By Walter L. Adamson
This sweeping paintings, instantly a wide ranging review and an bold severe reinterpretation of eu modernism, offers a daring new standpoint on a circulate that outlined the cultural panorama of the early 20th century. Walter L. Adamson embarks on a lucid, wide-ranging exploration of the avant-garde practices in which the modernist generations after 1900 resisted the increase of commodity tradition as a hazard to actual cultural expression. Taking biographical methods to various avant-garde leaders, Adamson charts the increase and fall of modernist aspirations in events and members as different as Ruskin, Marinetti, Kandinsky, Bauhaus, Purism, and the paintings critic Herbert learn. In end, Adamson rises to the security of the modernists, suggesting that their rules are appropriate to present efforts to imagine via what it will probably suggest to create a colourful, aesthetically pleasant kind of cultural democracy.
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Extra info for Embattled Avant-Gardes: Modernism's Resistance to Commodity Culture in Europe
19 Yet Marx did not then go on to ask how the consumer’s participation in buying the impersonally produced image-object complicates fetishism. 20 Nonetheless, Marx did understand that in a culture dominated by the buying and selling of commodities, exchange value becomes the dominant way of understanding all value. Not only is use value denigrated, but all other modes of determining value, such as those that inhere in personal life, politics, religion, education, or culture and art, come to be reshaped by, if not reduced to, exchange.
Yet even the most contestatory positions will not be wholly antagonistic to the modern institution of art, since those engaged in them are necessarily also self-interested (and often actively self-promoting) players within the mainstream practices of the institution, which of course include the production for sale of works of art. In short, avant-garde practices always involve ambivalence. We will encounter many examples of this ambivalence in this book, but nowhere more so than in chapter 7, which takes up what is arguably the most radical challenge of all to the modern institution of art, Breton’s surrealism.
5 In such a world, immediate experience—like a whittled branch or a Moscow sunset—becomes obsolete and probably illusory as any sort of knowledge. It is hardly a surprise that intellectuals primarily oriented to aesthetic and spiritual experience would feel uncomfortable in a world where knowledge had not only been sundered into incommunicable bits but in which the forms of it they privileged had been rendered secondary, if not altogether suspect. Yet their sense of a sundered or fragmented experience was by no means confined to epistemology.