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Minor edit[edit]

Simply copy-editing suggestion: The transition between avant-garde jazz and Duchamp in the opening section needs work. "For instance" doesn't have a referent. Perhaps the paragraph on Duchamp should start with something like, "What constitutes avant-garde art is continuously changing, as shocking gestures quickly become accepted traditions." Dan3t (talk) 14:34, 18 November 2007 (UTC)


'the avant-garde of the ruling working class' was a platitude of the Communist parties and their nations in Eastern europe, and remains to this day a Leninist theory of the 'vanguard party'. Should this article mention this? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:12, 23 September 2008 (UTC)

Page move[edit]

The picture is not actually Marcel Duchamp's famous work - it appears to be an imitation. Maybe somebody photoshopped out Duchamp's signature! The real work contains the signature "R. Mutt" painted in black on the bottom left of the work, as can be seen in these photographs of the original: [1][2] You might want to see if you can find a photograph of the actual work, which we have permission to reproduce, for the sake of authenticity. unsigned by: User: 07:45, May 27, 2004 (UTC)

Page move[edit]

The page was originally called 'Avant garde' (Also sometimes referred as 'Avant-Grade'), and the first sentence told us that it was actually written 'avant-garde'; the rest of the article spelt it as 'avant garde'... I've made the whole thing consistent, removed any double redirects, and I'm correcting internal links in other articles. Mel Etitis (Μελ Ετητης) 12:58, 18 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Expanded version of "avant-garde"[edit]

I'm new to Wiki but this article caught my eye. I've drafted a revision expanding and (in some cases) correcting the original. I'm hesitant to post it yet. Perhaps someone will look it over and respond. unsigned by: User:PBishopfl 07:25, July 24, 2005 (UTC)

Looks fine here, except that it is much better NPOV style to avoid adjectives like "boldly" in describing people, and statements such as "But modernism accelerated the disaffection of Western artists from society and a wider public." because it isn't a slam dunk everyoen believes it kind of thing. Better to cite which person or school of thought believes this and argues that avante-gardims is part of that alienation. Happy editting Stirling Newberry 15:18, 24 July 2005 (UTC)

Criticism of avant-garde from comic strips[edit]

I removed that part. It would be nice to have some substantiate criticism, but i dont't think that some Calvin & Hobbes meet the requirements. --Zinnmann 12:52, 3 September 2005 (UTC)


Minor edit, changed john Zorn to American Musician, he's certainly better known for this.Felix-felix 21:28, 11 January 2006 (UTC)

avante garde music...

it says "Thus avant-garde in music refers to an extreme form of musical improvisation in which little or no regard is given by soloists to any underlying chord structure or rhythm."

thats Quite close minded, first of all, perhaps somewhat applicable in free jazz, the ornette colemen double quartet, perhaps, but even things like "free jazz" have underlying structure and form, it just isn't the usual or accepted "norm"al one, so to speak.

"avant-garde in music" MUSIC constitutes a lot more than just jazz. avante garde in music can refer to many things, depending how you look at it. the serial works of pierre boulez, milton babbit, or Anything that has been at the "envelope-pushing" forefront. it would be much more effective to say that avante garde in music refers to the music of Pierre Boulez and John Cage. Their techniques (mid 20th century) included total serialism and aletory, or music which has many of its dimensions determined by often non-musical processes not previously used in such manner. 03:48, 21 May 2006 (UTC)

relevance section and the notion of provocation[edit]

The Relevance section is problematical for me. It is bias to say that art would "stagnate and become ... merely craft" "repeating the same style over and over." This is an avant gardist claim and it is not authoritative to present this as its empirical relevance. The statement implies that art was stagnant and limited to craft in the centuries preceding the advent of the avant-garde.

Also I think it should be mentioned and elaborated on somewhere in the article, that the avant-garde often assumes a provocative posture and that many avant-garde artists are devoted provocateurs.

-jason d.

what advent of the avant-garde are you referring to? as far as i know what is avant-garde was not a movement that happened at a particular time, but what is avant-garde is and always has been... art is always evolving, it has never remained stagnate. what that part of the article states is rather simple and straightforward - without pushing the boundaries, innovation, without the avant-garde, art would remain stagnate.

Avant-garde musicians[edit]

Almost none of the musicians listed could, or should, ever be described as avant-garde. The 'They Might Be Giants' entry almost had me in stiches. This really ought to be edited, quickly.

- A. P. Boland

I'm thinking the whole section should be deleted. Basically, the article defines avant-garde as synonymous with different, and then people get to add artists, mostly musicians, they think are different. Yeah, I really hope the inclusion of TMBG is a joke, and I'm going to delete it. But do Les Claypool, Kate Bush, and Bjork belong any more than they do? If we define something as pushing "...the boundaries of what is accepted as the norm within definitions of art/culture/reality." then people will include artists they think are important and novel, no matter how mediocre they sound to the rest of us. We need a better system for inclusion, or we should delete the whole thing. Atripodi 10:11, 22 August 2006 (UTC)

Within the field of the arts, by definition there are no 'norms' to begin with, so definition of avant-garde will be especially problematic here. The issue is really of semantics, not musical tastes (talk) 09:57, 8 August 2012 (UTC)

John Zorn, The Residents, Lou Reed, Laurie Anderson, Mike Patton, Captain Beefheart, and those guys are avant-garde. Progressive rock isn't. You could make a persuasive argument for exceptions like "In the Court of the Crimson King" and "The Lamb Lies down on Broadway," but that kind of detail is tedious. I'm going to remove a few prog rockers. Joseph N Hall 07:08, 19 September 2006 (UTC)

I agree with the above, but I still contend that without some criteria for deciding what exactly qualifies. Otherwise we'll be fighting a losing battle with a slew of Radiohead and Yes fans. The key to a solid set of criteria is having the article itself be worth a damn, i.e. defining the term and putting it in an historical context. Without a good article, the examples are meaningless.Atripodi 12:47, 28 September 2006 (UTC)

>>I have no problem at all with the inclusion of Bjork. tmbg does not belong. But Bjork does have a sustained and rigorous modernism and has been a musical vanguard, albeit pop. She has worked with Lars Von Tier, a premier vanguard filmmaker of our time, if not an avant-gardist. She has also had a child with acclaimed artist Matthew Barney, which does not affect her classification, but does suggest a distinction between her and what you dismissively term Progressive Rock. I think the advent of pop has opened up the floodgates for a watered down novelty/psuedo-dynamism/exploito-progressivism. but the origin of "avant-garde" as a vital term historically precedes that of pop/rock etc. The moniker was not created as a distinction from such cultures as Prog rock because prog rock did not exist. There is a conscious and disciplined evocation of avant-garde aesthetics and values in some popular music. So I think you can still be objective AND inclusive. It looks like Bjork has been deleted. I'm not passionate either way. But the list is really secondary in importance to the article, which is lacking. It definitely needs to be fleshed out and maybe have more section headings. For example the section titled "examples" mentions only music and grafitti. This is absurd since the term's origin and primary relevance is to the plastic arts, and typically it is executed with discipline. Maybe there could be an additional section for "Aspects of Avant-Garde Works" which is more specific than "cutting edge" and "boundary pushing".

I'd be thinking more R. Murray Schaeffer, Gyorgy Ligeti, Luciano Berio, Karlheinz Stockhausen...self-identified Avant-Gardists pushing ahead in a continuing tradition of art music... 08:13, 29 May 2007 (UTC)

I don't mind if there's progressive rock, but when there's Musique concrète examples and some "noise" music, why isn't Avant-progressive rock mentioned? Yes, it is a subgenre of progressive rock, but i so can be noise music and free jazz. Avant-prog is generally thought as the same thing, avant-garde music... Dynamic Progressive Turbulence Creator (talk) 20:44, 27 April 2008 (UTC)

I think Bertold Brecht should be included in the list. Maybe the list should be reviewed for more historical and relevant examples. Lilith. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:28, 15 June 2008 (UTC)


Actually I think the List of avant-garde artists should be returned to the article's main body. Currently it resides rather pointlessly, obscurely and somewhat disembodied in see also, what's the point? Modernist 21:33, 24 May 2007 (UTC)

Because it's an unverified "my favorite..." magnet. This is why WP has lists. There is no way to keep the list in check, hence it dwarfs the article. If you're looking for a project you could add verification and sources to the list, of which it currently has none. Deiz talk 23:43, 24 May 2007 (UTC)
Deiz, Thank you for your response. I'm pretty busy these days, and I'm not looking for another project. I understand what you mean by the growing list being unmanageable, I've seen more then a few of them. Although that one actually wasn't too bad...yet, no red ink, and I don't remember any glaring misfits. Modernist 01:48, 25 May 2007 (UTC)
Appreciated.. I do take the view that when these things threaten to become unmanageable they need to be listified. People reading the article will easily be able to navigate around different sub-styles and artists with just a couple of mouse clicks. The lack of context and sourcing was also a problem, and articles that reference fairly major topics such as this should be verified. Deiz talk 02:04, 25 May 2007 (UTC)

The "Relevance" section[edit]

In the 'Relevance' section, how can Avant-Garde movements be interested in the survival of art through diversity when most are considered anti-art movements that mock the established system of fine-arts and especially the division of art and life? 18:11, 7 June 2007 (UTC)

It's a good question. I don't think it is correct to say that Avant-garde movements are interested in the survival of art. As I'm sure you're aware a lot of activity in art involves challenging art, in some way. But I don't think that which mocks established art (anti-art movements) does so in totality. Isn't its aim to undermine selectively? Anti-art is not anti all art and everything about art. I think it could be said that good anti-art both endorses and undermines art. It chooses selectively what to undermine and what to endorse. As far as the division between art and life thing, I almost can't comprehend that. I personally have little grasp of the much ballyhooed invisible line between art and life. But I'm sure there are others who feel otherwise about this issue. I will entertain this idea but I can't honestly say I really accept it. Bus stop 18:46, 7 June 2007 (UTC)

More dichotomy required...[edit]

I think the article needs much more of an appraisal of the dual approach of the avant-garde, on the one hand a left-wing political notion associated with -initially - Parisian revolutionary politics (Saint Simon, Courbet, 1848, Paris Commune), and on the other the challenge to technical orthodoxies through e.g. (in art-history at least) paint application and a move towards form over subject.

Depends really on how much we take avant-garde as art-history and how much as e.g. music, architecture, theatre, dance.

Should the article have sub-headings for these categories? I could write a sample for the art-history element. Would there we a way on wikipedia to post it for appraisal without overwriting the main article, or is that why history is kept? ;-)


-- 09:32, 29 June 2007 (UTC)

Issue of "Postmodernism" oversimplified[edit]

It is by no means clear that everybody agrees that postmodernism and the avant-garde are mutually exclusive beasts. (E.g., Duchamp seems a typical pomo artist, yet also seems to fit some accepted notions of the avant-garde.) Nor is "Postmodernism" a person; hence it cannot "posit" anything"! We should not personify what actually amounts to an extremely complex and highly contested set of historical/aesthetic/socio-economic phenomena!! Advocate removing *any* reference to postmodernism, at least at the opening, as it does not clarify the issues at hand but instead muddies them right off the bat.

I completely agree - that jarred with me too.

Amazingtessa (talk) 23:46, 7 January 2008 (UTC)

Origin of application to art[edit]

"The origin of the application of this French term to art is still debated. Some fix it on May 17, 1863, the opening of the Salon des Refusés in Paris, organised by painters whose work was rejected for the annual Paris Salon of officially sanctioned academic art. Salons des Refusés were held in 1863, 1874, 1875, and 1886."

The application of "avant-garde" to artists dates to Saint-Simon's first use of the term in the 1820's. It was a fairly commonplace idea in French thought through the 1840's. See Linda Nochlin, "The Invention of the Avant-garde: France, 1830-80," The Avant-Garde, ed. Thomas B. Hess and John Ashberry, 1968.

The 1863 Salon des Refuses is relevant in this context but not as origin of the term. The 1863 exhibition of rejects was not organized by painters but rather sanctioned by Napoleon III. The dates of subsequent Salons des Refuses are irrelevant. Pebish 11:18, 27 August 2007 (UTC)

Notably missing is a mention of the strong links between avant garde and fascism in Italy and France. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:46, 8 November 2007 (UTC)

Major edit[edit]

I have a big problem with the bio of this article. "The notion of the existence of the avant-garde is considered by some to be a hallmark of modernism, as distinct from postmodernism. Postmodernism posits that the age of the constant pushing of boundaries is no longer with us and that avant-garde has little to no applicability in the age of Postmodern art." This isn't true at all. Most artists that are referred to as "postmodern" align themselves with the avant-garde. Please see the L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E writers as an example of one of many groups. This bio is bogus and those two sentences need to be removed to give this article any kind of credibility.

Do you have any sources? "Most artists" is a bit general. The original info is true to a certain extent anyway. I have restored the edit for now. freshacconcispeaktome 13:10, 9 January 2008 (UTC)
Unless Modernist beats me to it! freshacconcispeaktome 13:12, 9 January 2008 (UTC)


Does anyone else think that Cyberpunk ought to be removed from the list of avant-garde art movments? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:09, 28 March 2008 (UTC)

I just removed it. Been doing some work on the cyberpunk article, and nothing there calls it avant garde. If re-added here, it needs a cite, cos the article doesn't support it.Yobmod (talk) 16:18, 29 January 2009 (UTC)

Regarding edit of music-section[edit]

[3] "[...] very generally, avant-garde music can be viewed as occupying an extreme position within the tradition, while experimental music lies outside it." - David Nicholls

Regarding John Cage: [4] So even though some of his work is avant-garde, 4'33" isn't. It's experimental and is already used and referenced in the article for experimental music. (talk) 23:51, 10 May 2008 (UTC)

A challenge[edit]

Feb. 22, 2009

Marcel Duchamp makes This is not a urinal of 1917 obscene by the title, as people clearly see. People may not clearly see that the image itself is laced with obscenity; but I want to explain why I am sending the title into the oblivion of page histories. Such profane material has to be left to the pornography sections; I will send the title there for now. I haven't yet checked who insisted that it be returned to shock the public, but I deleted it before. Let that editor speak.Dsnow75 [[User Talk: Dsnow75|Talk]] (talk)

To answer your challenge, If I can find it, I will put it back in the article. There is nothing obscene or pornographic about the title, or the work. This is a trick-question, right? (talk) 20:54, 12 July 2013 (UTC)
Checking the edit history for the period of late February 2009 (when the above comment was posted), it appears this was the work of a disruptive editor, many times reverted, in an attempt to sabotage the photograph of Duchamp's Fountain (1917) and its caption. The image is still in the article, so you need not waste time finding and restoring it.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 23:56, 13 July 2013 (UTC)

Avant garde music claim in lede[edit]

I removed the following from the lede and bring it here for discussion.

However, this is not true in the case of music as many pieces are still being released which are generally considered avant-garde in popular culture.<ref>{{cite web|url=|title=avant-garde tag - Music at| Ltd.|accessdate=2008-06-29}}</ref>

This is not a well-written sentence, and though the claim being made might be true, the reference provided is not nearly adequate. After all, anyone can tag a piece of music as "avant-garde," and that does not mean much. ---RepublicanJacobiteThe'FortyFive' 23:27, 27 July 2009 (UTC)

Avant-garde magazines[edit]

I removed the following and bring it here for discussion. First, I would like to know why these particular magazines are highlighted. Is it only because they happen to be in this special collection at NYU? Furthermore, of what value are these links to said collection? This gives me bibliographic information, but nothing of the substance of the magazines, so that I might judge for myself their value, or the degree to which they are avant-garde. The initial link, used as a reference, no longer works. No, I think this is an arbitrary listing of magazines, and until there is some explanation of why these were chosen, and how they are notable, this should remain out. ---RepublicanJacobiteThe'FortyFive' 04:58, 18 May 2010 (UTC)

Many New York based magazines featured avant garde themes. Examples of these kinds of magazines are listed below.<ref>[ New York University] The Avant Garde Collection at Fales Library, NYU</ref>

Pro-Avant-garde Bias[edit]

The section on Avant-garde and mainstream society reads like it was written by a self-proclaimed avant-garde artist. There is an important line to draw between what independent, reliable sources say and what the author believes. Sentences such as "Despite the central arguments of Greenberg, Adorno and others, "avant-garde" has been appropriated and misapplied by various sectors of the culture industry since the 1960s, chiefly as a marketing tool to publicise popular music and commercial cinema" should be carefully attributed (preferably quoted) and balanced with opposing views given due weight, if not removed completely.

Similarly, any assertion about "true art" or "style without substance" is clear POV. Neutral phrasing should be adopted (persons XYZ say it isn't true art for reasons XYZ, while persons ABC have counterarguments ABC, etc) and each viewpoint should be given due weight. (talk) 00:59, 18 November 2011 (UTC)

As far as I can tell, all the assertions in that section are sourced, not the opinions of editors. So, I'd say there is no POV concern here. ---RepublicanJacobiteTheFortyFive 03:58, 18 November 2011 (UTC)

Las Vegas vis-a-vis Avant-garde and mainstream society[edit]

Just a quick observation. While I accept the theory that true avant-garde is a rejection of mainstream and capitalist values, the city of Las Vegas is an interesting counterpoint. Since its soul is 100% profit motive, for many years it was rejected by architects as artists. As the city became successful and drew more and more people, including architects, it became clear that Las Vegas architecture was in many ways far advanced in creating art (architecture). Finally an opus book "Learning From Las Vegas" by Robert Venturi et. al. pointing out how contemporary architecture could benefit from studying what had evolved in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The only point is that while being manifestly and unabashedly capitalistic, Las Vegas also was from birth more avant-garde than anyone imagined, at its height of creativity to be eaten, consumed by capitalism, its true parent. Where it had been avant-garde for a long time, wild and free, it got neutered and mainstreamed. Ironically it was the serious attention from true artists, that tore off its protective veil of kitsch. It occurs to me that to not be taken seriously gives the best protection of all from criticism or worse. The court jester usually gets to keep his head no matter what he says. Mea (talk) 03:09, 27 February 2013 (UTC) Mea (talk) 03:21, 28 February 2013 (UTC) Mea (talk) 03:21, 28 February 2013 (UTC)

Contradictions in music section[edit]

Rather than cluttering the text with redundant tags, which do nothing to serve the reader, would it be better to supply some explanation as to why Schoenberg and Webern are considered avant-garde by countless reliable sources, and considered not-avant-garde by some others? I could attempt a hack job of this myself, but I hope someone with more expertise will have a go. I note that Sitsky's Music of the Twentieth-Century Avant-Garde: A Biocritical Sourcebook mentions Webern on 65 pages and includes a chapter titled "Anton Webern". The chapter on Alban Berg states that the composers of the Second Viennese School "were generally accepted—at least from 1909 to 1939—as the avant-garde". (p. 50) All of this makes a pretty good case for terming Webern avant-garde. If some sources deny him that status, an explanation would be useful. Ewulp (talk) 02:15, 15 July 2013 (UTC)

You might take a closer look at Sitsky's preface, specifically pp. xiii–xv, where he makes plain why he believes it is inaccurate to regard Schoenberg, Webern, or Stravinsky as avant-gardists, except possibly in some of their earlier works. He says the same about Richard Strauss. As usual, the problem has to do with over-simplification and pigeon-holing, which is a fundamental problem with the entire paragraph in this article under discussion here. This problem is amplified in the article Avant-garde music, where it becomes quickly clear that there are at least three mutually exclusive definitions of what avant-garde music actually is. Sitsky at least has the merit of trying to discriminate between modernism and avant-garde, though I'm sure it would not be difficult to find sources classifying just about anybody as both "avant garde", and "not avant garde". As one example, John Cage is solidly avant-garde according to Sitsky, but absolutely not avant garde according to Michael Nyman. Shall we introduce this contradiction as well?—Jerome Kohl (talk) 03:49, 15 July 2013 (UTC)
Exactly; likewise Ravel, Sibelius, and many others. Sitsky is a sterling source but cannot be the sole arbiter; certainly the consensus opinion of the composers' contemporaries also deserves note. The solution would seem to be to replace the bare list with some well-sourced discussion of which expert defines which composers as avant-garde, and when, and why. Ewulp (talk) 05:04, 15 July 2013 (UTC)
I couldn't agree more. One thing to keep in mind about the Sitsky book, however, is that it is an edited collection of short articles by a large number of authors. As a result, there may easily be contradictions within this one source, and Sitsky himself points to Nyman's contrary opinion about Cage, in a footnote to his introduction. The first step is, obviously, to clearly state that definitions vary widely, and may often contradict one another. The second step is to set forth the several different definitions (and perhaps some non-definitions, of the sort where the author points to a dozen or so examples, without ever explaining what they might have in common—I have a particularly well-known reference book in mind here). One problem with "consensus of composers' contemporaries" is that the very idea of "avant garde" in art and music is comparatively recent, but has been applied retrospectively to music of much earlier periods (such as the Ars subtilior or the seconda pratica) where the composers' contemporaries can never have heard of the concept. Considering the substantial disagreement amongst recent authorities about what "avant-garde music" means, establishing such consensus is difficult enough for music of the 20th century, let alone for music of earlier ages.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 05:49, 15 July 2013 (UTC)
One further thought: Shouldn't this revision really begin with the main (purportedly more detailed) article Avant-garde music? It is currently just as inadequate as the section on music in this article, and it would be rather silly to have a subordinate discussion that is more ample than the one to which readers are being directed for betterinformation.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 16:50, 15 July 2013 (UTC)

Avant garde[edit]

I suggest that the real meaning of "Avant Gard77.173.8.226 (talk) 10:30, 28 January 2015 (UTC)" is: out of control. They are the ones ahead of the troupe without control. Experienced hunters know this behavior of his dog. The only solution is to whistle him back.