Olga Taxidou observes that, ‘the concept of performance [has] remained singularly connected to the critical legacies of the historical avant-garde and stubbornly ignored in canonical readings of literary Modernism’. Indeed, the concept of performance still presents significant challenges to the theorisation and periodization of modernism as we know it. Yet, this provides a fertile opportunity to critically reflect upon the ways in which artists responded to / conceived of / theorised modernity in the performing arts, so as to revise / refine our theoretical understanding of twentieth-century culture and politics. The debate concerning how these responses to modernity in the performing arts of the early to mid-twentieth century accord with or trouble our understanding of the relations between modernism and the avant-garde is thus a question that still warrants critical scrutiny.Continue reading “Modernist and Avant-Garde Performance: Call for Papers”
In an interview with Arts and Decoration magazine 1915, Marcel Duchamp praised the ‘scientific spirit’ of Seurat and Cezanne, then predicted that ‘the twentieth century is to be still more abstract, more cold, more scientific’. In this, he was presented as an ‘iconoclast’, providing a dramatic new perspective on art. Yet, a wide range of modernist writers and artists witnessed and responded to a world in which scientific innovation was impossible to ignore. Continue reading “Modernism and Science: Call for Papers”
Content warning: police brutality
Modernist studies has been slow to respond to urgent calls for reform within white-dominated higher education: to decolonise, to diversify, to include. 2020 has witnessed the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, the shooting of Jacob Blake and so many more, which have sparked a global sense of urgency in the fight against racial injustice. Modernist studies must acknowledge and examine white modernism’s difficult history of racism, and align itself with the Black Lives Matter movement and active anti-racism work within higher education. These imperatives are not new: students, educators and activists have been calling for decolonisation, diversification and inclusion in the academy for decades.
Margaret Anderson once advertised ‘THE LITTLE REVIEW IS IMMORTAL’ and suggested that readers should subscribe ‘If you want to keep eternally young’. Yet, for its final issue in 1929, Jane Heap counter-claimed that the ‘23 new systems of art’ the magazine had championed were ‘(all now dead)’. Hyperbole, sure, but the rapid swing between immortality and death speaks to some of the ways modernism has been characterised as late before it even began.