The Ghosts of the Avant-Garde(s)
Exorcising Experimental Theater and Performance
Publication Year: 2013
Published by: University of Michigan Press
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Title Page, Copyright Page, Acknowledgments
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Avant-Garde Pluralities: An Introduction
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By some accounts, Hugo Ball fell into an induced “state of possession” on a mid-July evening in 1916 and needed to be “carried onto the stage” of the legendary Cabaret Voltaire in Zurich, Switzerland.1 In point of fact, it is debatable whether the co-founder of the Dadaist movement needed assistance because he was possessed, ...
Chapter 1 - Avant-Garde Rhetoric: Show Trials and Collapsing Discourse at the Birth of Surrealism
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While cultural historians may disagree about where the modernist period begins and ends, there is widespread consensus that, across the spectrum of the arts, the European modernist period is marked by a self-conscious exploration of the forms of artistic expression. If this exploration is the source of modernism’s most significant innovations, ...
Chapter 2 - From Anti-Culture to Counter-Culture: The Emergence of the American Hybrid Vanguardism
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Acknowledging in 1981 the immense debt that her dance work owes to the aesthetics articulated by John Cage, Yvonne Rainer nonetheless characterizes Cagean aesthetics as a kind of “Pandora’s Box.”3 “It is not my intention to force the lid shut on John’s Box,” Rainer says (playfully inverting sexual stereotypes associated with the myth of Pandora), ...
Chapter 3 - Critique of the Artist as (Re)producer: Warhol, The Living Theatre, and Frankenstein
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During an interview with Laticia Kent in September of 1968, just three months after Valerie Solanas nearly killed him, Andy Warhol offered what at first blush would seem to be a contradictory assessment of the disfiguring effect that Solanas’s act of violence had on his body. ...
Chapter 4 - Brechtian Aesthetics and the Death of the Director in Peter Brook’s The Mahabharata
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In an effort to capture some sense of the significance that the radical shifts in literary and cultural theory during the 1980s had for studies of avant-garde performance, one could do a lot worse than to frame the decade with the publication of Richard Schechner’s The End of Humanism in 1982 ...
Chapter 5 - From Cutting Edge to Rough Edges: On the Transnational Foundations of Avant-Garde Performance
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While the Brechtian dimensions of Peter Brook’s The Mahabharata may cut across the grain of Brook’s expressed intent, and while those dimensions may highlight the unresolved tensions of an intercultural avant-garde, the tensions are arguably much less unique than one might initially suspect. ...
Chapter 6 - Performing the Vanquished Vanguards: Nostalgia, Globalization, and the Possibility of Contemporary Avant-Gardes
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Roughly a decade and a half ago, some of the most provocative attempts to rethink the cultural criticisms associated with the Frankfurt School focused on the rigid, surprisingly ahistorical, and ironically underdeveloped notions of capitalism that Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer used in their classic critique of the culture industry. ...
Chapter 7 - Victims of History and the Ghosts of the Avant-Gardes: A Plausibly Deniable Conclusion
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Perhaps it is a testament to the original timeliness of the work itself that roughly forty years after its publication by Surkamp Verlag in 1974, Peter Bürger’s Theory of the Avant-Garde continues to haunt not only studies of avant-garde performance but studies of the avant-gardes across the spectrum of the arts. ...
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Page Count: 248
Publication Year: 2013