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  • Avant-garde means "advance guard" or Vanguard. In the military, they're the ones out front

  • - they can see what’s ahead, seek out the enemy, analyze the terrain, and so on.

  • But what does it mean in art?

  • Hey guys, It’s Karin, Welcome back to Little Art Talks. Today let’s talk about what is

  • the avant-garde and why is it important to the arts.

  • In the arts, Avant-garde can be used both as a noun and an adjective.

  • It can be used to refer to the artists who introduce these new, experimental ideas

  • For example, "works by artists of the Russian avant-garde"

  • But also be used as a way to describe the work:

  • "a controversial avant-garde composer"

  • The term first appeared in reference to art during the first half of the nineteenth century

  • in France.

  • The influential thinker Henri de Saint-Simon, one of the forerunners of socialism, had this

  • idea that artists, alongside scientists and industrialists, were leaders of a new society.

  • He wrote in 1825: We artists will serve you as an avant-garde,

  • the power of the arts is most immediate: when we want to spread new ideas we inscribe them

  • on marble or canvas. What a magnificent destiny for the arts is that of exercising a positive

  • power over society, a true priestly function and of marching in the van [i.e. vanguard]

  • of all the intellectual faculties!

  • The term avant-garde pretty much goes hand-in-hand with with modern art. Now, I’ve said before,

  • that modern art is kind of a difficult thing to pinpoint when exactly it starts, but for

  • the sake of this video, let’s say it’s around the 1850s with the realism of Gustave

  • Courbet.

  • The notion of the avant-garde is based on the idea that art should be judged based on

  • the quality and originality of the artist’s vision and ideas.

  • This can be innovations on form, such as in cubism, which rejected traditional techniques

  • of perspective, modeling, and foreshortening, and instead emphasized the two-dimensionality

  • of the canvas and used multiple or contrasting vantage points.

  • Other avant-garde artists had strong social programmes, such as futurism, De Stijl or

  • surrealism.

  • Their radical nature in challenging existing ideas, processes and forms makes these artists

  • no stranger to controversy. So if you ever thought that modern, post-modern, and contemporary

  • art is a whole lotta nonsense, it’s partially because these avant-garde artists are intentionally

  • confronting more traditional schools of thought.

  • While the term was originally used to describe innovative approaches to art making in the

  • nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, it’s still used today to describe art that

  • pushes the boundaries of ideas and creativity

  • I hope this video helped you better understand the meaning of the avant-garde. If you enjoyed

  • it, please like and subscribe for more videos on art history. Thanks so much for watching,

  • and I’ll see you guys next time.

Avant-garde means "advance guard" or Vanguard. In the military, they're the ones out front

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Significance of Avant-garde | Art Terms | LittleArtTalks

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    Ken Chang posted on 2017/07/08
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