Alternatives in Retrospect: An Historical Overview 1969-1975 (1981)

29 December 2018, dusan

“An examination of the activities and influence of seven ‘alternative spaces’ active in New York City from the late-1960s to mid-1970s, including Gain Ground, Apple, 98 Green Street, 112 Green Street Workshop, 10 Bleecker Street, Idea Warehouse, and 3 Mercer. Most of them received little outside or institutional funding and all reflect the changing definition of “alternative space” over the decade. Preface by Marcia Tucker, with introduction by Jacki Apple, and essay by Mary Delahoyd. Includes Directors’ and artists’ statements. Published on occasion of the exhibition Alternatives in Retrospect: An Historical Overview 1969-1975.

Publisher New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York, 1981
LCCN 8181185
52 pages


PDF, PDF (38 MB)

Peter Bürger: Theory of the Avant-Garde (1974–) [DE, EN, ES, PT]

23 March 2014, dusan

“In this volume, Peter Bürger formulates a theory of the ‘institution of art’. He argues that the social status of literature and art cannot be explained by making simple, direct links between the contents of individual works and social history. Rather, he holds, it is the social status of art, its function and prestige in society, that provides the connection between the individual art work and history. Bürger’s concept of the institution of art establishes a framework within which a work of art is both produced and received.

The French and German literary and visual avant-garde of the 1920s provides the test of Bürger’s theory. Focusing on the role of the artistic manifesto and, particularly, on the collage as an art form, he shows how avant-garde movements questioned the autonomous, self-referential status of art in bourgeois society and thus represented a radical break with the aestheticism of high modernism. Bürger attacks metaphysical aesthetics and argues instead for a materialistic aesthetic theory for today, one that is rooted in the reality of the social sphere. His theory calls into question any conventional concept of art derived from Romantic notions of organic unity.

Theory of the Avant-Garde provoked such discussion in Germany that its publisher, Suhrkamp Verlag, issued a book of responses that was more than twice the size of Bürger’s own book.” (from the back cover)

German edition
Publisher Suhrkamp, Frankfurt am Main, 1974
Second edition, 1993
147 pages

English edition
Translated by Michael Shaw
Foreword by Jochen Schulte-Sasse
Publisher University of Minnesota Press, 1984
Theory of History and Literature series, 4
ISBN 0816610673
134 pages

Reviews: Benjamin Buchloh (Art in America, 1984), Leah Ulansey (MLN, 1984), Daglind Sonolet (Telos, 1984), Michael T. Jones (German Quarterly, 1986).

Publisher (DE)
Publisher (EN)

Theorie der Avantgarde (German, 2nd ed., 1974/1993, updated on 2017-4-9)
Theory of the Avant-Garde (English, 1984, assembled from various sources, no OCR, updated to full version on 2014-5-12 via Charles, updated to OCR version on 2016-1-23 via a2, 12 MB)
Teoría de la vanguardia (Spanish, trans. Jorge García, 1987), 3rd edition (2000, 51 MB)
Teoria da vanguarda (Portuguese, trans. Ernesto Sampaio, 1993)

See also Bürger’s essay Avant-Garde and Neo-Avant-Garde: An Attempt to Answer Certain Critics of Theory of the Avant-Garde, 2010.

Howard S. Becker: Art Worlds (1982)

16 February 2014, dusan

This classic sociological examination of art as collective action explores the cooperative network of suppliers, performers, dealers, critics, and consumers who—along with the artist—”produce” a work of art. Howard S. Becker looks at the conventions essential to this operation and, prospectively, at the extent to which art is shaped by this collective activity. He draws examples from music, drama, dance, literature, film, and the visual arts.

“Maybe the years I spent playing the piano in taverns in Chicago and elsewhere led me to believe that the people who did that mundane work were as important to an understanding of art as the better-known players who produced the recognized classics of jazz. Growing up [..] may have led me to think that the craftsman who help make art works areas important as the people who conceive them. My rebellious temperament may be the cause of a congenital antielitism. Learning the ‘Chicago tradition’ of sociology from Everett C. Hughes and Herbert Blumer surely led to a skepticism about conventional definitions of the objects of sociological study.” (from Preface)

Publisher University of California Press, 1982
ISBN 0520043863, 9780520043862
392 pages
via drebubbles

Review: Michael S. Kimmel (American Journal of Sociology, 1983)


PDF (44 MB, updated to OCR’d version on 2014-2-17 via Marcell Mars)