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The cult of the avant-garde artist

Author: Donald B Kuspit
Publisher: Cambridge ; New York : Cambridge University Press, 1993.
Edition/Format:   Book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
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  Read more...
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Genre/Form: History
Material Type: Internet resource
Document Type: Book, Internet Resource
All Authors / Contributors: Donald B Kuspit
ISBN: 0521413451 9780521413459
OCLC Number: 26129979
Description: 175 pages ; 23 cm
Contents: Avant-garde and neo-avant-garde : from the pursuit of the primordial to the nihilism of narcissism --
Preliminary therapeutic attitude : the provocative object as a path to primordiality : Picasso and Duchamp --
The geometrical cure : art as a matter of principle : Mondrian and Malevich --
The expressive cure : art as the recovery of primal emotion : expressionism and surrealism --
Fame as the cure-all : the charisma of cynicism : Andy Warhol --
Enchanting the disenchanted : the artist's last stand : Joseph Beuys --
The decadence or cloning and coding of the avant-garde : appropriation art.
Responsibility: Donald Kuspit.
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Abstract:

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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