Aesthetics Wiki

Avant-garde is an idea that refers to innovative or experimental concepts or works, or the group of people producing them. Pushing boundaries with his development of Cubism, Pablo Picasso was part of the early 20th-century art world’s avant-garde.

In French, avant-garde means the "vanguard" or the "advance guard" — basically the people whose ideas and techniques that are ahead of their time or in advance of those generally known or accepted. Usually it refers to a movement in the arts, like Dadaism, or in politics, like anarchism. The term can also be used as an adjective to describe something that’s cutting-edge. Avant-garde design has traditionally made up only a small percentage of manufactured goods, yet its influence on the history of design has been enormous. Generally, works and ideas of this type have had an impact far beyond the audiences made of small circles for whom they were primarily intended. Usually, some years must pass for an avant-garde concept or design to catch up. For example, Marcel Breuer's pioneering tubular metal furniture from the late 1920s and 1930s was not nearly as widely accepted in its own day as it was in the 1960s and 70s. The work of the avant-garde is frequently given the adjective "New" - New Art, Art Nouveau, New Wave - to describe its forward-looking agenda.


Avant-garde music is music that is considered to be at the forefront of experimentation or innovation in its field, with the term "avant-garde" implying a critique of existing aesthetic conventions, rejection of the status quo in favor of unique or original elements, and the idea of deliberately challenging or alienating audiences.

Avant-garde in music can refer to any form of music working within traditional structures while seeking to breach boundaries in some manner. The term is used loosely to describe the work of any musicians who radically depart from tradition altogether


  • Laurie Anderson
  • Arseny Avraamov
  • John Cage
  • Kanye West
  • Claude Debussy
  • Charles Ives
  • Max Neuhaus
  • Terry Riley
  • Erik Satie
  • Igor Stravinsky
  • Igor Wakhevitch


In fashion terms, avant-garde spanned generations of notable designers who reshaped the way people perceive and wear clothes.


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