Defying the Avant-Garde Logic: Architecture, Populism, and Mass Culture


  • Dirk van den Heuvel
  • Tahl Kaminer



As an introduction to this issue of Footprint, which is dedicated to questions pertaining to the role, perception and valuation of mass culture and populism within the twentieth century, avant-garde discourse, this text presents a tentative framework that contextualizes and elaborates the questions at hand. It argues that the specific negotiation in the late twentieth century between the architecture discipline and the phenomenon of the consumer society, and especially mass media technologies, introduced a new, hybrid, and at times contradictory disciplinary discourse and practice, which defies the historic avant-garde logic as described by Peter Bürger. The editors argue that the re-investigations of the late twentieth century avant-garde vis-à-vis mass culture lead to a better understanding of the challenges contemporary architecture faces.