May 20, 2022Liked by Eleanor Russell

Completely flummoxed at the notion that the avant-garde is invested in cuteness! I can't think of one artist that would apply to. Gotta pickup Ngai's book I guess. Also, I feel like I'm on a similar wavelength as you and enjoyed this because I've been obsessed for the last couple months about how the avant-garde is inspired by the childlike and the immature but is overwhelmingly hostile to the actual child. Here too, I just imagine Yoko meangirling Amelia Bedelia so hard...

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I don't think Yoko would actually meangirl AB! I think Yoko is famous for her sense of humor, and I think would delight in AB's mischief.

Re: cuteness and the a-g: Gertrude Stein comes to mind, whomst Ngai discusses in the book. Also NYC lesbian downtown theatre has a long relationship with cuteness. I think if you're interested in inequity or portraying an aesthetics of powerlessness, than the matter of form, and specifically size, becomes important. Cuteness becomes an aesthetic sphere one is subjected to, it's a relationship based on power. That's something that's interesting to the avant-garde.

I mean one of the cutest avant-garde things IMO is the Andy Warhol balloon room! And while I agree with you that it is interesting that so much of the a-g is inspired by the aesthetics of childhood, I think the balloon room is very child-friendly.

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