» Bohemia, The Counterculture and the Avant Garde


from bohemia to a future

In the mid-19th century, Western culture began a long march toward collapse, the collapse of the anciem regime. This created chaos, suffering, invention, and opportunity. It began a revolution in art that continues today – a revolution that hasn’t ceased or diminished its revolutionary energy.

All this happened somewhat differently in Europe and the Americas, but all of it is related. From the Bohemia of 19th century New York to the Dada of early-20th century Zurich to the Surrealism of mid-20th century Paris & the imagism of the mid-20th century U.S. to the Fluxus of late-20th/early-21st century EuroAmericaAfricaAsiaMiddleEastMicronesia art & literary movements are still breaking boundaries of form and content, of expression and manifestation.

Our CRASH group: Bohemia, the Counter Culture and the Avant-Garde, explores all this crazy ride of culture with an eye to producing collaborative works of art, collaborative papers, collaborative team taught courses, collaborative performances and exhibitions.

Papers resulting from our discussions and presentation of those papers at conferences. Performance piece(s) resulting from our investigations and presentation of those performances at appropriate venues (conferences, theaters, galleries, bohemian and avant garde bars and pubs (Pfaff’s, etc.).

  • Levin: Whitman Among the Bohemians, a collection of essays edited by Edward Whitley and Joanna Levin; single-authored book project on Feminism and Bohemianism.
  • Magosaki: single authored-book project titled Trickster Cosmopolitanism
  • A Digital Archive on Bohemia, the Counterculture and the Avant-garde. The site might include, for example; digitized texts (e.g. The Masses) with hyperlinks. 
  • A digital ChapBook that would publish a wide range of critical, experimental and creative work by faculty and students.
  • A team-taught course, perhaps combining a large lecture class with small discussion sections that would utilize the expertise of individual faculty while encouraging collaboration at an inter/multi-national and media level.

Group Presentation: Whitman Among the Bohemians: Book and Website Launch, and Tour of Pfaff's Cellar

  • Members
  • Research projects
  • Grants/funding
  • Research students
  • Joanna Levin (English)
    Martin Nakell (English)
    Kevin O’Brien (English)
    Rei Magosaki (English)
    Alicia Kozemeh (English and Spanish)
    Miriam Hill (Spanish)
    Justine Van Meter (English)
    Rebecca Goodman (English)
    Micol Hebron (Art)
    Wendy Salmond (Art)
    Mary Litch (Director of Academic Technology)
    Susan Paterno (English)

    • BohemiaThe relationship between Bohemian artists & writers and the subsequent Avant Garde, in Europe, the United States, the United Kingdom and the Americas .
    • The development from the American Bohemian artists & writers to the Avant Garde.
    • What is Bohemia; what is/was the Counterculture; what is Avant Garde. (Difficult, but important, distinctions and definitions to draw.)
    • The historical/sociological/political/aesthetic forces moving the Bohemian/Beat/Hippy/Hipster and Avant Garde artists and writers.
    • What is an art “movement”?
    • NEA
    • NEH
    • California Arts Council
    • We will talk about the project in our classes
    • We will solicit input from students
    • We will invite interested students to participate in the group and its activities
    • We will look for ways to use each other in our respective classes as guest lecturers and resource faculty, etc. 
    • Include students at many levels of the Digital Archive project, as researchers, writers, designers.
    • Invite student participation in the digital ChapBook.

    a.       We will all talk about the project in our classes

Contact Us!

Coordinators Joanna Levin, (714) 997-6534 & Martin Nakell (714) 997-6609