A Dictionary of the avant-gardes
1 volume: Introduction, Illustrations, Index of Names, Subject Index
This entertaining book devotes short entries to various practitioners of the numerous artistic styles known as “avant-garde”. While one often thinks of avant-garde in regard to paintings, sculpture and other visual art (light art, performance art), the author takes a broader view and includes representative topics and movements from the world of dance, literature, theatre, music, fashion, film, technology (strobe light) and other areas of the Arts. The ideas behind major artistic movements defined as avant-garde are described; some of the many areas covered are: Constructivism, Cubism, Surrealism (visual art), aleatory, microtonal and sampling (music) and performance art, mixed-means and theatre of the absurd (theatre). The unifying concept behind the book is that all of the movements, people and works discussed were initially considered outside the mainstream.
The book has references after all of the entries referring the reader to further information by listing representative works of an artist, works of criticism of the artist or work, webpages and documentation which gives suggestions for further reading on the topic. In the introduction, the author states that the book reflects his opinions on the topics and this makes for interesting reading as he often disagrees with main stream critics as to the value of an artist’s work. (See the entries on Diego Rivera, Jack Kerouac and Robert Mapplethorpe for examples) Artists, movements and works mentioned in an entry that are described elsewhere in the dictionary are indicated in CAPITAL LETTERS.