Art is Dead. Long Live Rock! Avant-Gardism and Rock Music, 1967-99

Lindau, Elizabeth Ann, Department of Music, University of Virginia
Maus, Fred, Department of Music, University of Virginia

Avant-garde artistic movements have been portrayed as elitist, irrelevant, or simply dead. But rock music's persistent interaction with avant-garde composition, art, and literature since the late 1960s suggests otherwise. The recent explosion of discourse on "Avant Rock" in the popular press implies that the concept of an avant-garde and the innovations of twentieth century artistic movements still hold meaning for rock fans and critics. At a time when many scholars have questioned the utility, or even the possibility of an avant-garde, this music and the popular discourse surrounding it attest avantgardism's continued relevance. This dissertation profiles four artists commonly (self-) identified as avant-garde. While they conform to "high" art notions of "the avant-garde" through art school education, classical music training, or collaborations with recognized experimental artists, these case studies also challenge and expand scholarly narratives of avant-gardism and its fate.

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PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
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