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Related: anti- - art - anti-film - parody - subversion - transgressive art

Contrast: seriousness

Connoisseurs: Hal Foster - Hans Richter

Sleep (1963) by Andy Warhol and Howlings in Favor of de Sade (1952) by Guy Debord belong to the "anti-film" category, John Cage's 4' 33'' (1952) belongs to the category "anti-music" and Marcel Duchamp's Fountain (1917) belongs to the category "anti-art". [Jun 2006]


Anti-art is the definition of a work which is exhibited or delivered in a conventional context but makes fun of serious art or challenges the nature of art. The term is attributed to the French-American artist Marcel Duchamp, whose 1917 work Fountain a urinal was a prime example of the genre.

The term is also used to describe other intentionally provocative art forms, such as nonsense verse.

Mail-Art is also connected to anti-art. Mail-Art operates outside the official art world and is sent from artist to artist. Exhibitions and publications of mail-art are also often arranged outside the art world. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-art [Jan 2006]

Dada as anti-art

According to its proponents, Dada was not art; it was anti-art. For everything that art stood for, Dada was to represent the opposite. Where art was concerned with aesthetics, Dada ignored them. If art is to have at least an implicit or latent message, Dada strives to have no meaning--interpretation of Dada is dependent entirely on the viewer. If art is to appeal to sensibilities, Dada offends. Perhaps it is then ironic that Dada is a precursor to modern art. Dada became a commentary on art and the world, thus becoming art itself. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dadaism#An_anti-art_movement.3F [Sept 2004]

The Anti-Aesthetic: Essays on Postmodern Culture (1983) - Hal Foster

  • The Anti-Aesthetic: Essays on Postmodern Culture (1983) - Hal Foster [Amazon.com]
    A handsome new edition of the seminal collection of late-twentieth-century cultural criticism. Named a Best Book of the Year by the Village Voice and considered a bible of contemporary cultural criticism, The Anti-Aesthetic is reissued now in a handsome new paperback edition. For the past twenty years, Hal Foster has pushed the boundaries of cultural criticism, establishing a vantage point from which the seemingly disparate agendas of artists, patrons, and critics have a telling coherence. In The Anti-Aesthetic, preeminent critics such as Jean Baudrillard, Rosalind Krauss, Fredric Jameson, and Edward Said consider the full range of postmodern cultural production, from the writing of John Cage, to Cindy Sherman's film stills, to Barbara Kruger's collages. With a redesigned cover and a new afterword that situates the book in relation to contemporary criticism, The Anti-Aesthetic provides a strong introduction for newcomers and a point of reference for those already engaged in discussions of postmodern art, culture, and criticism. New afterword by Hal Foster; 12 b/w photographs.

    Dada: Art and Anti-Art (1965) - Hans Richter

  • Dada: Art and Anti-Art (1965) - Hans Richter [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
    "Where and how Dada began is almost as difficult to determine as Homer's birthplace," writes Hans Richter, who was associated with the movement from its early days. Here, through selections from key manifestos and other documents of the time, he records Dada's history, from its beginnings in wartime Zurich to its collapse in the Paris of the 1920s. Dada led on from Expressionism, Cubism, and Futurism, and in turn prepared the way for Surrealism. It was enlivened by bizarre and extravagant personalities, notably Tristan Tzara, Francis Picabia, Hans Arp, Kurt Schwitters, Marcel Duchamp, Max Ernst, and Man Ray, whose contributions are fully discussed. The spirit of Dada reappeared in the 1960s in movements such as Pop Art, which are surveyed in the final section. --amazon.com
    The late Hans Richter was well known as both a painter, a filmmaker, and sire of the Dada movementborn in Zurich around the time of the First World War. Here, through selections from key manifestos and other documents of the time, is Dada's history, including its "death" in the 1920s and reincarnation during the '60s. Hans Richter died in 1976. 179 illus. 8 in color. --Ingram

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