Tonight! The Idea of the Avant Garde - And What It Means Today: Book Launch, Presentation, Q&A

Join us tonight at 7 p.m. for the launch of The Idea of the Avant Garde - And What It Means Today, edited by Montreal author and cultural theorist Marc James Léger. A presentation by Marc James Léger will be followed by a Q&A. The event is free and open to the public.

The Idea of the Avant Garde - And What It Means Today brings together 50 intellectuals and artists from different generations of practice - 60s and 70s neo-avant-gardes, 80s and 90s postmodernists and 2000s activists - to reflect on the significance of the avant garde idea in a world of creative industries, precarious labour and neoliberal austerity. The book is conceived as a bridge between contemporary activist art and the various forms of critical autonomy that are part of the legacies of radical art. Tracing diverse genealogies and trajectories, the book offers a forum of ideas that covers different arts fields, from visual art, art activism, photography, film and architecture, to literature, theatre, performance, intermedia and music.

“The avant garde never gives up! Léger’s excellent anthology gives ample proof that the struggle to bring aesthetic transformation to everyday life, and to bring everyday struggles into aesthetic transformation is alive and well and taking on ever new forms. Every aspiring avant-gardist could learn a thing or two from this book. Study it, steal from it, stick it in the blender and concoct your mix with some new ingredients. The world needs the avant-garde spirit now more than ever.”
– McKenzie Wark, author of A Hacker Manifesto and The Spectacle of Disintegration

In the age of deception, when everything presents itself as something else, where militants perform as artists and business people imagine themselves as revolutionaries, can we still recognize the ‘avant garde’? This highly informative anthology engages several generations of artists and thinkers to question the meaning and identity of the avant garde in a post-everything world of blurred horizons, distorted perspectives, and disguised authorities.”
– Eda Čufer, dramaturg and founding member of NSK

Book Contributors:

Adrian Piper, Andrea Fraser, David Tomas, Catherine Lescarbeau, Hal Foster, Laura Mulvey, Bruce LaBruce, Santiago Sierra, Derek Horton, Richard Kostelanetz, Christine Wertheim, Lyn Hejinian, Marjorie Perloff, Wu Ming, Nikolaus Müller-Schöll, Rabih Mroué, Judith Malina, Moe Angelos, Bill Brown, The Errorist International, Jonas Mekas, Thomas Elsaesser, Alexander Kluge, Travis Wilkerson, Evan Mauro, Mikkel Bolt Rasmussen, Gene Ray, John Roberts, Zanny Begg and Dmitry Vilensky, Owen Hatherley, Michael Webb, Mitchell Joachim, Beatriz Colomina, Boris Groys, Vitaly Komar, Victor Tupitsyn, Gregory Sholette and Krzysztof Wodiczko, Marc James Léger, Critical Art Ensemble, BAVO, Alexei Monroe, Jean-Hervé Péron, Chris Cutler, Charles Gaines, Jason Robinson, Sara Marcus, Cosey Fanni Tutti, Thanos Chrysakis, Kim Cascone, Marc Couroux, Thérèse Mastroiacovo, Chrysi Papaioannou, Bill Dane

Marc James Léger is an independent scholar living in Montreal. He has published essays in cultural theory in several places, including Afterimage, Art Journal, C Magazine, Etc, FUSE, InterJournal of Aesthetics and Protest, Canadian Journal of Film Studies, Left Curve, On Curating, Parachute, Public, RACAR, Radical Criminology and Third Text. He is editor of Bruce Barber’s collected essays and interviews in Performance, [Performance] and Performers (YYZBOOKS, 2007) as well as in Littoral Art and Communicative Action (Common Ground, 2013). He is author of Brave New Avant Garde (2012) and The Neoliberal Undead (2013), both from Zero Books, and Drive In Cinema: Essays on Film, Theory and Politics (forthcoming 2015). He is editor of Culture and Contestation in the New Century (2011) and with David Tomas of the forthcoming Zapantera Negra Odyssey, a book on artistic collaboration between the Black Panthers and Zapatistas.

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