Panel for SAMLA 94: The Avant-Garde and Social Change

deadline for submissions: 
June 29, 2022
full name / name of organization: 
SAMLA

The term avant-garde usually applies to works of art, literature and music characterized by their radical experimentation and opposition to institutionalized culture. Leading unconventional and non-conformist lives, the avant-gardists antagonized the bourgeoise by attacking their social values, mediocrity and material interests. Instead, these iconoclastic artists engaged in acts of dissidence promoted in soirées, manifestos, journals and exhibits that interfered with public life. For instance, Marinetti paraded with the Suffragettes smashing windows through the streets of London, an act that echoes his fervor to destroy museums and academies, as described in the 1909 Futurist Manifesto. In Berlin the journal Dada remonstrated against the regime of the Weimar Republic. Antagonistic action was also illustrated by Dadaist Johannes Baader, who disrupted the 1919 German National Assembly by throwing down copies of leaflets that proclaimed his presidency. In defiance of realist conventions and academicism, exhibits such as the 1913 Armory Show gave rise to independent venues and new art forms. In light of the topic of SAMLA 94, this panel proposes to discuss how the avant-garde in the decades of 1900-1950 promoted social change and aesthetic innovation by redrawing what is acceptable or unacceptable. Possible topics include but are not limited to:

  • The avant-garde culture industry, high art and kitsch
  • Intermediality and innovation in genre categories
    Political revolution, social reform and aesthetic militancy
  • Primitive vanguardism
  • Bohemian lifestyles and radical experimentation
  • The New Woman in avant-garde art, literature and cinema
  • Cultural icons and the phenomenon of celebrity
  • Countercultural practices: soirées, manifestos, journals and exhibits
  • Oppositional avant-gardes: Futurism vs. Vorticism, Dadaism vs. Surrealism
  • Reactions to Eurocentric vanguardism in Latin America, Asia and Africa

By June 29, please submit an abstract of 250-300 words, a brief bio, and any A/V or scheduling requests to Leticia Pérez Alonso, at leticia.p.alonso@jsums.edu