The Avant-Garde and Modern Visual Culture: At the Crossroads of High and Low Art

deadline for submissions: 
June 1, 2017
full name / name of organization: 
South Atlantic Modern Language Association, Westin Peachtree Plaza in Atlanta

The Avant-Garde and Modern Visual Culture: At the Crossroads of High and Low Art


This panel examines the imbrication of the avant-garde with mass-produced art in order to discern the relationships between the proliferation of images and capitalism in the advent of modern visual culture. Imitating the shock value of advertising, the avant-gardists appeal to the eye of the viewer to gain visibility in the domains of art and draw the consumer’s attention to its product, thereby revealing the profit-oriented motives of marketplace exchanges. Immaterialities such as images are thus transformed into commodities that blend high and low aesthetic genres that participate in the consumer society. The interconnection of American Modernism with European experimental movements, namely, Cubism, Futurism, Dadaism, German Expressionism and French Surrealism, is also symptomatic of this hybridization of popular and highbrow artistic productions that affect ways of seeing in modernity. Abstracts for papers that examine the underlying principles of the commercial apparatus and its emphasis on visuality are welcome to participate in this session. Topics might include, but are not limited to the following:

—The introduction of functional pieces in the museum that react to traditional judgements of taste.

—The engagement in industrial processes and forms of provocative performance that challenge institutional art.

—The significance of photography and cinema in democraticizing culture and creating novel relationships, patterns of behavior and spaces where the proletariat and the bourgeois meet.

—The relationship between the avant-garde and the kitsch.

—The rupture with conceptual language and the reproduction of visual shock effects in the literary text.

—The politics of the manifesto and its alliance with promotional strategies.

—The development of twentieth-century print culture and its contribution to transatlantic artistic exchanges.

—The role of women in producing and marketing popular and elitist art.

By June 1st, 2017, please submit a 300-word abstract along with a current CV and A/V requirements to Leticia Pérez Alonso, Jackson State University, at

For further information about the Conference "High/Low Art: Borders and Boundaries in Popular Culture," see the following link: