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 and ideas that are ahead of their time. Usually it refers to a movement in the arts, like Dadaism, or in politics, like anarchism. Avant-garde can also be used as an adjective to describe something that’s cutting-edge.


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
  • John Cage
  • 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.