Five Faces of Modernity: Modernism, Avant-Garde, Decadence, Kitsch, Postmodernism.
Durham: Duke University Press, 1987. 395p.
THE IDEA OF THE AVANT-GARDE
AVANT-GARDE, DEHUMANIZATION, AND THE END OF IDEOLOGY Historically, the emergence and the development of the avant- garde seem to be closelylinked to the crisis of Man in the modern desacralized world.S 1925, characteristic of new art: Dehumanization Nineteenth century art consisted of fiction of human realities."The antihumanistic urge of writers and artists during the first decades of thetwentieth century was not only a "reaction" (against romanticism or naturalism) but a strangely accurate prophecy. Distorting and often eliminating man's imagefrom their work, disrupting hisnormal vision, dilocating his syntax, the cubistsand the futurists were certainly among the first artists to have the consciousnessthat Man had become an obsolete concept, and that the rhetoric of humanism hadto be discarded."  Q H
Nietzsche, 1880s, announced final demise of Man and advent of the SupermanDeath of God and death of Man (metaphors signifyig the final collapse of humanism under influence of modernity's
saw that modernity recognized that humanism was no longer viable as a doctrine,and that once God was dead, Man too had to clear the stage of history. Leftist critique of humanism in general, seen clearly in MarxDe-individualization of history"Man ...described as ..a bourgeois concept, ideological heritage of revolutionarystruggles of the bourgeoisie against feudalism. In those struggles the concept of Man was used as a weapon against the concept of God, on which the whole feudalsystem of values had been based. But Man--even the most orthodox Marxistwould admit--is only an abstraction. History could not possibly be made by Man:it is a product of class struggle..." [126-7] R
Marxism questions Man's Promethean capability of both making and transcendinghistory. ... Humanism is only an "ideology,"... Not until 1960s - Antihumanistic interpretaion of MarxTheoretical revolution, see humanism's practical function as an ideology; seeMarx's theoretical antihumanism as the precondition of knowledge of the humanworld itself.Marxism's ambiguity between science and ideology makes it elasticMakes it appeal to aesthetically rebellious avant-garde from Dada andsurrealism to diverse neo-avant-garde movements of now (1987).Guglielmi argues that no ideology can any longer give us a convincing rationaleof the whole reality...Existing ideologies can only instruct us how to behave asmen with civil and social responsibilities. Marxism in the West appearls only for social life and action--rejects socialist realismMany neo-avant-garde writers and artists are connected with activities of varous New Left groups derived from Marx - possibly because of its ambiguityCrisis of Man, reached stage of Death of Man, become a philosophical cliché.