eipcp News
02 2012

Marc James Léger: Brave New Avant Garde

Essays on Contemporary Art and Politics

Brave New Avant Garde is a collection of essays that ask the question: what is an adequate model of contemporary avant garde practice and what are its theoretical premises?   Brave New Avant Garde stands in opposition to the view that radical practice has no other future than its reduction to the workings of the free market in the form of the simple process of cultural production or to variations on the cultural politics of representation.  Today's avant garde, formed in the wake of the end of the Soviet Union and the rise of the anti-globalization movement, represents a counter-power that rejects the inevitability of capitalist integration.  The way out for artists in today's world of creative industries is defined in these pages as a psychoanalytically informed sinthomeopathic practice.

Léger gathers up what remains of the avant garde’s once-vaunted radicality and hurls it into a whirling Žižekian accelerator. Like a “pervert’s guide” to contemporary art, Brave New Avant Garde reveals a multitude of interventionist practices and rapidly revolving dark particles that in light of recent events in Tunisia and Egypt no longer appear exotic, but instead vibrate prognostic, as if heralding the dawn of a sweeping phase change in twenty-first century art and politics.
Gregory Sholette, author of Dark Matter: Art and Politics in the Age of Enterprise Culture

In this critical tour de force, Marc Léger successfully exposes the contradictions that animate contemporary art and that govern the actions of those who “participate in the game of culture” in the age of neoliberalism. And yet Léger is not content to simply critique, he also proposes alternatives through the medium of his concept of a sinthomeopathic cultural praxis, the product of a successful act of balancing on and moving along a pro-avant-gardist tightrope woven of recent politically and socially engaged art practices.
David Tomas, author of Beyond the Image Machine: A History of Visual Technologies

Marc James Léger’s informed and thought-provoking analysis of critical art practices and related theories provides essential orientation for anyone looking for ways to resist and subvert what Peter McLaren has defined as the two thieves of capitalism and representative democracy.
Oliver Ressler, artist and filmmaker, author of Alternative Economics, Alternative Societies

Marc James Léger: Brave New Avant Garde. Essays on Contemporary Art and Politics
Winchester, UK; Washington, USA: zero books 2012