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Richard Kostelanetz (1940 - )

Related: art theory - avant-garde - criticism - experimental music - experimental film - avant-garde film

Biography

Richard Cory Kostelanetz (14 May 1940, New York City) is an American artist, author and critic. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Kostelanetz [Aug 2005]

Richardkostelanetz.com

http://www.richardkostelanetz.com/

A Dictionary of the Avant-Gardes (1993) - Richard Kostelanetz

A Dictionary of the Avant-Gardes (1993) - Richard Kostelanetz [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

From Library Journal
Kostelanetz, an independent writer, filmmaker, performing artist, and self-described collective composed of twelve industrious elves, has added 462 pages and an eight-page glossy photo insert to the first edition of this work (LJ 2/15/94). Updates include revised entries and bibliographies, entirely new entries, and helpful new name and subject indexes. Covering artists, performers, movements, and styles from music, film, literature, the visual arts, dance, and theater, the entries demonstrate a unique subjectivity and distinctive flair without sacrificing quality or standards.

Kostelanetz has two main criteria for including avant-garde works: aesthetic innovation and initial unacceptability, plus his own tastes and preferences for art that is extreme, unique, distinct, coherent, witty, technological, and esthetically resonant. Simply choosing Las Vegas as an entry, for example, is in itself interesting; Kostelanetz!s full theory of what is avant-garde emerges as one explores the entries and their Ambrose Bierce$like definitions. The avant-garde aspects of mainstream artists (e.g., John Lennon, Henry Ford, Daryl Dawkins) are also investigated. Web-weary students researching avant-garde art will be quick converts to the pleasures of browsing over surfing if guided to this work by au courant librarians. Since the Dictionary of Art (LJ 9/15/96) has meager coverage of the avant-garde, this book is recommended for all libraries."Marc Meola, Coll. of New Jersey Lib., Ewing --Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to the Hardcover edition. via Amazon.com

From Booklist
In the words of the author, a prolific writer and student of avant-garde topics, "this book was written not just to be consulted but to be read from beginning to end." It draws upon his knowledge of literature, art, architecture, performing arts, movements, and esthetics. He is admittedly opinionated in his judgment of artists and their works. The artists included are mainly twentieth century, with no birth date earlier than Edward Lear's (1812). They include such well-known subjects as Muybridge, Bierce, and Stravinsky and such contemporary figures as environmental-artist Christo and performance-artist Laurie Anderson. The entries for Kinetic Art, Serial Music, Mixed-Means Theater, Zaum (poetry), SoHo, and Something Else Press create a rich image of a period.

Entries are alphabetically arranged, with dates and alternative names. The work is highly readable. One entry leads to another quite seamlessly through the use of asterisks placed after the mention of related entries (e.g., Slonimsky, Nicholas leads to Var{}ese, Edgard; Ives, Charles; Dada; and Constructivism). There are cross-references to appropriate headings, "Kovacs, Ernie see Television." Most entries include one or more references at the end, and the "Postface" includes a bibliography of 19 works consulted. The initials of nine scholars, authors, and critics appear on the entries they have contributed. Small black-and-white photographs add interest.

This work is shaped by names so familiar that, in some cases, they no longer seem avant-garde: Eisenstein in film, James Joyce in literature, Merce Cunningham in dance, Buckminster Fuller in architecture, Mary Quant in fashion, Allen Ginsberg in poetry. Some entries, such as Futurism (Russian), lead to numerous related entries that may be less familiar.

This small volume, bringing together a wealth of information on esthetic innovation, will make avant-garde art more accessible to everyone and will be a welcome addition to art reference collections. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title. --via Amazon.com

Note: Highly personal prose, cross-media (film, criticism, music, visual arts), dislikes the notion that the avant-garde is dead, likes modernism, dislikes postmodernism.

Walter Benjamin entry refers to high modernism, what then is low modernism?. According to the author, "low modernism" is conventional mass-merchandized culture.

Richard admires Gertrude Stein and James Joyce.

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