The big books about the avant-garde are also retrospective. Renato Poggioli gave us The Theory of the Avant-Garde, which is a dry book about the Romantics, and Rosalind Krauss wrote a book to show that the avant-garde was a modernist myth.* I am tempted to say that the post-avant-garde is then a postmodernist myth, but I’m not here to argue theory.
I am a painter, so I want to be practical about the situation. The various accounts of our condition that I have read have struck me as either hysterically reactionary or irresponsibly giddy. People decide that art is either dead or immortal, but no one wants to admit that it might be a little sick.
To remedy the situation, I am going to take a very simple position on the avant-garde. I stole it from Fairfield Porter, who said the avant-garde was always just the people with the most energy. The question for us is what should these energetic people do now? How should we advance? To answer this question, I am going to talk about rectangles.
more from n+1 here.