Avant garde means "advance guard." some say that since John Cage, there is no avant garde in music since there are no more rules to break, but there are clearly still musicians who search, disturb and explore at the expense of commercial success, and those who don't.

Refers to those who engage in experimental and unorthodox activities, interests, behaviors, and creations. They are usually seen as advanced, (usually in their own minds, but by sometimes others) as compared with others with similar areas interests.

Avant Garde. This is a human inclination that explores areas of human experience which have not been widely assimilated by the general populous. As such this could include literally any activity or field of endeavor - even seemingly familiar fields - so long as the avant garde individual is exploring something in such a way that is not widely known to have been explored in the past in the way that the individual is exploring it. This searching individual, in order to be avant garde, discovers fresh perspectives which expand and enliven the field of activity in which he/she is working

Normally the avant garde, as it relates to culture is associated with a group movement toward a utopian futuristic goal or ideal which has traditionally been stated in a manifesto. There are continual adaptations and reorientations of the avant garde which are often articulated in these manifestos.

It had been my intention to attack this response to the avant garde by shredding this paper into strips and taping the pieces back together in the “wrong” order, or using only monosyllabic words. These efforts, however, by being insincere mockeries, would necessarily be uninspired and derivative. Which is not to say they would not also be avant-garde. By challenging the institution of the academic paper, casting off its rules, the requisite structure, the "high" language typically associated with it, I would pull down the heavy glass separating the academic artist from the rest of the world.

But as a graduate student attending one of the most expensive institutions in one of the world’s richest nations, I am by writing a "traditional" paper producing an example of autonomous bourgeois art, precisely, according to Peter Burger’s Theory of the Avant Garde (49), what the avant-garde sought to sublate. The issue of autonomy is no simple matter, indicating a separateness from the "praxis of life" while at the same time historically resulting from it—an inherent and intertwined contradiction only a deconstructionist could love—but by having both the time and means to produce this paper, inaccessible to the majority and wholly separate from the praxis of life of anyone whose life does not consist of reading such things, I am guilty of creating a functionless, detached museum piece.

For which I had best keep an eye out for FT Marinetti, who in the Futurist Manifesto paints a portrait of himself and his followers as heading to such institutions with lit torches and raised pickaxes (50). I might be able to avoid his blows if a sufficient number of students produced identical responses, enough to call them mass-produced, thereby eliminating the "category of individual creation," which Bürger claims is another avant-garde goal (51).

But whether this leap out of the Futurist frying pan would land me in the Vorticist fire is difficult to ascertain; the Blast Manifesto desires specifically, in all capitals, to appeal to the individual. It wishes to make individuals (2194), interestingly enough on a national if not global scale, and all of them creating art.

Having that many individual voices clamoring at once is another crucial tenet of the avant-garde; it need not, best not, always agree with itself. The "classical" works, as the word classical has been used to describe the 19th Century realist novels, had a somewhat uniform way of doing things, a most deplorable sort of standardization of linear progression guided by an omniscient narrator. The avant-garde could not approach the subjects of art and the world with any kind of operational unity; its goals demand internal discord, infighting, the artistic energy generated from intense disagreement. The two manifestos agree on this, if nothing else—politeness, civility, mannerism, all are detrimental to the cause.

As is widespread acceptance of its works or message. Too many urinals on display at the Whitney—perhaps even just the one—signal the absorption of the commentary into the institution. The avant-garde cannot become the standard, the measure. Therefore, it must, as Marinetti looks forward to (51), constantly turn on itself, burn its own scrolls every few years in order to prevent their institutionalization. Nothing can remain truly "avant-garde" for very long, unless that title is used more to define a period than a practice. A realist novel is always a realist novel. The avant-garde artist must with general acceptance ultimately lose his status and await his own sublation.

The avant-garde is very aware of what is going on around it in "the arts" (a designation it likewise despises), or tries to be. It takes a frequently non-subtle and highly visible approach to challenging tradition. In muted solidarity, I have typed this response on paper orientated upside-down and backwards.

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Where's Webster when you need him?

A French term meaning "front guard", or "advance guard." It should be hyphenated; avant-garde. The unhyphenated form is becoming more and more popular, but beware pedantic professors -- they'll want it written the traditional way. Pronunciation is highly flexible, even in Webster's book; avan gard, avon gard, avant gard, and avan(t) gaud are all acceptable.

This was originally applied to advance military forces. It came to the English language in the 1600s, and somewhere around 1900 it began to be used in the non-military sense. These days it's used to mean a group that uses original, unique, unorthodox, and/or experimental ideas or techniques. Avant-garde generally implies that the group is ahead of its time. It is most often applied to the arts.

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