Postmodern Art - Avant-garde Precursors

Avant-garde Precursors

Radical movements and trends regarded as influential and potentially as precursors to postmodernism emerged around World War I and particularly in its aftermath. With the introduction of the use of industrial artifacts in art and techniques such as collage, avant-garde movements such as Cubism, Dada and Surrealism questioned the nature and value of art. These movements were influenced by new artforms such as cinema and the rise of reproduction as a means of creating artworks. The ignition point for the definition of modernism, Clement Greenberg's essay, Avant-Garde and Kitsch, first published in Partisan Review in 1939, is a defence of the avant-garde in the face of popular culture. Later, Peter Bürger would make a distinction between the historical avant-garde and modernism, and critics such as Krauss, Huyssen, and Douglas Crimp, following Bürger, identified the historical avant-garde as a precursor to postmodernism. Krauss, for example, describes Pablo Picasso's use of collage as an avant-garde practice that anticipates postmodern art with its emphasis on language at the expense of autobiography. Another point of view is that avant-garde and modernist artists used similar strategies and that postmodernism repudiates both.

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