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The Cult of the Avant-Garde Artist

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    Available in PDF - DJVU Format | The Cult of the Avant-Garde Artist.pdf | Language: ENGLISH
    Donald Kuspit(Author)

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The Cult of the Avant-Garde Artist examines the philosophical, psychological and aesthetic premises for avant-garde art and its subsequent evolution and corruption in the late twentieth century. Arguing that modernist art is essentially therapeutic in intention, both towards self and society, Donald Kuspit further posits that neo-avant-garde, or post-modern art, at once mocks and denies the possibility of therapeutic change. As such, it accommodates the status quo of capitalist society, in which fame and fortune are valued above anything else. Stripping avant-garde art of its missionary, therapeutic intention, neo-avant-garde art instead converts it into a cliché of creative novelty or ironical value for its fashionable look. Moreover, it destroys the precarious balance of artistic narcissism and social empathy that characterizes modern art, tilting it cynically towards the former. Incorporating psychoanalytic ideas, particularly those concerned with narcissism, The Cult of the Avant-Garde Artist offers a reinterpretation of modern art history. Donald Kuspit, one of America's foremost art critics, is a contributing editor to Artforum and the author of many books.

Donald Kuspit examines the philosophical, psychological and aesthetic premises for avant-garde art and its subsequent evolution and corruption in the late twentieth century. Arguing that modernist art is essentially therapeutic in intention, both towards self and society, Donald Kuspit further posits that neo-avant-garde, or post-modern art at once mocks and denies the possibility of therapeutic change. The Cult of the Avant-Garde Artist examines the philosophical, psychological, and aesthetic premises for avant-garde art and its subsequent evolution and corruption in the late twentieth century. Arguing that modernist art is essentially therapeutic in intention, both toward self and society, Donald Kuspit further posits that neo-avant-garde, or postmodern, art at once mocks and denies the possibility of therapeutic change. As such, it accommodates the status quo of capitalist society in which fame and fortune count above everything else. Stripping avant-garde art of its missionary, therapeutic intention, neo-avant-garde art converts it into a cliche of creative novelty or ironic value for its fashionable look. Moreover, it destroys the precarious balance of artistic narcissism and social empathy that characterizes modern art, tilting it cynically toward the former. Incorporating psychoanalytic ideas, particularly those concerned with narcissism, The Cult of the Avant-Garde Artist offers a reinterpretation of modern art history. Exemplary avant-garde and neo-avant-garde artists, including Picasso, Malevich, Warhol, and Beuys, and such movements as surrealism, expressionism, and appropriationism, are examined in depth to demonstrate their therapeutic aims and intentions, or lack thereof. The varieties of artistic expression and their attendant ideas are viewed in light of Kuspit's basic thesis, providing a fresh understanding of developments in the art of this century.

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Book details

  • PDF | 188 pages
  • Donald Kuspit(Author)
  • Cambridge University Press (June 24, 1994)
  • English
  • 9
  • Arts & Photography

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Review Text

  • By Kevin Goodman on July 6, 2002

    Kuspit is perhaps the premium art critic of the day. In his book "Cult of the Avant Garde Artist",Kuspit searches desperately for meaning which he doesn't find outside of decadence. Kuspitreasons that the art by the 90s has stretched originality so far that there was nothing left butappropriation and therefore decadence. My opinion is, that Kuspit was having a crisis oversomething he must love as he's dedicated his life to it, but didn't understand, which would beeven more frustrating as someone who is suppose to explain it to others.This confusion can be forgiven for the critic as the modern art era has, in its most definingmoments, been recognized by periods of movements in which classification was made easy indifference. Kuspit may actually in his confusion represent his own era as an art critic very well.Of course, I make my assumption with knowledge of his next book "The Rebirth of Painting inthe Twenty First Century." This book nearly contradicts Kuspit's "Cult of the Avant GardeArtist" in its recognizing of personal transformation through art.The only fault I find with either book is my own belief that Kuspit in his search for understandingisolates himself from the one thing that draws him to it.....Mystery, Sensuality, Something thatwas made just out of reach but vibrates in ways that are beyond the intellect and can only be felt.Boggle your mind and read the book. Please, read it only if you`re tough-minded as it may causeheadaches, irritation, and discontent, but don't be alarmed as these are only subconscious authorprojections.


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