Avant-garde Provocation

Duchamps’s Ready-Mades are not works of art but manifestations. Not from the form-content totality of the individual object Duchamp signs can one infer the meaning, but only from the contrast between mass-produced object on the one hand, and signature and art exhibit on the other. It is obvious that this kind of provocation cannot be repeated indefinitely. The provocation depends on what it turns agains: here, it is the idea that the individual is the subject of artistic creation.

Peter Bürger, “Theory of the Avant-Garde” in Theory and History of Literature, Volume 4, (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota, 1984), 52.

Notes: The importance of Duchamp’s art stems from the contrast between it and ‘classic’ art – the non avant-garde. This kind of provocation cannot be repeated — therefore, what must one do in order to effectively convey this concept? How could it be achieved today? Is it necessary today?

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