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Anti-art is a loosely used term applied to an array of concepts and attitudes that reject prior definitions of art and question art in general. Somewhat paradoxically, anti-art tends to conduct this questioning and rejection from the vantage point of art. The term is associated with the Dada movement and is generally accepted as attributable to Marcel Duchamp pre-World War I around 1914, when he began to use found objects as art. It was used to describe revolutionary forms of art. The term was used later by the Conceptual artists of the 1960s to describe the work of those who claimed to have retired altogether from the practice of art, from the production of works which could be sold.
An expression of anti-art may or may not take traditional form or meet the criteria for being defined as a work of art according to conventional standards. Indeed, works of anti-art may express an outright rejection of having conventionally defined criteria as a means of defining what art is, and what it is not. Anti-artworks may reject conventional artistic standards altogether, or focus criticism only on certain aspects of art, such as the art market and high art. Some anti-artworks may reject individualism in art., whereas some may reject "universality" as an accepted factor in art. Additionally, some forms of anti-art reject art entirely, or reject the idea that art is a separate realm or specialization. Anti-artworks may also reject art based upon a consideration of art as being oppressive of a segment of the population.
Anti-art artworks may articulate a disagreement with the generally supposed notion of there being a separation between art and life. Indeed, anti-art artworks may voice a question as to whether "art" really exists or not. "Anti-art" has been referred to as a "paradoxical neologism," in that its ostensible opposition to art has been observed concurring with staples of twentieth-century art or "modern art," in particular art movements that have self-consciously sought to transgress traditions or institutions. Anti-art itself is not a distinct art movement, however. This would tend to be indicated by the time it spans—longer than that usually spanned by art movements. Some art movements though, are labeled "anti-art". The Dada movement is generally considered the first anti-art movement; the term anti-art itself is said to have been coined by Dadaist Marcel Duchamp around 1914, and his readymades have been cited as early examples of anti-art objects. Theodor W. Adorno in Aesthetic Theory (1970) stated that "...even the abolition of art is respectful of art because it takes the truth claim of art seriously."
Anti-art has become generally accepted by the artworld to be art, although some people still reject Duchamp's readymades as art, for instance the Stuckist group of artists, who are "anti-anti-art".
Anti-art can take the form of art or not. It is posited that anti-art need not even take the form of art, in order to embody its function as anti-art. This point is disputed. Some of the forms of anti-art which are art strive to reveal the conventional limits of art by expanding its properties.
Some instances of anti-art are suggestive of a reduction to what might seem to be fundamental elements or building blocks of art. Examples of this sort of phenomenon might include monochrome paintings, empty frames, silence as music, chance art. Anti-art is also often seen to make use of highly innovative materials and techniques, and well beyond—to include hitherto unheard of elements in visual art. These types of anti-art can be readymades, found art, détournement, combine paintings, appropriation (art), happenings, performance art, and body art.
Anti-art can involve the renouncement of making art entirely. This can be accomplished through an art strike and this can also be accomplished through revolutionary activism. An aim of anti-art can be to undermine or understate individual creativity. This may be accomplished through the utilization of readymades. Individual creativity can be further downplayed by the use of industrial processes in the making of art. Anti-artists may seek to undermine individual creativity by producing their artworks anonymously. They may refuse to show their artworks. They may refuse public recognition. Anti-artists may choose to work collectively, in order to place less emphasis on individual identity and individual creativity. This can be seen in the instance of happenings. This is sometimes the case with "supertemporal" artworks, which are by design impermanent. Anti-artists will sometimes destroy their works of art. Some artworks made by anti-artists are purposely created to be destroyed. This can be seen in auto-destructive art.
André Malraux has developed a concept of anti-art quite different from that outlined above. For Malraux, anti-art began with the 'Salon' or 'Academic' art of the nineteenth century which rejected the basic ambition of art in favour of a semi-photographic illusionism (often prettified). Of Academic painting, Malraux writes, 'All true painters, all those for whom painting is a value, were nauseated by these pictures – "Portrait of a Great Surgeon Operating" and the like – because they saw in them not a form of painting, but the negation of painting'. For Malraux, anti-art is still very much with us, though in a different form. Its descendants are commercial cinema and television, and popular music and fiction. The 'Salon', Malraux writes, 'has been expelled from painting, but elsewhere it reigns supreme'.
Anti-art is also a tendency in the theoretical understanding of art and fine art.
The philosopher Roger Taylor puts forward that art is a bourgeois ideology that has its origins with capitalism in "Art, an Enemy of the People". Holding a strong anti-essentialist position he states also that art has not always existed and is not universal but peculiar to Europe.
The Invention of Art: A Cultural History by Larry Shiner is an art history book which fundamentally questions our understanding of art. "The modern system of art is not an essence or a fate but something we have made. Art as we have generally understood it is a European invention barely two hundred years old." (Shiner 2003, p. 3) Shiner presents (fine) art as a social construction that has not always existed throughout human history and could also disappear in its turn.
Pre World War I
Jean-Jacques Rousseau rejected the separation between performer and spectator, life and theatre. Karl Marx posited that art was a consequence of the class system and therefore concluded that, in a communist society, there would only be people who engage in the making of art and no "artists".
Arguably the first movement that deliberately set itself in opposition to established art were the Incoherents in late 19th. century Paris. Founded by Jules Lévy in 1882, the Incoherents organized charitable art exhibitions intended to be satirical and humoristic, they presented "...drawings by people who can't draw..." and held masked balls with artistic themes, all in the greater tradition of Montmartre cabaret culture. While short lived - the last Incoherent show took place in 1896 - the movement was popular for its entertainment value. In their commitment to satire, irreverence and ridicule they produced a number of works that show remarkable formal similarities to creations of the avant-garde of the 20th century: ready-mades, monochromes, empty frames and silence as music.
Dada and constructivism
Beginning in Switzerland, during World War I, much of Dada, and some aspects of the art movements it inspired, such as Neo-Dada, Nouveau réalisme, and Fluxus, is considered anti-art. Dadaists rejected cultural and intellectual conformity in art and more broadly in society. For everything that art stood for, Dada was to represent the opposite.
Where art was concerned with traditional aesthetics, Dada ignored aesthetics completely. If art was to appeal to sensibilities, Dada was intended to offend. Through their rejection of traditional culture and aesthetics the Dadaists hoped to destroy traditional culture and aesthetics. Because they were more politicized, the Berlin dadas were the most radically anti-art within Dada. In 1919, in the Berlin group, the Dadaist revolutionary central council outlined the Dadaist ideals of radical communism.
Tristan Tzara indicated: "I am against systems; the most acceptable system is on principle to have none." In addition, Tzara, who once stated that "logic is always false", probably approved of Walter Serner's vision of a "final dissolution". A core concept in Tzara's thought was that "as long as we do things the way we think we once did them we will be unable to achieve any kind of livable society."
Originating in Russia in 1919, constructivism rejected art in its entirety and as a specific activity creating a universal aesthetic in favour of practices directed towards social purposes, "useful" to everyday life, such as graphic design, advertising and photography. In 1921, exhibiting at the 5x5=25 exhibition, Alexander Rodchenko created monochromes and proclaimed the end of painting. For artists of the Russian Revolution, Rodchenko's radical action was full of utopian possibility. It marked the end of art along with the end of bourgeois norms and practices. It cleared the way for the beginning of a new Russian life, a new mode of production, a new culture.
Beginning in the early 1920s, many Surrealist artists and writers regard their work as an expression of the philosophical movement first and foremost, with the works being an artifact. Surrealism as a political force developed unevenly around the world, in some places more emphasis being put on artistic practices, while in others political practises outweighed. In other places still, Surrealist praxis looked to overshadow both the arts and politics. Politically, Surrealism was ultra-leftist, communist, or anarchist. The split from Dada has been characterised as a split between anarchists and communists, with the Surrealists as communist. In 1925, the Bureau of Surrealist Research declared their affinity for revolutionary politics. By the 1930s many Surrealists had strongly identified themselves with communism. Breton and his comrades supported Leon Trotsky and his International Left Opposition for a while, though there was an openness to anarchism that manifested more fully after World War II.
Leader André Breton was explicit in his assertion that Surrealism was above all a revolutionary movement. Breton believed the tenets of Surrealism could be applied in any circumstance of life, and is not merely restricted to the artistic realm. Breton's followers, along with the Communist Party, were working for the "liberation of man." However, Breton's group refused to prioritize the proletarian struggle over radical creation such that their struggles with the Party made the late 1920s a turbulent time for both. Many individuals closely associated with Breton, notably Louis Aragon, left his group to work more closely with the Communists. In 1929, Breton asked Surrealists to assess their "degree of moral competence", and theoretical refinements included in the second manifeste du surréalisme excluded anyone reluctant to commit to collective action
By the end of World War II the surrealist group led by André Breton decided to explicitly embrace anarchism. In 1952 Breton wrote "It was in the black mirror of anarchism that surrealism first recognised itself."
Letterism and the Situationist International
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Founded in the mid-1940s in France by Isidore Isou, the Letterists utilised material appropriated from other films, a technique which would subsequently be developed (under the title of 'détournement') in Situationist films. They would also often supplement the film with live performance, or, through the 'film-debate', directly involve the audience itself in the total experience. The most radical of the Letterist films, Wolman's The Anticoncept and Debord's Howls for Sade abandoned images altogether.
In 1956, recalling the infinitesimals of Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, quantities which could not actually exist except conceptually, the founder of Lettrism, Isidore Isou, developed the notion of a work of art which, by its very nature, could never be created in reality, but which could nevertheless provide aesthetic rewards by being contemplated intellectually. Related to this, and arising out of it, is excoördism, the current incarnation of the Isouian movement, defined as the art of the infinitely large and the infinitely small.
In 1960, Isidore Isou created supertemporal art: a device for inviting and enabling an audience to participate in the creation of a work of art. In its simplest form, this might involve nothing more than the inclusion of several blank pages in a book, for the reader to add his or her own contributions.
In Japan in the late 1950s, Group Kyushu was an edgy, experimental and rambunctious art group. They ripped and burned canvasses, stapled corrugated cardboard, nails, nuts, springs, metal drill shavings, and burlap to their works, assembled all kinds of unwieldy junk assemblages, and were best known for covering much of their work in tar. They also occasionally covered their work in urine and excrement. They tried to bring art closer to everyday life, by incorporating objects from daily life into their work, and also by exhibiting and performing their work outside on the street for everyone to see.
Other similar anti-art groups included Neo-Dada (Neo-Dadaizumu Oganaizazu), Gutai (Gutai Bijutsu Kyokai), and Hi-Red-Center. Influenced in various ways by L'Art Informel, these groups and their members worked to foreground material in their work: rather than seeing the art work as representing some remote referent, the material itself and the artists' interaction with it became the main point. The freeing up of gesture was another legacy of L'Art Informel, and the members of Group Kyushu took to it with great verve, throwing, dripping, and breaking material, sometimes destroying the work in the process.
Beginning in the 1950s in France, the Letterist International and after the Situationist International developed a dialectical viewpoint, seeing their task as superseding art, abolishing the notion of art as a separate, specialized activity and transforming it so it became part of the fabric of everyday life. From the Situationist's viewpoint, art is revolutionary or it is nothing. In this way, the Situationists saw their efforts as completing the work of both Dada and surrealism while abolishing both. The situationists renounced the making of art entirely.
The Situationist International was probably the most radical, politicized, well organized, and theoretically productive anti-art movement, reaching its apex with the student protests and general strike of May 1968 in France.
Neo-dada and later
Similar to Dada, in the 1960s, Fluxus included a strong current of anti-commercialism and an anti-art sensibility, disparaging the conventional market-driven art world in favor of an artist-centered creative practice. Fluxus artists used their minimal performances to blur the distinction between life and art.
In 1962 Henry Flynt began to campaign for an anti-art position. Flynt wanted avant-garde art to become superseded by the terms of veramusement and brend - neologisms meaning approximately pure recreation.
In 1963 George Maciunas advocated revolution, "living art, anti-art" and "non art reality to be grasped by all peoples". Maciunas strived to uphold his stated aims of demonstrating the artist's 'non-professional status...his dispensability and inclusiveness' and that 'anything can be art and anyone can do it.'
In the 1960s, the Dada-influenced art group Black Mask declared that revolutionary art should be "an integral part of life, as in primitive society, and not an appendage to wealth." Black Mask disrupted cultural events in New York by giving made up flyers of art events to the homeless with the lure of free drinks. Later, the Motherfuckers were to grow out of a combination of Black Mask and another group called Angry Arts.
The BBC aired an interview with Duchamp conducted by Joan Bakewell in 1966 which expressed some of Duchamps more explicit Anti-Art ideas. Duchamp compared art with religion, whereby he stated that he wished to do away with art the same way many have done away with religion. Duchamp goes on to explain to the interviewer that "the word art etymologically means to do", that art means activity of any kind, and that it is our society that creates "purely artificial" distinctions of being an artist.
During the 1970s, King Mob was responsible for various attacks on art galleries. According to the philosopher Roger Taylor the concept of art is not universal but is an invention of bourgeois ideology helping to promote this social order. He compares it to a cancer that colonises other forms of life so that it becomes difficult to distinguish one from the other.
Stewart Home called for an Art Strike between 1990 and 1993. Unlike earlier art-strike proposals such as that of Gustav Metzger in the 1970s, it was not intended as an opportunity for artists to seize control of the means of distributing their own work, but rather as an exercise in propaganda and psychic warfare aimed at smashing the entire art world rather than just the gallery system. As Black Mask had done in the 1960s, Stewart Home disrupted cultural events in London in the 1990s by giving made up flyers of literary events to the homeless with the lure of free drinks.
The K Foundation was an art foundation that published a series of Situationist-inspired press adverts and extravagant subversions in the art world. Most notoriously, when their plans to use banknotes as part of a work of art fell through, they burnt a million pounds in cash.
Punk has developed anti-art positions. Some "industrial music" bands describe their work as a form of "cultural terrorism" or as a form of "anti-art". The term is also used to describe other intentionally provocative art forms, such as nonsense verse.
Paradoxically, most forms of anti-art have gradually been completely accepted by the art establishment as normal and conventional forms of art. Even the movements which rejected art with the most virulence are now collected by the most prestigious cultural institutions.
- Anarchism and the arts
- Appropriation (art)
- Art intervention
- Classificatory disputes about art
- Conceptual art
- Elevator music
- Found art
- Guerrilla art
- Guerrilla gardening
- Modern art
- Neo-conceptual art
- Noise music
- Performance art
- Robert Rauschenberg
- Sound art
- Sound installation
- Street installation
- The Poem of the End
- Transgressive art
- David Graver. The aesthetics of disturbance: anti-art in avant-garde drama. University of Michigan Press, 1995, p. 7.
- "Glossary: Anti-art", Tate. Retrieved 23 January 2010.
- ..., contributors Rachel Barnes (2001). The 20th-Century art book. (Reprinted. ed.). London: Phaidon Press. p. 505. ISBN 0714835420.
- Paul N. Humble. "Anti-Art and the Concept of Art". In: "A companion to art theory". Editors: Paul Smith and Carolyn Wilde, Wiley-Blackwell, 2002, p. 250.
- Martin Puchner. "Poetry of the revolution: Marx, manifestos, and the avant-gardes". Princeton University Press, 2006, p. 226.
- Kathryn Atwood. "The Triumph of Anti-Art: Conceptual and Performance Art in the Formation of Post-Modernism". Afterimage, Sep 1, 2006.
- Peter Bürger "Theory of the Avant-Garde". Trans. Michael Shaw. Minneapolis: Minnesota. 1984, p. 51
- An Paenhuysen. "Strategies of Fame: The anonymous career of a Belgian surrealist". In: "Opening Peter Greenaway's Tulse Luper Suitcases". Guest edited by: Gray Kochhar-Lindgren, Image and Narrative, Vol.VI, issue 2 (12.) August 2005.
- Sadie Plant. "The most radical gesture: the Situationist International in a postmodern age". Taylor & Francis, 1992, p. 40.
- Interview of Roger Taylor by Stewart Home. "Art Is Like Cancer". Mute Magazine. 2004.
- Paul N. Humble. "Anti-Art and the Concept of Art". In: "A companion to art theory". Editors: Paul Smith and Carolyn Wilde, Wiley-Blackwell, 2002. Page 244
- "Ernst Van Alphen, a Clark scholar from the Netherlands, suggested that Modernism itself can be characterized as anti-art in that since the earliest gestures of Dada and Futurism, art is seen as transformative and productive, breaking with institutions rather than destructive of images." Source: http://www.berkshirefinearts.com/?page=article&article_id=128&catID=3
- This is one dictionary definition of anti-art: "A loosely used term that has been applied to works or attitudes that debunk traditional concepts of art. The term is said to have been coined by Marcel Duchamp in about 1914, and his ready-mades can be cited as early examples of the genre. Dada was the first anti-art movement, and subsequently the denunciation of art became commonplace—almost de rigueur—among the avant-garde." Note the emphasis on the fact that most art adopts the same principles attributed to the concept of "anti-art". Source: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1O5-antiart.html
- T.W. Adorno. "Aesthetic Theory". 1970, p. 43.
- Ferguson, Euan. "In bed with Tracey, Sarah ... and Ron", The Observer, 20 April 2003. Retrieved on 2 May 2009.
- "Stuck on the Turner Prize", artnet, 27 October 2000. Retrieved on 2 May 2009.
- Hal Foster. "What's Neo about the Neo-Avant-Garde?". October, Vol. 70, "The Duchamp Effect", Autumn, 1994. p. 19.
- Tilman Osterwold. "Pop art". Taschen, 2003, p. 44.
- Henry Flynt interviewed by Stewart Home. "Towards an Acognitive Culture". New York 8 March 1989. Smile 11, London Summer 1989.
- Derek Allan, Art and the Human Adventure. André Malraux's Theory of Art. Amsterdam, Rodopi, 2009. pp.275-286.
- North West Arts Association (Great Britain), Alexander Schouvaloff. "Place for the arts". Seel House Press, 1970, p. 244.
- Larry Shiner. The Invention of Art: A Cultural History. University of Chicago Press, 2003, pp. 234, 236, 245,
- "...dessins exécutés par des gens qui ne savent pas dessiner..."
- "Les arts Incohérents" (in French). Archived from the original on 1 May 2009. Retrieved 2009-05-06.
- "Les Expositions des Arts Incohérents". Readymades (at Radical Art, Amsterdam). Retrieved 2009-05-06.
- "Early monochrome painting: Les Incohérents.". Monochromes (at Radical Art, Amsterdam). Retrieved 2009-05-06.
- "Mey-Sonier: Tableau d'à Venir, 1883". Empty frames (at Radical Art, Amsterdam). Retrieved 2009-05-06.
- Alphonse Allais: Marche Funèbre Composée pour les Funérailles d'un Grand Homme Sourd, 1884. First exhibited in the Salon des Incohérents, 1884. Printed in: Album Primo-Avrilesque. Paris: Ollendorf, 1897. [Reprinted in: Guy Schraenen: Erratum Musical. Bremen: Institut Français, 1994.]
- Jean Tinguely: Art is revolution. National-Zeitung, Basle, 13 October 1967. "All machines are art. Even old, abandoned, rusty machines for sifting stones. (...) A beautiful oil refinery or your Johanniterbrücke, which are supposed to be solely functional, are important additions to modern art. So, art is also: the achievements of engineers and technicians, even if they express themselves unconsciously or purely functionally. Art is everything. (Do you think art ought to be made only by 'artists'?) And: art is everywhere – at my grandmother's – in the most incredible kitsch or under a rotten plank."
- "Art is dead. Long live Dada."—Walter Serner
- 'Dada is like your hopes: nothing, like your paradise: nothing, like your idols: nothing; like your heroes: nothing, like your artists: nothing, like your religions: nothing' -Francis Picabia
- Richter, Hans (1965). "Dada: Art and Anti-art". New York and Toronto: Oxford University Press.
- "We had lost confidence in our culture. Everything had to be demolished. We would begin again after the "tabula rasa". At the Cabaret Voltaire we began by shocking common sense, public opinion, education, institutions, museums, good taste, in short, the whole prevailing order." - Marcel Janco
- Larry Shiner. "The Invention of Art: A Cultural History". University of Chicago Press, 2003, p. 254. "the Berlin dadas were more radical (compared to the other dadas), believing that the only way to reintegrate art and life was to place both at the service of the socialist revolution."
- The Dadaist revolutionary central council. "What is Dadaism and what does it want in Germany?". Tract, 1919. "Dadaism demands: 1) The international revolutionary union of all creative and intellectual men and women on the basis of radical Communism; (...) The immediate expropriation of property (socialization) and the communal feeding of all (...) Introduction of the simultaneist poem as a Communist state prayer."
- Duchamp quoted by Arturo Schwarz."The Complete Works of Marcel Duchamp'. London, Thames and Hudson, 1969, p.33."For me there is something else in addition to yes, no or indifferent - that is, for instance - the absence of investigations of that type. ... I am against the word 'anti' because it's a bit like atheist, as compared to believer. And the atheist is just as much of a religious man as the believer is, and an anti-artist is just as much of an artist as the other artist. Anartist would be much better, if I could change it, instead of anti-artist. Anartist, meaning no artist at all. That would be my conception. I don't mind being an anartist ... What I have in mind is that art may be bad, good or indifferent, but, whatever adjective is used, we must call it art, and bad art is still art in the same way as a bad emotion is still an emotion."
- Duchamp quoted by Dalia Judovitz. "Unpacking Duchamp: Art in Transit". Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1995. "No, no the word 'anti' annoys me a little, because whether you are anti or for, it's two sides of the same thing. And I would like to be completely - I don't know what you say - nonexistent, instead of being for or against... The idea of the artist as a sort of superman is comparatively recent. This I was going against. In fact, since I've stopped my artistic activity, I feel that I'm against this attitude of reverence the world has. Art, etymologically speaking, means to 'make.' Everybody is making, not only artists, and maybe in coming centuries there will be a making without the noticing"
- (French) Jacques-Yves Conrad, Promenade surréaliste sur la colline de Montmartre, at the University of Paris III: Sorbonne Nouvelle Center for the Study of Surrealism; retrieved April 23, 2008
- (Romanian) Ion Pop, "Un urmuzian: Ionathan X. Uranus" Archived March 27, 2009, at the Wayback Machine., in Tribuna, Vol. V, Nr. 96, September 2006
- Hans Richter, Dada. Art and Anti-art (with a postscript by Werner Haftmann), Thames & Hudson, London & New York, 2004. ISBN 0-500-20039-4, p.48, 49
- Philip Beitchman, "Symbolism in the Streets", in I Am a Process with No Subject, University of Florida Press, Gainesville, 1988. ISBN 0-8130-0888-3, p.29
- Varvara Stepanova: Lecture on Constructivism, 22 December 1921. In: Peter Noever: Aleksandr M. Rodchenko - Varvara F. Stepanova. The Future Is Our Only Goal. Munich: Prestel, 1991, pp. 174-178. "From here, Constructivism proceeds to the negation of all art in its entirety, and calls into question the necessity of a specific activity of art as creator of a universal aesthetic."
- "I reduced painting to its logical conclusion and exhibited three canvases: red, blue, and yellow. I affirmed: this is the end of painting." - Alexander Rodchenko.
- Rodchenko, A. and V. Stepanova (1975)  'The Programme of the Productivist Group', in Benton and Benton (eds), pp. 91-2. "1. Down with art, long live technical science. 2. Religion is a lie. Art is a lie. 3. Destroy the last remaining attachment of human thought to art. ... 6. The collective art of today is constructive life."
- "Declaration of January 27, 1925". Modern History Sourcebook: A Surrealist Manifesto, 1925
- "Manifesto for a Free Revolutionary Art"
- [permanent dead link]
- Lewis, Helena. Dada Turns Red. 1990. University of Edinburgh Press. A history of the uneasy relations between Surrealists and Communists from the 1920s through the 1950s.
- André Breton. "The first manifesto". 1924.
- Surrealist Art Archived September 18, 2012, at the Wayback Machine. from Centre Pompidou. Accessed March 20, 2007
- "1919–1950: The politics of Surrealism by Nick Heath". Libcom.org. Retrieved 2009-12-26.
- Guy Debord. " The Society of the Spectacle". Thesis 187 and 191. 1967. Translation by Ken Knabb in 2002."The positive significance of the modern decomposition and destruction of all art is that the language of communication has been lost. The negative implication of this development is that a common language can no longer take the form of the unilateral conclusions that characterized the art of historical societies — belated portrayals of someone else's dialogueless life which accepted this lack as inevitable — but must now be found in a praxis that unifies direct activity with its own appropriate language. The point is to actually participate in the community of dialogue and the game with time that up till now have merely been represented by poetic and artistic works." "Dadaism and surrealism were the two currents that marked the end of modern art. Though they were only partially conscious of it, they were contemporaries of the last great offensive of the revolutionary proletarian movement, and the defeat of that movement, which left them trapped within the very artistic sphere whose decrepitude they had denounced, was the fundamental reason for their immobilization. Dadaism and surrealism were historically linked yet also opposed to each other. This opposition involved the most important and radical contributions of the two movements, but it also revealed the internal inadequacy of their one-sided critiques. Dadaism sought to abolish art without realizing it; surrealism sought to realize art without abolishing it. The critical position since developed by the situationists has shown that the abolition and realization of art are inseparable aspects of a single transcendence of art."
- Internationale Situationist (no. 1, Paris, June 1958) "Art need no longer be an account of past sensations. It can become the direct organization of more highly evolved sensations. It is a question of producing ourselves, not things that enslave us."
- Vincent Kaufman. "The Columbia history of twentieth-century French thought". Editor: Lawrence D. Kritzman, Columbia University Press, 2007, p. 104. "In the view of some (including the principal protagonists of the movement themselves), Situationism was the century's finest and most radical form of subversion. It is claimed to have been at the heart of the events of May 1968, whose spirit it embodied, with its radical critique of all forms of alienation imposed by capitalist society (renamed the "society of spectacle" by the Situationists)".
- Giuseppe Pinot-Gallizio. Manifesto of Industrial Painting: For a unitary applied art. Notizie Arti Figurative No. 9 (1959). In French: Internationale Situationniste no.3 (1959). In English: Molly Klein translated the original Italian version into English (1997). "The machine may very well be the appropriate instrument for the creation of an industrial-inflationist art, based on the Anti-Patent; the new industrial culture will be strictly "Made Amongst People" or not at all! The time of the Scribes is over."(...) "When thousands of painters who today labor at the non-sense of detail will have the possibilities which machines offer, there will be no more giant stamps, called paintings to satisfy the investment of value, but thousands of kilometers of fabric offered in the streets, in markets, for barter, allowing millions of people to enjoy them and exciting the experience of arrangement."
- Wolf Vostell, 1972 (Postcard). "Duchamp has qualified the object into art. I have qualified life into art."
- Ben Vautier. "Pas d'Art" (No art). 1961.
- Michel Oren (1993) Anti-Art as the End of Cultural History, Performing Arts Journal, volume 15, issue 2.
- George Maciunas. Fluxus Manifesto, 1963. "Purge the world of bourgeois sickness, "intellectual", professional and commercialized culture, purge the world of dead art, imitation, artificial art, abstract art, illusionistic art, mathematical art, — purge the world of "Europanism"! (..) PROMOTE A REVOLUTIONARY FLOOD AND TIDE IN ART, (...) promote NON ART REALITY to be grasped by all peoples, not only critics, dilettantes and professionals ... FUSE the cadres of cultural, social & political revolutionaries into united front & action."
- A 1965 Inventory list by Maciunas, quoted in Mr Fluxus, p88
- Hinderer, Eve. Ben Morea: art and anarchism Archived April 25, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
- Stewart Home. "The Assault on Culture: Utopian currents from Lettrisme to Class War". Introduction to the Lithuanian edition. (Ist edition Aporia Press and Unpopular Books, London 1988.) ISBN 0-948518-88-X. "In the sixties Black Mask disrupted reified cultural events in New York by making up flyers giving the dates, times and location of art events and giving these out to the homeless with the lure of the free drink that was on offer to the bourgeoisie rather than the lumpen proletariat; I reused the ruse just as effectively in London in the 1990s to disrupt literary events."
- Paul N. Humble. "Anti-Art and the Concept of Art". In: "A companion to art theory". Editors: Paul Smith and Carolyn Wilde, Wiley-Blackwell, 2002, p. 246. "the readymade has been appropriated as a theoretical paradigm in much contemporary art-school theory."
- Andrew Gallix. "The resurrection of Guy Debord". The Guardian, 18 March 2009. "Guy-Ernest Debord would be spinning in his grave – had he not been cremated following his suicide in 1994. The arch-rebel who prided himself on fully deserving society's "universal hatred" has now officially been recognised as a "national treasure" in his homeland. The French government has duly stepped in to prevent Yale University from acquiring his personal archives (...) It's difficult to convey how bizarre it is to hear Christine Albanel – Sarkozy's minister of culture – describing the revolutionary Debord as 'one of the last great French intellectuals' of the second half of the 20th century."
- Karl Marx. The German Ideology. 1845.
- Nikolai Tarabukin. From the Easel to the Machine. In Frascina and Harrison, eds., "Modern Art and Modernism: A Critical Anthology", pp. 135–42.
- Hans Richter. Dada: Art and Anti-Art. Thames & Hudson, 1965. ISBN 0-500-20039-4.
- Guy Debord. La société du spectacle, 1967, numerous editions; in English: "The Society of the Spectacle", Zone Books 1995, ISBN 0-942299-79-5. Society of the Spectacle, Rebel Press 2004, ISBN 0-946061-12-2.
- Mario Perniola. L'alienazione artistica. Milano, Mursia, 1971; in French: "L'alienation artistique". Foreword by Pierre Sansot, translated by Anton Harstein. Paris, U.G.E., 10/18, 1977, ISBN 2-264-00187-9.
- Roger Taylor, Art, an Enemy of the People, Harvester Press, 1978, Fontana, 1976.
- Stewart Home. "The Assault on Culture: Utopian currents from Lettrisme to Class War". (Ist edition Aporia Press and Unpopular Books, London 1988.) ISBN 0-948518-88-X (New edition AK Press, Edinburgh 1991. Polish translation, Wydawnictwo Signum, Warsaw 1993. Italian translation AAA edizioni, Bertiolo 1996. Portuguese translation, Conrad Livros, Brazil 1999. Spanish translation, Virus Editorial, 2002).
- Larry Shiner. The Invention of Art: A Cultural History. University of Chicago Press, 2003 ISBN 978-0-226-75342-3
- Craig Dworkin (2013-02-15). No Medium. MIT Press. ISBN 978-0262018708. Covers works that are blank, silent, empty, etc.
- Walker, John. (1992) "Anti-Art". Glossary of Art, Architecture & Design since 1945, 3rd. ed.