About a month ago, British Library curator Jon Fawcett asked me to participate in a panel discussion (or what he described as a debate) on the Avant-Garde manifesto.
The panel was advertised on the British Library website thusly:
A slap in the face of public taste: The art of manifestos
February 18, Event time: 18.30 – 20.00 Location: Conference Centre, British Library Price: £6.00 (concessions £4.00)
The Printed Face of the European Avant Garde 1900-1937 the British Library, in partnership with the Institute of Germanic & Romance Studies have organised a study day to explore the various movements that made up the European Avant Garde.
The great artistic movements of the Avant Garde – Futurism. Surrealism, Dada were characterised by remarkable statements of intent, designed to stir, and often shock society and radicalise creative expression often into a semi-political force. The Manifesto phenomenon has continued in rude health ever since.
This panel discussion will unpick the motives behind the creation of manifestos, how they are both similar and dramatically different, and explore what impact they have had.Participating will be Gustav Metzger, artist and political activist best known for his extreme Auto Destructive Art actions and manifestos from 1961 onwards; Lee Scrivner, author of How to Write an Avant-Garde Manifesto; broadcaster, comedian and creator of Arturart Arthur Smith and Stephen Bury, Curator of the British Library exhibition Breaking The Rules: The Printed Face Of The European Avant Garde 1900-1937 and Head of European and American Collections at the British Library.
The discussion will be chaired by Esther Leslie, Professor of Political Aesthetics in the School of English and Humanities at Birkbeck, University of London.
The title of the event is taken from the Russian Futurist manifesto signed by David Burliuk, Alexander Kruchenykh, Vladimir Mayakovsky, Victor Khlevnikov in 1912.