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Mikkel Bolt Rasmussen

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Counterrevolution, the Spectacle, and the Situationist Avant-Garde

Among the post-World War II artistic movements, the Situationist International stands out with its persistent, grandiloquent claim to transcend art in a revolutionary act. The critical commitment of the Situationists and their continued adherence to a Marxist revolutionary perspective resulted in their omission from art history. The Situationists eventually excluded more or less all practicing artists from the group in the hope of releasing a post-artistic revolutionary praxis from the confines of the art institution. The Situationists rejected the art institution with militant fervor, and argued that the isolated work of art no longer possessed critical potential. Therefore art had to die. The Situationists made short shrift of this: art was a thing of the past, and now it had to be realized in revolutionary praxis.

Situationist International, avant-garde, modernism, Marxism, capitalism, revolutionary movements, art movements, Guy Debord

Citation: Social Justice Vol. 33, No. 2 (2006): 5-15