The Art and Life of George Grosz: A Live Discussion with Barbara McCloskey (Online Group Video Session – September 8th 2020)July 13, 2020
Exploding Appendix are about to produce an online multimedia publication dedicated to compiling research on the past, present and future of the avant-garde. Each issue will focus on a different theme that we deem, in some sense, relevant to our cause. Research for us can range from engaged intellectual and philosophical essays and interviews to pieces of creative practices themselves. Alongside more ‘conventional articles’ we welcome poetry, prose, music, photography, illustration, comics, films and anything that experiments with the conventions of the serial publication to advance it into the digital age.
Our opening publication starts with the triad of themes that we see as central to the concept of the avant-garde: REVOLUTION*ART*MANIFESTO. For us, these terms taken together provide a foundation for thinking through the history of modern art.
From the French Revolution, where the term avant-garde, with all its military overtones, finds its seedlings, to the turmoil, upheavals and revolutions that occasioned the early twentieth century, revolution has been the making of art and art has been the making of revolutions. This is not to say that all experimental art has been accompanied by radical politics, in some cases quite the contrary, but somehow they are not completely separated: the revolutionary pageantry of Jacques-Louis David; the militant vision of ‘art as communal luxury’ of the Paris Commune; the political aestheticism of Wilde, Morris and Lefargue; the radical experiments of constructivists and proletkultists in the Russian Revolution; Berlin Dadaism in the German Revolution; surrealism and communism in France; Trotsky and the Mexican avant-garde; the Situationist International’s détournement of the city; the international upheavals of ‘68. The list is far from exhausted. It could go on into the often overlooked enclaves of art and history. Yet these examples, at the very least, suggest a potent site of cross-pollination.
Yet despite the political nature of this ‘new art’, art is not subsumed by the political to such an extent that it becomes mere propaganda. Art becomes radical in its form, not merely its content. In a world of upheaval, in a moment where nature itself must be remade, the nature of art is transformed. Art is enmeshed and melded into a new form, to give breath to a new being.
In this reconstruction of art, the manifesto emerges as the artform par excellence! The long march of modernity as figured in Luther’s 95 Theses or Marx and Engels’ The Communist Manifesto are reconfigured as an aesthetic medium. The manifesto becomes not merely a call to arms, but a site for formal experimentation – a dangerous subversive document that strikes at the heart of bourgeois conformism.
Deadline For Proposals: September 15th 2020
Deadline: October 30th 2020
Additional Submissions Notes:
Exploding Appendix is a grassroots group based in Brighton [UK] that meets fortnightly, in addition to our website. Our goal is to help cultivate a community that is conscious of how its artistic practices can be used for positive social ends. We work with people from many different backgrounds, in the arts and outside of the arts, in academia and outside of academia, working across art mediums and intellectual disciplines or not working in any at all. It is precisely by drawing upon such a wide spectrum of influences that we want to come together, share and have fun in order to build an important foundation for our intellectual and cultural engagements.
We take our starting point from the history of avant-garde art and radical counter-culture. We are interested in the radical potential for art, all arts, to envision and invent the future, but we hold no fetish for the history of avant-garde art. Just as the avant-gardists used the arts to respond to the demands of their own time, we draw upon the history of art, and our own artistic practice, to address concerns and problems relevant to us. Likewise, we do not limit ourselves to art. We understand that when we critically engage with art and society we are drawn to assess science, philosophy, technology, politics, religion, society and personal life in order to influence how we interpret our aesthetic experiences and creations.
We welcome essays, interviews, book or art reviews, creative writing, visual essays and more unconventional pieces. Topics usually explored in a more conventionally academic context are most certainly welcome, however, we would encourage you to write in a way that is accessible to people of very different backgrounds and disciplines. Likewise, we welcome writers from a vast array of backgrounds and approaches, both within and outside of academia.
If you are interested in submitting an article of any kind, please send a brief abstract up to 500 words to email@example.com.