Pierre Brassau

Pierre Brassau refers to a 1964 hoax perpetrated by Ake "Dacke" Axelsson, a journalist at the Swedish tabloid Goteborgs-Tidningen. Axelsson came up with the idea of exhibiting a series of paintings made by a non-human primate, under the presumption that they were the work of a previously unknown human French artist named "Pierre Brassau", in order to test whether critics could tell the difference between true avant-garde modern art and the work of a chimpanzee. "Pierre Brassau" was in fact a four-year-old common chimpanzee named Peter from Sweden's Boras djurpark zoo. Axelsson had persuaded Peter's 17-year-old keeper to give the chimpanzee a brush and paint. After Peter had created several paintings, Axelsson chose the best four and arranged to have them exhibited at the Gallerie Christinae in Goteborg, Sweden. Critics praised the works, with Rolf Anderberg of the Goteborgs-Posten writing, "Brassau paints with powerful strokes, but also with clear determination. His brush strokes twist with furious fastidiousness. Pierre is an artist who performs with the delicacy of a ballet dancer." One critic, however, panned the work, suggesting that "Only an ape could have done this." After the hoax was revealed, Rolf Anderberg insisted that Peter/Pierre's work was "still the best painting in the exhibition." A private collector bought one of the works for US$90. In 1969 Peter was transferred to the Chester Zoo in England. Avant-garde (French pronunciation: ?[av?a?d]); from French, "advance guard" or "vanguard") is a French term used in English as a noun or adjective to refer to people or works that are experi

ental or innovative, particularly with respect to art, culture, and politics. Avant-garde represents a pushing of the boundaries of what is accepted as the norm or the status quo, primarily in the cultural realm. The notion of the existence of the avant-garde is considered by some to be a hallmark of modernism, as distinct from postmodernism. Many artists have aligned themselves with the avant-garde movement and still continue to do so, tracing a history from Dada through the Situationists to postmodern artists such as the Language poets around 1981. The term was originally used to describe the foremost part of an army advancing into battle (also called the vanguard or literally the advance guard) and now applied to any group, particularly of artists, that considers itself innovative and ahead of the majority. The origin of the application of this French term to art is still debated. The term also refers to the promotion of radical social reforms. It was this meaning that was evoked by the Saint Simonian Olinde Rodrigues in his essay, "L'artiste, le savant et l'industriel", (The artist, the scientist and the industrialist, 1825) which contains the first recorded use of "avant-garde" in its now-customary sense: there, Rodrigues calls on artists to "serve as [the people's] avant-garde", insisting that "the power of the arts is indeed the most immediate and fastest way" to social, political, and economic reform. Over time, avant-garde became associated with movements concerned with "art for art's sake", focusing primarily on expanding the frontiers of aesthetic experience, rather than with wider social reform.