Avant Garde and Kitsch

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Avant Garde, one of the words I haven’t grasped easily just like the others as they all tend to go into deeper meaning and use complicated longwinded words that take me ages to understand the definition. Maybe I’m just a person who appreciates the basics of an image or whatever and doesn’t like going deeper – a bit like a cat being put in a cat cage, all arms and legs fully out whilst the owner trying push me into that small cage. But I’ll have a go but again if I’ve got this totally round my neck I apologies now!

Avant Garde as a signifier connoting style shows the wacky ‘out there’ creations. It poses their own style to create art that opposes the main stream current state of quo. An example of this are movements through time:

Pop Art

Whaam! 1963 by Roy Lichtenstein 1923-1997
Roy Lichtenstein 1923 – 1997 – Whaam!

Whaam! was created by Roy Lichtenstein  using oil and acrylic resin on canvas, a bold and colourful piece that is showing the shooting down of a jet. The movement that gave hope and optimism during post war consumer boom in the 1950’s to 60’s. During the popular demand of the Beatles and Elvis it’s showed art that was hip and popular with young culture at the time.Using bold colours and shapes it was made for the masses culture, media and production. Although it came in many forms and materials from all over the world which was different compared to other movements.


Pablo Picasso – Weeping Woman 1881 – 1973

Created using oil on Canvas it is a very bright and colourful piece of work. Picasso was the first person along side Georges Braque to create a abstract style of modern art. Avant Garde – they went against the traditional perspectives of a painting and aimed for showing different angles at once, heavily influenced by African Masks.


screaming man
Edvard Munch 1893 – The Scream

Expressionism was the movement where expression and emotion influenced the painting using colours and lines rather than the typical perspectives and the literal interpretation of the topic. Created by the artist Edvard Munch in 1893 using oil, tempera and pastel on board. With distorted perspectives and vivid colours it is Munch screaming out into the wilderness. It’s quite scary!

These are just a few movements that has happened in the past. Clement Greenberg comments ‘ The function of avant grade was not to experiment but to find a path along which it would be possible to keep culture moving in the midst of ideological confuse and violence’ (Advant Garde and Kitsch, Pg. 49) The last big Advant Garde mainstream change was Pop Art with the creators such as Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein (I love Lichtenstein work!).


Meaning cheap, tacky, art that is for decoration and for mass production. Art work that was for people to put up on the wall and not really understand the meaning behind it. It is a culture for the masses that enjoy kitsch without the effort.

Ok, I hope that I have covered at least something of this topic and that it is right. I understand it more than before but relating it to todays world I think it will be quite hard to create another niche that was as big as Pop Art or expressionism as most things have been done. Although how do we know that as we can’t see into the future and something that might rise and all we can say is ‘why didn’t I think of that!’


Cubism, [internet]. Available from: http://www.artyfactory.com/art_appreciation/art_movements/cubism.htm, [Accessed 12 February 2014, 11.07am].

Expressionism, [internet]. Available from: http://www.artyfactory.com/art_appreciation/art_movements/expressionism.htm, [Accessed 12 February 2014, 11.18am].

2000, Pollock and After: The Critical Debate, London: Paul Chapman Publishing Ltd.

2004, Roy Lichtenstein Whamm! 1963, [internet]. Available from: http://www.tate.org.uk/art/images/work/T/T00/T00897_10.jpg, [Accessed 12 February 2014, 10.57am].

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