Abstract Critical

The Avant Garde’s Decline and Fall in the 20th Century

In the BBC archive an ‘In Our Time’ from February 1999. Link here.

“Melvyn Bragg examines the social and aesthetic impact of the Avant Garde and discusses whether it has failed in making painting relevant in the 20th century.

Avant-garde is in the dictionary as ‘anything that is in the forefront of new developments in their media’. Jackson Pollack in the 1960s was seen as one of the leaders of Avant Garde painting. But for the Marxist historian Eric Hobsbawm, Jackson Pollack is merely representative of the uncertainty which has plagued the Avant Garde visual arts movements in the twentieth century, and which has led to paintings’ ultimate demise and lack of relevance in the modern age.

With Professor Eric Hobsbawm, eminent historian and author of Behind The Times: The Decline and Fall of the Twentieth Century Avant-Gardes; Frances Morris, specialist in contemporary art and Art Programme Curator for the Tate Gallery of Modern Art.”

  1. Richard Fellows said…

    Having just listened to this In Our Time podcast it strikes me as very curious not least as a social document. A fine clash of disciplines and mutual incomprehension but also a highly dissonant Melvyn Bragg rather overawed being with Hobsbawn. Good to hear Eric H on any topic. Well worth a listen.

  2. Peter Stott said…

    Hobsbawm and Bragg speak from a natural position of ignorance, confusing mediated history with Avant Garde art practice, the still image is at the core of all visual culture, image research is in its infancy, not even a single Malevich drawing can be apprehended fully, at today’s level of technology, never mind Pollock. Attempting to garner knowledge about images, through visual experimentation is therefore still at the cutting edge of research, research that is still ongoing and will be for the foreseeable future

  3. Noela Bewry said…

    It does work.

  4. John said…

    Hello,
    It is an audio broadcast and works for me. When the page opens click on the speaker icon on left side of sceen.

  5. Filip Gudovic said…

    the video doesn’t work . Hope it gets fixed