HISTART 489-001

Special Topics: The Avant-Gardes and Their Legacies Today

180 Tappan
T 10:00 - 1:00pm
3 Credit Lecture

Art today is in many ways shaped by the legacy of the avant-gardes. The avant-gardes arise after the devastations of the First World War and aim to link artistic experimentation (already a hallmark of modernism) to a utopian commitment to bring about a radically new, and better world, in other words to politics. In order to achieve these goals the avant-gardes to formulate themselves into movements of political solidarity, and they rely on the force of the manifesto, a combination of theory and aesthetics with a high dose of poetry, to empower their experiments with what they believe is political force. We will explore the rise and practice of the avant-gardes in detail, including their gravitation to new media and their aims of consciousness raising—visual, cognitive and political. And we will continue on to study the legacies of the avant-gardes in post-World War II artistic practice: the American interest in identity politics framed as the critique of representation, the desire to raise Europe like Lazarus from its World War II death and ruination, the politics of new media, and the many other ways art today is the result of the avant-gardes.

Estimated cost of materials: $50-$100.

HISTART Concentration Distributions: 4. Modern and Contemporary, D. Europe and the U.S