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Donald Kuspit

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Avant-garde art has become habitual, a dead letter with little spiritual consequence, however materially refined.
"Reconsidering the Spiritual in Art", Blackbird (2003)

Donald Kuspit

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The time has probably come to admit that the notion of an avant-garde is no longer useful in discussing contemporary literature. How can there be an avant-garde without a mainstream? Avant-garde de quoi? one must ask. Establishment institutions ó universities, museums, foundations, commercial galleries, even the state ó have embraced the idea of experimental art for so long that the avant-garde is now a safely domesticated concept, just another traditional style.

Dana Gioia

I think a label like "avant-garde" defeats itself. You learn to have avant-garde exhibitions. The very fact that avant-garde can have an exhibition defeats the purpose of avant-garde, because it's already formalised and ritualised.

John Lennon

The media themselves are the avant-garde of our society. Avant-garde no longer exists in painting, music and poetry, it's the media themselves.

Marshall McLuhan

Now there is no taboo; everything is allowed. But one cannot simply go back to tonality, itís not the way. We must find a way of neither going back nor continuing the avant-garde. I am in a prison: one wall is the avant-garde, the other wall is the past, and I want to escape.

Gyorgy Ligeti

I regard criticism as an art, and if in this country and in this age it is practiced with honesty, it is no more remunerative than the work of an avant-garde film artist. My dear anonymous letter writers, if you think it is so easy to be a critic, so difficult to be a poet or a painter or film experimenter, may I suggest you try both? You may discover why there are so few critics, so many poets.

Pauline Kael
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