I find it almost too fitting to select an art work with the provocative title L’avant-garde ne se rend pas (The Avant-Garde Won’t Give Up) to breathe new life and energy into my blog. Ever since the end of my sabbatical last summer, I have waited for the right moment to recommit to my minimum weekly postings, fully aware that the health of any public blog relies upon two key elements— consistency and content. Life has indeed been hectic and in transformation the past year, professionally and personally, and with a range of writing and research projects coming to a close, or at least within a more manageable framework, I am excited to finally recommit to this labour of love that is my blog. Coincidentally, my reboot date, March 3rd, coincides with artist Asger Jorn’s birthday and the selection of this particular work of which art writer Rachel Wetzler has written:
“[as a] found flea-market canvases overlain with childlike doodles and gestural marks, it is a vulgarized portrait of a young girl, redolent of Biedermeier kitsch, to which Jorn has added slightly menacing stick figures and, in a pastiche of Duchamp, a moustache. The titular slogan, scrawled nearly illegibly across the canvas, is insistently ambiguous, ostensibly proclaiming a sincere, ongoing commitment to the avant-garde project while simultaneously mocking its failure to upend much of anything.”
I smiled from ear to ear when I read this description, for it speaks directly to the way I feel about this little corner of the internet that Avant-Guardian Musings has inhabited since September 2010. And here, I want to extend a special thanks to students, friends, and colleagues who have shown such enthusiasm and interest in my blog over the years. In the spirit of Jorn’s 1962 work, L’avant-garde ne se rend pas, an assemblage work that consists of placing markings on a found painting to spark a re-evaluation of its content, my blog has existed from the very beginning as a space of contemplation, of musings. It is my sincere commitment to the avant-garde project and its legacies, impacts, and possible futures that my project belongs. At the same time, I do not pretend that much is achieved through this blog’s existence (especially with respect to how academic ideas are officially valued and given circulation), but I am fully satisfied that this media format, and the content I offer to those who find and read this space, can perhaps inspire and spark a new way of seeing and thinking about the world around us.