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  • The Normalisation of the Avant-Garde

    Hans Hayden

    Chapter from the book: Hayden, H. 2018. Modernism as Institution: On the Establishment of an Aesthetic and Historiographic Paradigm.


    The key premise of The Normalisation of the Avant-Garde is that the period following the Second World War brought with it a fundamental change in the way modern art was understood and described; and that it was at this time that Modernism was normalised and institutionalised in the prevailing normative systems of the West. As is made readily apparent in the application of concepts such as “normalisation” and “institutionalisation”, the post-war period brought with it social, discursive, intellectual and historiographic shifts in the conditions of modern art. What became institutionalised were not only a set of aesthetic criteria and stylistic idioms but also a considerably more extensive and more authoritative interpretation of the art of the modern era – both in contemporary and historical terms. Moreover, what normalisation means in this context is that not only was a particular way of seeing entrenched in the system of norms of the dominant culture but a certain form of representation/narration was also gradually adopted as a premise whose ideological criteria and historically specific circumstances were concealed behind a notion of its universal applicability. These intellectual and ideological aspects of “the institution” are just as important as its social, economic and material infrastructure.

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    How to cite this chapter
    Hayden, H. 2018. The Normalisation of the Avant-Garde. In: Hayden, H, Modernism as Institution. Stockholm: Stockholm University Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.16993/bar.2

    This is an Open Access chapter distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (unless stated otherwise), which permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. Copyright is retained by the author(s).

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    Published on Sept. 20, 2018


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