really let myself think that.


I think part of the problem is that I don't see as much rejection in the art community, maybe I am just not looking in the right places, or listening to the right people, but there seems to be a contemporary ecclecticism that accepts art of all flavors and directions, and while nice is nice, without antagonism I worry that people will not be pushed into new things. The Avant-garde must in part at least be a rejection of the old and if the old artists are fine with the new art then what is there to reject?


Anyway, the point is: if anyone knows of artist making art that lots of people hate or don't consider 'Art' let me know.





I've been trying to concete-ize my take on new media, which I think is more accurately something like medialess or multimedia in the sense that it exists across media and removed from the essential nature of the medium it manifests through. I don't have anything against meatspace art and art objects, but it all seems so limiting to me to make one thing and have it be just that one thing forever versus creating a thing that can be copied into millions of things taken by other people and used and changed into millions more. I think it is a central responsibility of an artist to share what they make with the world and there is a level of mediation which most artists feel they need in doing so, but I feel like at a certain point it stops being mediation and become obstruction like they are hording the meaning they have found and trying to keep it to themselves or to some elite group. If art that I make does not preserve its meaning regardless of whether it is on the internet, printed out, on tv, chiseled into stone I think it does not really achieve what I wanted to, as an artist I certainly mediate and can present things primarily through a medium of my choice but I don't think that once I have put something out there I have a right to take it back or to dictate how or what people do to it.

[edit] I think the term I was looking for was no media [/]

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