File spoon-archives/avant-garde.archive/avant-garde_1998/avant-garde.9808, message 36

Date: Tue, 18 Aug 1998 17:06:06 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: Avant-Garde ???

> Here we have two different models of the Vanguard --  one as permanent
> opposition (nihlist) and the other as the shock troops of the humanist
> social revolution ( the avant garde).  Both in the long run serve the same
> function -- that is both are labortories for the intergration of new forms
> and ideas and the dismantling of older no longer effective ones.  The
> difference is the permanent opposition fulfills its task in a reactive
> manner and the later is premised on an idealised vision of human freedom
> and creativity.  Personally I prefer the latter to the former only because
> I tend to believe in re-evaluation rather than devaluation.

Saul, these are such large sweeps of language: nihilism, humanist social 
revolution, the long run, idealism.  But art, as Ann says and as Heiko says
(though not in these words) is specific; consequently its resistances -- 
such as they are -- are also specific.  An object here, a performance there, 
some music elsewhere.  People thinking about something they've seen, touching 
something in front of them, dancing, talking.  This all falls through the
sieve of these large verbal gestures; nothing gets caught.  Or does it?


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