Redefining Art: Avant-Garde Again


Length: 5-7 pages

Due Tuesday, December 3 by 8 pm

Avant-garde art is by definition a challenge to existing norms and values in the art world and in society at large.  In the Sixties, this meant attempts, across broad fronts in many parts of the globe, to undo or overcome received ideas about what constituted an art object or artistic practice and who could participate in the making and consuming of art.  Essentially, the avant-gardes were in the business of decolonization.  Choose a representative work or works from the period and discuss the terms of engagement with these questions.  How does the object articulate its rereading of or opposition to art that comes before?  How does it engage with a larger movement or manifesto and with the larger social or national issues that shape the conditions of its creation?  Who was involved?  What was at stake?  Be specific and cite the relevant arguments from our readings, but also frame your discussion in the larger themes of the seminar.  Be sure to be very concrete in your analyses of the artwork(s).

NB. Your essay should reference at least three of the assigned readings, should include at least two illustrations that are directly addressed in the text, and include a bibliography.

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