Doug Singsen is the co-author of The Invisible Costume: Whiteness and the Construction of Race in American Comics and Graphic Novels, forthcoming from the University Press of Mississippi. He received his PhD from CUNY Graduate Center and is Assistant Professor of Art History at University of Wisconsin, Parkside.
For a book weighing in at just under 100 pages, not counting various forewords and introductions, Peter Bürger’s Theory of the Avant-Garde has had an enormously outsized influence. How many books can claim to have engendered an entire volume of responses just two years after their initial publication? However, as the book’s many critics have noted, Bürger oversimplifies the complex and multifarious phenomenon of the avant-garde, pays scant attention to the specificities of individual works and artists, is overly restrictive in its selection of artists and movements, and, most infamously, dismisses the neo-avant-garde as a mere empty repetition of the historical avant-garde.