The Popular Avant-Garde


The avant-garde has been popular for some time, but its popularity has tended to fly under the radar. This “popular avant-garde,” conceived as the meeting ground of the avant-garde and popular, avoids the divorce of art and praxis of which the avant-garde has been accused. The Popular Avant-Garde takes stock of the debates about both the “historical” (“modernist”) and posterior avant-gardes, and sets them in relation to popular culture and art forms. With a critical introduction that examines the concepts of “the avant-garde,” “the popular,” and “the popular avant-garde,” the series of essays analyzes the way in which the avant-garde employs popular genres for political purposes, as well as how the popular acquires a critical function with respect to the avant-garde. Each of the volume’s three sections considers a different aspect of the productive exchange between the avant-garde and popular: the popular avant-garde as a culturally hybrid and cross-border phenomenon; the play between the popular avant-garde and developments in media and technology; and the popular avant-garde’s upending of conventional ideas about “the people” and “the popular.” The Popular Avant-Garde takes a fresh look at the now canonical Dadaist, Futurist, and Surrealist movements from the perspectives of gender and sexuality, and cultural and critical theory, while at the same time exploring less well-known avant-garde work in literature, film, television, music, photography, dance, sculpture, and the graphic arts. This volume’s coverage of the American and Afro-American, Luso-Brazilian and Latin-American, East-European, and Scandinavian avant-gardes, in addition to the vanguards of Spain and other parts of Western Europe, will appeal to all those interested in avant-garde and popular art forms.

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Renée M. Silverman: The Avant-Garde is Popular (Again)
The Borders of the Avant-Garde
Kirsten Ernst: “Not Reactionary, Just Late”: The Case for Ariano Suassuna as Brazilian Modernist
Malynne Sternstein: This Impossible Toyen
Alexander Starkweather Fobes: Huidobro, Cagliostro: Demiurge as Mage. Conjuring a Metaphor for the Avant-Garde
Lori Cole: Revisiting the Vanguard: Duchamp in Buenos Aires
Esther Sánchez-Pardo: Duende and Modernism: Hart Crane’s and Federico García Lorca’s Variations on Rhythm and Sound
Avant-Garde Politics: Popular Culture, Media, and Social Change
R. Hernández Rodríguez: A Revolution of Shadows: Culture and Representation in Early-Twentieth-Century Mexico
Maria T. Pao: Giménez Caballero’s Fractured Fairy Tale: “El Redentor mal parido” (1926)
Christopher Townsend: “A new dictionary of gestures”: Chaplin’s The Rink and Ricciotto Canudo’s Skating Rink
Craig Saper: A Quick Read(ies): Speed and Formula in Bob Brown’s Pulp Fiction and Avant-Garde Machines
Siona Wilson: Reading Freire in London: Jo Spence’s Photographs between Popular and Avant-Garde
Jennifer Cho: Touching Pasts In The Shadow of No Towers: 9/11 and Art Spiegelman’s Comix of Memory
Antti Salminen: From Avant-Garde to Para-Garde: The Truth About Marika
Barnaby Dicker: Franciszka Themerson’s Ubu Comic Strip: Autography, Caricature, and the Avant-Garde
Popular Art Forms and the Avant-Garde
Marina Pérez de Mendiola: In Search of a People’s Art: The Divergent Positions of Jorge Oteiza and David Alfaro Siqueiros
Giovanna Montenegro: Venezuelan Avant-Garde: María Calcaño’s Erotic Poetry
Kirsten Strom: Popular Anthropology: Dance, Race, and Katherine Dunham
Fabio Akcelrud Durão and José Adriano Fenerick: Tom Zé’s Unsong and the Fate of the Tropicália Movement