The Most Energy

Posted by @ 3:48 pm on May 23rd, 2010

This means starting with a very simple definition of the avant-garde. I stole it from Fairfield Porter, the great midcentury painter and critic, who said the avant-garde was always just the people with the most energy.

The scene seemed wild, but there were simple rules all along. You were given a white room in a Big Art City for a month. You had to do something in that room to generate attention beyond that month. You had to be written about, bought, or at least widely discussed. Then you would get to have the white room again for another month, and so on. If you did this enough, you had what was called a career. This generated what is perhaps this century’s biggest art movement: careerism.

A practical avant-garde is post-careerist. It seeks out low rent and private time, and it concentrates on powerful objects.

All of this means that the practical avant-garde has a lot of work to do. It knows that manifesto is the weakest genre and that promises are irrelevant, so it will use words but not hide behind them.

Read the rest.

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