From Marginal to Horizontal Art History? The Case of the Avant-Garde in the Nordic Countries

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapterResearchpeer-review

Peter Bürger famously pronounced the death of the avant-garde after World War II. In the Nordic countries, however, the chronology looks different. While individual artists and groups of artists joined the prewar avant-garde movements in central Europe, native avant-garde movements mainly sprang up during the postwar period. The Cobra group (1949-1951), initiated by Asger Jorn, was the first transnational avant-garde group to emerge from Denmark.
From the perspective of what Piotr Piotrowski described as Vertical Art History, regional movements outside Paris and Berlin in the prewar period and New York in the postwar period have generally been regarded as belated, watered-down versions of the “real” avant-garde. More recent avant-garde studies tend to modify the centralist views of both Bürger and traditional art and cultural history, arguing that the mono-linear aesthetic development of art assumed in such accounts cannot be upheld in the light of empirical studies of avant-garde networks, transnational and comparative research of historical and political contexts and recent poststructuralist theory.
Drawing on examples from the four volumes of the Cultural History of the Avant-Garde in the Nordic Countries currently under publication, my paper discusses these contrary views of “marginal” countries and art.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Avant-Garde. Aesthetic Strategies and Participatory Art
EditorsJakub Kornhauser
Number of pages14
PublisherJagiellonian University Press
Publication statusUnpublished - 2019
Seriesawangarda/rewizje series

    Research areas

  • Faculty of Humanities - art history, marginal art, horizontal art history, Nordic avant-garde

ID: 212506799