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‘Beauty’ and the Avant-Garde

The term’ beauty’ in itself is a subjective term that often initiates an emotive reaction that is mired in viewer response as well as associated with ‘traditional’ art. Traditional can be linked with classical themes, motifs and style. The role of beauty in the art of Avant-Garde comes into question when the anti-aesthetic movement, as Hal Foster as extensively researched, associated with avant-garde dominates art historical focus. In fact, the term beauty is avoided in its scholarship in association with many avant-garde artists. By extension the complex layers of ‘anti-aesthetic’ art that school the masses, as Duchamp’s works surely did, became more of a complex study of what is art rather than its aesthetic appeal. Many question the aesthetic value of many avant-garde pieces and focus on its meaning and purpose. Beauty, however, is a principle that was expressed in avant-garde art that went beyond the illusion of naturalism and classical motif that paired beauty with aesthetics. Beauty, rather, was a manifestation of intention and thought that aesthetically caused response in the viewer or audience reciprocating the artists’ intention.


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