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Donald Kuspit offers here an innovative psychoanalytic interpretation of avant-garde art, from its origins in the nineteenth century to its demise in the late-twentieth. Avant-garde art, the author argues, is a response to the conditions of modernity, particularly the crowd, which undermines and destroys the artist's sense of self. The avant-garde artist uses psychostrategies in order to restore his sense of self. These include a close identification with his medium, which becomes a 'signature substance' into which he escapes; making hallucinatory art in which he shows his own insanity, which becomes a way of escaping the pseudo-sanity of the crowd; or trying to transcend the crowd altogether by escaping into a world of abstraction, which functions in a religious way to afford an 'oceanic experience'. Drawing on numerous examples of avant-garde art, Kuspit makes extensive use of psychoanalysis, largely from British object-relational theory, to underline and elaborate his ideas. An extensive reinterpretation of Manet, officially the first avant-garde artist, and in whom all the various psychostrategies exist in seminal form, forms a keynote to this study.Read more
- Offers a unique psychoanalytic interpretation of avant-garde art in all of its many forms, disclosing an underlying psychodynamic pattern to it
- Provides a major reinterpretation of Manet, the avant-garde father figure
- Demonstrates that avant-garde art provided a sense of authentic selfhood amidst the instability of the modern world
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- Date Published: August 2000
- format: Hardback
- isbn: 9780521452779
- length: 304 pages
- dimensions: 237 x 162 x 26 mm
- weight: 0.705kg
- contains: 35 b/w illus.
- availability: Unavailable - out of print May 2011
Table of Contents
1. Reasons for anxiety and ambivalence: tradition, sexuality, the crowd
2. The anal universe of the crowd
3. Identification with the medium
Hallucinatory insanity: the way to another reality
5. The geometry of heaven, the energy of angels: to soar at last beyond.
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