"Turning to the term 'avant-garde' itself, it seems to have become a commonplace in our ways of thinking about art. Since the nineteenth century, its use has become widespread, designating any artistic movement that can be described as innovative. The term's fate is grounded in the relevance of its military metaphorics, which liken artistic invention to the actions of a small band of forces that sets off in advance of an army in order to clear its path. We thus strike upon several basic characteristics of the avant-garde: first, the notion that the avant-garde restores the collective dimension of explorative creativity. But the term also evokes the conditions of conflict that arise between this creativity and the prevailing society; at the same time, we must keep in mind that 'avant-garde' designates artistic activity as the means for opening up new territory.
The term's current problems arise from its social and economic valorization, which has become so important today that all artists want to be considered avant-garde—even though they generally consider the essential character of avant-gardism to involve little more than a spectacular revolution in form. The notion of avant-gardism subsequently takes on a different meaning than it had originally: it has come to signify a mindset of formal innovation, rather than a dedication to exploration and radical creativity that clashes with convention. Thus the positions of an entire range of so-called avant-gardes can be accommodated within an economic consensus that values formal innovation for reasons of competitiveness and profitability. At the same time, competitive rivalry leads to the disappearance of the collective dimension of innovative creativity which had been, no doubt, a fundamental characteristic of the avant-garde. We must therefore accept the idea that the very evolution of the avant-garde, which compels it to follow the trends of the market place, also brings about its death—a death to which the contemporary art market and institutional consensus alike seem fully determined have us bear witness by crowning its most ridiculous propositions with museum exhibitions. These preliminary remarks highlight the instability of terms such as 'avant-garde,' as far as artistic experience goes. For it is by no means clear that the term means the same thing for avant-garde of the first half of the twentieth century as it does for the avant-garde that followed."
(Philippe Sers and Jonathan P. Eburne, 2010, p.850)
The Radical Avant-Garde and the Contemporary Avant-Garde; Author(s): Philippe Sers and Jonathan P. Eburne; Source: New Literary History, Vol. 41, No. 4, What Is an Avant-Garde? (AUTUMN 2010), pp. 847-854. Published by: The Johns Hopkins University Press.
"So much of the news this year  has been hopeless, depressing and above all confusing. To which the only response is 'Oh Dear' But what this film is going to suggest is that defeatist response has become a central part of a new system of political control and to understand how this is happening you have to look to Russia and to a man called Vladislav Surkov who is a hero of our time. Surkov is one of President Putin's advisors and has helped him maintain his power for fifteen years, but he has done it in a very new way. He came originally from the avant-garde art world and those who have studied his career say that what Surkov has done is import ideas from conceptual art into the very heart of politics."