AVANT-GARDE

“From Romanticism to modernism, art strives to turn to advantage the autonomy which its commodity status has forced upon it, making a virtue out of grim necessity.  Autonomy in the worrying sense – social functionlessness – is wretched into autonomy in a more productive sense: art as a deliberate turning in on itself, as a mute gesture of resistance to a social order which, in Adorno’s phrase, ‘holds a gun to its head’. Aesthetic autonomy becomes a kind of negative politics”.  (Eagleton, 1990: 370)

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