2006 Abstracts Stage 2

The Art of Shock: Overview and Death of the Avant-Garde

Hollie Riley, 2006, Stage 2

The aim of this project is to define such concepts as “art” and “the avant- garde”. Having outlined the rise of Liberalism and explained its position as having influenced the beginnings of avant- garde, I will look at key avant- garde movements, namely Abstract Expressionism, Dada and the Situationists, linking society in each time period to the reasons behind each movement, as well as the concepts and issues raised by key artists and philosophers. I will explain the meaning of “the avant- garde” in each case, as well as the impact each had on it’s culture. I will then investigate modern avant- garde art, including some of the new media used. I will briefly consider the controversial concept of the death of the avant- garde, issues raised by modern artists and whether the shock factor of art has gone. I will conclude by looking at what can actually be considered “art”, as all the movements studied have had doubts and criticisms thrust upon them due to supposed lack of context, meaning or skill. Key artists and philosophers I will be looking at include Immanuel Kant, Jean- Francois Lyotard, Jackson Pollock and Robert Motherwell among others. As well as visiting art galleries and travelling exhibitions, I have been volunteering at the Hatton Art Gallery in Newcastle, which is an excellent source for information, including public opinions on various different exhibitions.

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