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After the Avant-Gardes is a rallying call for all those who challenge artistic modernism. This is a collection of ten provocative essays on the arts by writers of varied orientations who share a skepticism about the exaggerated role of modernism and the successive avant-gardes in shaping what is accepted as valid contemporary art. The essays cover painting and other visual arts, literature, music, and general observations. Not an exercise in hand-wringing, it looks for different directions in which the arts may fruitfully evolve.
Paul A. Cantor contributes a study of the Norwegian anti-modernist painter Odd Nerdrum, who sees modernist art as totalitarian. Michelle Marder Kamhi criticizes the avant-gardist neglect of mimesis as a key to the cognitive and emotional functions of art. Henning Tegtmeyer evaluates Hegel’s and Danto’s views of the end of art.” Jonathan Le Cocq examines Karl Popper’s objections to progressivism in music. Frederick Turner presents a manifesto for a new avant-garde based on beauty, science, the general public as audience, and the reunion of high” with low” art. Paul Lake offers a new paradigm for literature. Louis Torres questions the privileged position, amounting to an institutional monopoly, of modernist avant-gardism in the arts world.
Elizabeth Millán is professor of philosophy at DePaul University. She is the author of Friedrich Schlegel and the Emergence of Romantic Philosophy (2007) and co-editor of several books including The New Light of German Romanticism (2009). She lives in Chicago.