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Architecture since 1400$
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Kathleen James-Chakraborty

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780816673964

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816673964.001.0001

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Inventing the Avant-Garde

Inventing the Avant-Garde

Chapter:
(p.342) 22 Inventing the Avant-Garde
Source:
Architecture since 1400
Author(s):

Kathleen James-Chakraborty

Publisher:
University of Minnesota Press
DOI:10.5749/minnesota/9780816673964.003.0022

This chapter focuses on the invention of avant-garde architecture. The avant-garde emerged in mid-nineteenth-century Europe, particularly France, as artists, architects, writers, and their supporters rebelled against the institutionalized taste that produced buildings that were uninspired versions of Schinkel’s Altes Museum or Garnier’s Paris Opera. The avant-garde’s distance from conventional taste, however, often alienated working-class and middle-class audiences. Many architects found this distance necessary in order to establish the distinctiveness of their individual genius, which remained important to many of them even at the height of interest in an anonymous machine aesthetic in the 1920s. Avant-garde architecture was always in danger of being merely fashionable rather than fulfilling its own promise of contributing to a better future by harnessing technology to improve housing conditions in particular. At the same time, avant-garde architects were remarkably successful in creating an architecture that was widely accepted to have captured the spirit of their time.

Keywords:   avant-garde architecture, modernism, modern movement, art nouveau

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