Behind the Times: The Decline and Fall of the Twentieth-century Avant-gardes
Thames and Hudson, 1998 - 48 Seiten
Does modern art, as the art of the past always did, "express the times, " or is it a series of willful aberrations? Do we have any way of judging its success or failure?
Bypassing art criticism and art theory, Britain's foremost social historian approaches the question from an entirely new angle. Professor Hobsbawm's thesis is that, unlike writers and composers, who have to come to terms with mass production and the technology of infinite repetition, painters still cling to the unique art-object, the product of the artist's own hands. The result has been a succession of increasingly desperate "avant-gardes, " attempts to find relevance and meaning that -- irrespective of the individual artist's talent -- are doomed to failure.
Eric Hobsbawm is Emeritus Professor of Economics and Social History at the University of London. An unrepentant Marxist, he has succeeded in uniting original scholarship with popular appeal, and his most recent book, The Age of Extremes, is influential in shaping the way the century is seen by both professional historians and the wider educated public.